The most successful companies consider cloud technology a continuum of tools for strategizing and transforming business practices, a study of leaders suggests.
A survey of nearly 4,000 executives has discovered that the way businesses conceive of their relationship to the cloud can have a major impact on the business value and investment return they receive.
The study, performed by Accenture, divides businesses into two categories: Those that consider the cloud as a tool for cost savings and operational efficiency, and those that see it as "a launch pad for innovation and new operating models."
That difference in vision means that companies in that latter category achieve between 1.2x and 2.7x greater cost reduction, are two to three times more likely "to innovate and automate their supply chain/warehouse and re-engineer knowledge work," and are up to three times more likely to use the cloud to meet sustainability goals, Accenture said.
Accenture calls those companies "continuum competitors" because they see cloud technology as a continuum of evolving technologies that will completely transform business. Moving to the cloud, to a continuum competitor, is just step one of an endless stream of transformations.
Only 12% to 15% of businesses fall into the continuum competitor category, Accenture said. According to its research, Accenture said there's no reason that percentage has to remain small: Several businesses it counts among the continuum competitor group aren't even digitally native organizations. 3M, Carlsberg, Siemens, Roche and Starbucks are all cited as pre-cloud businesses that have gone beyond migrating and into innovating using cloud technology.
Moving beyond simple migration means taking four approaches that Accenture said it identified among organizations that fell into the continuum competitor category.
First, they're businesses with a strategy for innovation using cloud technology. These organizations have a clearly defined vision for migration and future aspirational use of cloud technologies. They also identify their vulnerabilities and capabilities before starting the process so they know where they are from the very beginning.
Second, continuum competitors show an agile mindset outside of their technology as well. Agility "infuses other practices such as continuous goals, cloud-first apps, talent transformation, information technology experimentation, and compute awareness." Transforming business practices alongside computing changes are essential parts of increasing innovation and boosting revenues, Accenture said.
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Third, all of the businesses center their investments on experiences, both internal and external. Design centers on humans, and cloud technology are used to rethink organizational strategy, products and services, delivery models and employee experience.
Lastly, continuum competitors are committed to continually strategizing, and those strategies include all employees from top to bottom. Keep pace with the latest technologies affects every person in an organization, Accenture said, and successful ones have employees that are well-informed on strategy, are trained to handle it, and are supported in their needs.
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