Cloud is the latest buzzword in technology. Across multiple sectors, businesses and customers alike are choosing Cloud-based solutions.
By TAS CEO, Shane Baker
In recent years, cloud technology has been on the rise in Australia, generating much interest and debate. Companies are increasingly turning to Cloud as a seamless solution to their challenges and requirements.
Despite this, there remains confusion around which Cloud platform works best in various sectors, providing the robust security and economic profitability that particular businesses need.
The crux of the matter is this: not all Cloud platforms are created equal.
That’s why CEOs and executives need to ask key questions such as, which platform best aligns with my business strategy? Does it comply with our specific regulation requirements? Does it reduce risk and data loss?
In 2015, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that almost one in five businesses paid for Cloud computing, with nearly half (43.1%) of businesses in the information media and telecommunications industries leveraging the benefits of Cloud.
While small businesses (5 or less staff) were less likely to pay for Cloud, large businesses (200 or more staff) frequently invested in Cloud. Almost half of these large businesses chose Cloud solutions due to their simple deploy (47%) and capacity to boost productivity (46%).
Before either small or large-scale businesses can leverage the benefits of Cloud, it’s important to consider the specific short-term and long-term objectives of the organisation. The key differences in Cloud platforms such as public, private, hybrid, traditional hosting and managed services can make or break an organisation’s profitability in the long-term.
The decision to move an organisation to the Cloud is not driven solely by technology. Rather, it’s driven by the need to match strategic foresight with the demands of everyday business operations.
CEOs and leaders can optimise their Cloud decision process by aligning the strategic goals of their business with a chosen delivery instrument. Along the way, it’s crucial to consider whether security, skills capability and a governed technology path are aligned with the Cloud procurement method.
Three top tips for to maximise the benefits of Cloud:
1. Align your Cloud platform with your business strategy.
When selecting a Cloud provider, be rigorous. Ensure that the provider can tailor to your organisation’s specific needs and align with your business strategy. Look for a Cloud with the internal flexibility to adapt the service design and operating model to suit your organisation’s needs. The ideal provider will have extensive business process and application experience, and be aligned with industry domain knowledge, regulatory insight and governance.
2. Ensure the Cloud complies with regulatory requirements.
In today’s tech-savvy landscape, the choice of Cloud has moved from the commodity to industry-relevance. Much Cloud procurement is tactical, driven by the need to maintain technology and reduce costs. However, the regulatory environment is equally as important. Ask yourself: does the Cloud align with the business vertical? Is there a supportive framework to satisfy the regulatory environment? Focus on Cloud as a supportive operational framework to deliver your organisation’s strategic goals.
3. Feed your organisation’s risk appetite and limit data loss.
The contemporary model for Cloud providers is to provide organisations access to shared services and infrastructure. Determine whether the security profile of the Cloud meets your organisation’s required standards. Ensure your end-customers remain compliant. Ask yourself: is there heightened risk after moving operations to the Cloud? What would be the business impact of unexpected data loss?
Cloud adoption represents an important shift for most organisations. However, cloud procurement driven by technology and cost reduction alone rarely delivers successful outcomes. For example, financial or government institutions seeking a Cloud provider need to ensure that prudential standards are met, data sovereignty is pre-determined and the provider can work in partnership with the organisation to deliver desired regulatory outcomes.
By adopting a strong governance model that aligns strategic intent to operational design and a regulatory framework, the Cloud can deliver a step change for organisations. For CEOs and executives, it’s crucial that the chosen Cloud platform is underpinned by a supportive framework — one that adapts service offerings in line with organisational needs.
This article was first published on August 23, 2016 by CEO Magazine.