Once, cloud was the future. No longer. Cloud is right here, right now. Today, cloud is the urgent imperative that every enterprise, in every market, must act on.
Why now? The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced what most of us already knew: that cloud is a fundamental part of running a successful modern organisation. These last few months have been a very powerful and direct reminder of the importance of the systems resilience, agility, elasticity, adaptability, and scalability that being in the cloud provides.
Those that were already committed to the cloud were better able to manage the disruption and uncertainty the pandemic created. But not everyone was so well prepared. Many enterprise cloud journeys had slowed or stalled. In some emerging markets, they’d barely got off the launchpad. Even now, only about 20 to 40 percent of enterprise workloads are in the cloud globally. And most of those are the less complex ones.
Time for cloud to soar
The pandemic has brought new urgency to cloud strategies. The days of enterprises dipping their toes in the water with multiple small initiatives are ending. Instead, the focus is on something far more fundamental: using full cloud adoption to power the transformation of the enterprise.
Across the world, from Australasia to Latin America, the C-suite is recognising that scaling up cloud adoption is essential for success in the post-COVID era. The question they’re asking is: how can we scale up quickly and cost-effectively in a cash-strapped environment, while still maximising the value that cloud provides?
In truth, this is something many organisations are still unclear about. They’re looking for clarity on what the right journey to cloud is, who the right partners are, and how their businesses need to run differently when they get there.
Five elements of cloud value
Accenture’s new Cloud Point of View sets out five essential elements of maximising value in the cloud. Broadly, these are:
- Migrate and scale up. Get more workloads into the cloud rapidly, securely and with confidence.
- Make the most of the hyperscalers. Look to leverage the investments and innovation of the big public cloud providers.
- Modernise and accelerate. Restructure your architecture, applications, and data for the cloud.
- Run and optimise. Change the way you operate to maximise the return on cloud investments.
- Innovate and grow. Use cloud’s agility and speed as your platform for innovation, experimenting with new ideas and new business models.
It’s important to recognise these elements are not a sequential checklist. You can’t simply tick them off one by one and then expect cloud value to flow through your organisation as if by magic.
That’s because cloud is not an end in itself. It’s a lifestyle change. Living in the cloud means rethinking how you develop and deliver services, how you operate your business, how you manage and develop your talent, and how you get the whole organisation to use new tools and capabilities to drive innovation and growth.
So you need to be thinking about all these five elements as you strive to scale up adoption and be smarter in the cloud. The key point, though, is not to wait for all the stars to align before you get started, especially when it comes to choosing the right partner for the journey. This time of global disruption is an opportunity to drive change, taking incremental steps across the five elements described above, each of which can provide an immediate benefit to the organisation.
Gulf emerges as key cloud hotspot
The Gulf region is a great example of how this is playing out globally. Historically, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries haven’t been a big market for the global cloud hyperscalers, with market regulation and data sovereignty rules preventing most organisations in the region from using their services.
This created an opportunity for local cloud service providers to emerge. However, without the hyperscalers’ global economies of scale, organisations in the region were limited in the agility, velocity and autonomy they could get out of the cloud. And that’s before you even start talking about the higher-level hyperscaler platform services that need stronger scaled economics to support, like machine learning, IoT, and the rest.
The wake-up call of COVID-19 is now set to change all that. As organisations in the Gulf look to increase their resilience and scalability significantly in the post-pandemic environment, the hyperscalers are moving in to help them accelerate their journeys to cloud in partnership with local cloud service providers.
It’s a rapid shift, and many in the region are suddenly faced with an overabundance of new cloud options. That creates its own risks. To avoid simply signing up to each and every cloud service simply because it’s there, it’s important to take a beat, go back to first principles, and ask yourself what exactly you’re looking to achieve in the cloud—and why.
Know where you're headed: The secret to scaling up cloud adoption
In fact, that’s a key guiding principle for any organisation, in any market, that’s planning to scale up in the cloud. You need to define the business outcomes you’re hoping to achieve and ask how cloud enables them. Then you look to each of the five elements set out above to help you truly realise the benefits of cloud – and live the cloud lifestyle to the full.
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 Accenture research. 451 Research. Cloud, Hosting and Managed Services, Workloads and Key Projects, Q1 2019.