It is probably a good idea for business leaders to be wary of the hype around digital technologies. Every invention promises reduced costs, increased operational efficiency and increased profit but is there substance? Is the technology truly scalable? Will it cater to my specific requirements?
No one can argue, however, just how much impact the mobile phone and social media are having on how businesses are run and how products and services are accessed by customers. Cloud computing is in the same category – it simply cannot be ignored.
There are myriads of case studies (probably including your competitors) showing that the benefits of reducing costs, improving security and increasing business agility are very real and achievable. The big question that many leaders who are considering a cloud strategy are asking is: How can I be sure that my business is ready for cloud?
Here are some key points to consider:
1) Start with the basics and take stock! Ensure your IT department has a complete picture of the existing business, application, data and integration architectures. Identify dependencies, constraints and opportunities for “low hanging fruit” that could easily be shifted to the cloud.
2) Develop detailed business requirements – where do you want to be on a digital maturity scale? What kind of underpinning technologies could help with achieving your new business imperatives?
3) Most digital technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, augmented reality, etc. either generate or consume vast amounts of data. Identify all your data sources and map out a data architecture and governance principles that will enable you to make the most of your business data. What kind of outputs (dashboards, predictive analytics, insights, etc.) do you need access to? What do you want to see from your data? A cloud platform will be key in achieving your business intelligence and analytics requirements.
4) Think BIG – map out your full digital vision, but then start small. An easy place to start engaging in cloud technologies is with your secondary data – backups, disaster recovery, as well as your development and test environments. There are also many Software as a Service offerings that you can select to get a feel for some of the benefits of cloud computing.
5) Don’t do it alone! The best way to ensure that you obtain real benefit from your digital and cloud strategy is to appoint a trusted advisor that can drive and facilitate your digital transformation. Choose a partner that can help you implement your chosen technologies, not one that simply presents a theoretical roadmap.
By: Paul Taylor
About: Paul Taylor is a client technical architect. He enjoys keeping abreast of the latest trends in digital transformation with a special focus on assisting organisations in gaining maximum value from existing and new technologies. Paul has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from North-West University.