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May 17, 2016
How will you transform your business in the cloud?
By: Matthew Johnson

Before your business adopts any new cloud technology, it’s critical that you understand why you’re making that move. This understanding requires you to identify what’s driving your move to the cloud and what you hope to achieve by making that move.

1) Velocity

In the simplest sense, velocity is the speed of performing key processes. By helping to increase process efficiency by making it easy for the right people to do the right tasks at the right time (wherever and whenever that might be) and by eliminating redundancies, cloud technology can result in greater velocity.

Ultimately, increasing velocity should be a cascading transformation, as a faster output from one team results in a faster input to the next team and so on.

2) Collaboration

Collaboration includes how easily users can communicate and work with one another, regardless of physical boundaries. Cloud technology can help drive true transformation in how businesses collaborate by giving users access to information in real-time based on other people in the system who have the knowledge for which they’re looking.

The fact that cloud solutions typically take this access and any required communications mobile leads to more seamless interactions and, therefore, even greater improvements.

3) Intelligence

With all of the focus on data in today’s world, how businesses collect and take advantage of the intelligence that data provides can be a true market differentiator. In one sense, intelligence covers the ability to gather, aggregate and analyze data for improved understanding. Cloud technology can help here by making it easy to collect more data, collect that data more efficiently and store and configure that data so that it provides actionable insights for frontline users.

However, with the tools available today, introducing those capabilities isn’t very difficult. The hallmark to success when transforming intelligence is not only implementing those capabilities, but also properly setting up the business to harness the data collected. As such, it’s important to pay close attention to how and where data is collected and how users can access and manipulate that data in order to truly transform intelligence capabilities.

4) Engagement

Engagement—with customers, employees and partners—is critical for success today. Specifically, businesses need to introduce effective tactics for engagement across a variety of traditional and newer digital channels, including mobile, social and communities.

Cloud technology can help make engagement more effective by allowing for a true omnichannel model that makes interactions seamless across multiple channels and by providing access to new channels that help expand reach and customer satisfaction.

5) Empowerment

Empowerment is the degree to which an organization enables employees to perform and the extent to which employees perceive this environment as supportive. As such, there is hard empowerment, which includes processes and policies that give employees the authority to act, and soft empowerment, which includes arming employees with the right tools (e.g., data and collaboration) to act.

In order to truly achieve the desired level of empowerment, all of these elements need to be in play, plus employees must perceive they are empowered. That’s because even if the right processes and tools that empower employees to act exist, if employees don’t perceive this empowerment, they won’t act. Therefore, in the case of empowerment, perception is even more valid than reality.

6) Adaptability

Velocity, collaboration, intelligence, engagement and empowerment all lead to and gain fuel from adaptability, which is the flexibility to respond to different and changing customer needs.

Adaptability is critical in today’s environment, as customer expectations and needs evolve rapidly and new needs and categories arise all the time. Those organizations that emphasize the importance of adaptability will be in a prime position to keep up with these changing demands and expand their reach into new markets.

7) Innovation

Innovation is an organization’s ability to change in exciting, thoughtful and unprecedented ways. And, just as velocity, collaboration, intelligence, engagement and empowerment all lead to and gain fuel from adaptability, the same goes for innovation.

A strong culture of innovation is a must-have today in order to compete with new products and services, stay ahead of rising customer expectations and remain relevant in the face of market disruptions.

Which transformation factor will define your move to the cloud?

Determining which of these seven transformation factors you hope to achieve is critical to both selecting the right cloud technology to meet your needs and to developing and staying true to your cloud strategy. And, as your cloud program grows, more and more of these factors should come into play.

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