October 19, 2016
Ahead of the Curve: How to take your cloud program to the next level
By: Matthew Johnson

We’ve entered a new phase of cloud maturity, in which businesses are no longer questioning cloud technology. Rather, they’re embracing it wholeheartedly, and we’re seeing positive changes as a result. But are we seeing enough positive change?

As it turns out, many businesses are leaving benefits on the table when it comes to cloud technology. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the solutions in place or even how the businesses are using them—it’s that organizations aren’t taking full advantage of what their cloud solutions have to offer.

Expand Cloud Adoption, Expand Cloud Value

Cloud programs should not just be set-it-and-forget-it. And it’s no longer enough to implement cloud solutions for siloed use cases. To truly reap the value that cloud technology can deliver, you need to regularly revisit your cloud program and continue to expand cloud adoption across the entire enterprise.

By expanding cloud technology across multiple functions, divisions, geographies, you name it, you’ll also expand the areas to which this technology can bring value. And the more you expand the use cases, the greater increases you’ll see with your return on investment. We call this upward progression of consumption the cloud value curve.

Cloud Value Curve
As this model illustrates, there are four stages of maturity along the cloud value curve:
  1. Nominal Adoption

  2. Functional Optimization

  3. Business Optimization

  4. Enterprise Transformation

Your business’ maturity in three key areas defines its position along the curve:

  1. Technology: Technology maturity ranges from using outdated or shadow technologies, to using only a portion of a cloud platform, to using all facets of a cloud platform across multiple functions and divisions.

  2. Organization: Organizational maturity ranges from having no documented processes and/or process-technology alignment, to documenting processes and ensuring process-technology alignment across multiple functions, to ensuring process integration and standardization across multiple functions and divisions.

  3. Outcomes: Outcome maturity ranges from poor adoption with no ability to measure outcomes, to some measurable benefits at a functional level, to improved metrics across multiple functions and divisions with synergies between those outcomes.

Strategically Advancing Along the Cloud Value Curve

Improving your cloud program’s maturity in terms of technology, organization and outcomes can advance your position on the cloud value curve and take your program to the next level. But this advancement is not something that you can do overnight. It’s something you need to approach incrementally and strategically.

Achieving this goal requires you to focus on three initiatives:

  1. Planning: You need to develop a strategic plan to guide your cloud expansion. This plan should cover transformational goals and drivers for cloud adoption, the business capabilities you need to satisfy those goals, the appropriate cloud technology solution that aligns to those business capabilities and a clear roadmap for implementing those capability and technology requirements.

  2. Execution: Once your plan is in place, it’s time to execute. In order to execute, you need to have the right capabilities to manage your cloud technology as well as to implement and standardize business processes across the entire organization. Introducing a Center of Excellence for your cloud program can help with governance and ensure you keep an eye toward constant innovation.

  3. Measurement: As you execute your plan, you need to measure your progress toward achieving your goals. This measurement should cover usage of cloud platforms, effectiveness of processes, business metrics and outcomes resulting from the changes and technology health.

Where Does Your Business Stand?

Where does your organization fall on the cloud value curve? And what do you need to do to take your cloud program to the next level?

The first step in answering these questions is to measure your progress in terms of technology, organization and outcome maturity. From there, you can develop a plan of action. As you do so, you may find that you need to supplement your own team with external resources in order to bring your cloud application management capabilities up to speed and effectively put your advancement plan into action.

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