Over the past month, we’ve looked at the business drivers — growth, efficiency and experience — for moving to the cloud. And while you might think that the push for cloud enablement is coming primarily from “the business,” it’s clear that other factors are at play.
According to our recent Enterprise Cloud Report, in 57% of organizations worldwide, it’s the CIO who’s driving the move to the cloud, and in over 70% of cases, it’s IT who benefits the most from making that move.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a different perspective by looking at the technology drivers for moving to the cloud. First up: IT agility.
AGILITY HAS NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT
We live in a world where change is constant and the pace of change is ever-increasing. For many organizations, technology is the key enabler of change, so the way in which they respond to change will be a key determinant of who the winners and losers will be.
In this disruptive environment, IT’s ability to respond proactively to business demands is proving critical. Saying “no” to the business is simply not an option for IT, as evidenced by the emergence of “Shadow IT” practices where the business goes elsewhere for a solution if IT is unable to address its needs. With this reality, it’s unsurprising that delivering agility is now a key driver shaping the agenda of IT in many organizations.
…BUT AGILITY CHANGES IT
IT is being challenged like never before to move beyond pure service provision and into value enablement and delivery. CIOs are increasingly being asked to preside over integrated business and IT innovation by exploiting a broader universe of digital technology and information and delivering deep innovation that extends beyond process optimization. Ultimately, this requires a faster and more agile IT capability, and it is here that the cloud affords CIOs a unique proposition to digitally transform their organizations.
Situationally aware CIOs understand that the cloud has the power to transform the role of IT, notably by shifting focus away from traditional application management and (via the “rental” model that prevails in the cloud) allowing active solution replacement and provisioning commensurate with the needs of the business. It’s therefore not surprising that providing agility was cited as the top cloud driver for 66% of enterprises in our recent report.
While it’s easy to focus only on the benefits that increased IT agility can bring to your organization, it’s also important not to gloss over how that agility will change IT at a capability level. The two changes mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg in this regard.
From a people perspective, as IT moves away from more traditional roles such as application management, it will need to organize itself differently and develop new skillsets. These skills include learning how to manage and broker cloud products and building expertise on a variety of different platform options. Similarly, IT will need to address process, governance and performance management changes that underpin how capabilities are delivered.
IT AGILITY ALSO IMPACTS THE BUSINESS
By increasing IT agility, most businesses expect a flow-on effect into business agility. For example, increasing agility might give IT the boost it needs to support a BYOD program, which in turn allows business users to work with greater flexibility, thereby increasing their efficiency and effectiveness.
However, there is a warning: Agility does not necessarily lead to better. With agility comes the ability to deliver change rapidly, but turning change into a positive by making users comfortable with the change and making the change “stick” is an entirely different challenge. Fortunately, there is a ready-made solution in the form of a transformation plan and organizational change management.
The key for any agile organization in determining its optimal path forward to value with technology enabled change is to work out where it needs to go and why it needs to go there. This point brings me to Matthew Johnson’s sage advice: Balance your drivers by revisiting what’s most important to your organization’s overall strategy. This will help to ensure that you’re on the right path to achieving success. Sage advice indeed!
Source: Cloud Sherpas