Reprioritising cloud through trusted partners
The past two years have seen most enterprises and SMEs move their critical operations online. With this accelerated digital transformation has come renewed trust in technology partners to make the transition as seamless as possible. In doing so, business and technology leaders can enable sustained growth in a world where the new operating environment requires organisational agility and adaptability.
Moving forward, cloud migration will be a core component of any company strategy. But to integrate this effectively into existing processes and business directives requires organisations to take a step back and get a broader perspective of their value proposition, and how that translates into a cloud environment. The cloud is a broad term that encompasses not only hybrid, public, and private, but it also is now associated with multi-cloud approaches that seeks to leverage the strengths of different cloud service providers.
So, if a migration is to be successful, there must first be an understanding of where the business wants to be once this is done.
Attention must be placed on what it is the business wants to achieve from going the cloud route. As part of this, companies need to be more selective about what needs to be migrated. It is not an everything-or-nothing approach. Instead, it requires careful consideration of what makes the most business sense.
Helping drive this is the renewed prioritisation of the customer experience. In a digital world, client-centricity will take centre stage as decision-makers look at identifying and harness the ways their businesses can outperform competitors.
This is where a mindset shift is needed from leadership. In the digital scheme of things, this means becoming more data-driven. It helps unlock the ability to understand customers better. Being data-driven is not something that can only come from the top. All levels of business must strive to find ways to leverage data. The alternative is that the strategy will simply get lost as it moves down the corporate hierarchy.
In many ways, corporates must therefore transform in agile ways internally as well. The siloed approach of the past is no longer good enough. For the cloud to work, and cloud partners to deliver value, the organisation must start building cross-department synergies, especially from a data perspective. In doing so, they can help all departments to gain a better understanding of the direction in which the company is headed.
All about outcomes
At an SME level, more must be done to improve cloud literacy. This is where service providers need to educate their small business customers on what the cloud enables and does not enable from a practical use case. It is also about highlighting what possible value can be unlocked through cloud transformation.
An outcomes-driven approach will yield much better results in the long-term than any potential short-term gains when SMEs (and service providers) only pay attention to lifting and shifting as much as possible to the cloud. Taking this more considered approach will result in the benefits of the cloud becoming embedded in the daily operations of the business. Learning by doing will go a long way in educating users, regardless of company size, on the capabilities of the cloud and how these can be aligned to the business strategy. The focus must therefore be on business value and better using data for client-centricity.
It is in this space where artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation are essential. In the coming months, AI as a service will become a standard practice to be used by organisations looking to embark on digital transformation across all spheres of operations. This combines data with strategic thinking to align any cloud adoption to what is important for the business.
As part of this, cybersecurity has become a non-negotiable. Businesses must protect all their data and systems, whether in the cloud or on-prem. The hybrid working environment has helped provide impetus to this, but more must be done for companies to secure themselves as effectively as possible. Furthermore, this protection is not just a once-off, but is something that must be managed continually to reflect the evolving technological sophistication of attackers and other malicious users.
However, if the cloud is to succeed beyond the short-term in South Africa, concerns around the fundamental connectivity layer must be addressed. There is much higher demand for affordable, reliable, and high-speed bandwidth. There are also concerns when it comes to the availability of spectrum for 5G. So, if South African businesses are to truly enjoy all that the cloud can provide, more must be done around getting the infrastructure in place to create an enabling environment for the new normal.
Author: Reza Joseph
ICT Product Manager at Itec