Success in the Cloud is now a fact

You have all heard the success stories of Uber and Airbnb as they leverage technology to disrupt existing business norms in the taxi and hotel businesses. Digital business successes such as these are pressuring traditional enterprises to focus on differentiation in business models, customer intimacy and velocity as they look to not only preserve market share, but – more importantly – to grow it!  This is what Forrester calls the business technology (BT) agenda – technology investments that help your business win, serve, and retain customers.

Additionally, as an I&O professional you cannot ignore the investments, and success, with public cloud. For instance, public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services drive and deliver systems of innovation to create velocity both in new business ventures and traditional enterprises, especially in fueling mobility and web services.  The investments to date are supporting the ability of the Public Cloud to support and drive innovation. Additionally, these solutions now raise the possibility of the cloud’s suitability for the next phase, transition of systems of record.  This is one of the predictions in our Forrester “Predictions 2016: The Cloud Accelerates” which articulates 11 key developments for Cloud and what I&O professionals should do about them.


The “low hanging fruit” is gone – now it’s time to reach higher

Discussions at several events I have attended recently confirm many enterprises are looking to leverage public cloud on a wider scale than simply innovation. Many are implementing a “public cloud” first strategy for new investments and are looking to supplement this with transitioning some of their Systems of Record such as their ERP, HR etc.   As discussed in the ZDnet article following the recent AWS re:Invent conference, both GE and Capital One discussed their use of public cloud to transition their traditional enterprise applications.  Both organizations spoke to the value of becoming more agile, increasing their velocity and more importantly, the ability to shift resources to focus on business opportunity.


Not just cost reduction

You may think that the opportunity is one of reducing costs which – if transitioned correctly – should be realized.  The real opportunity is not direct cost savings, but the advantages of the elasticity offered and access to rapid improvements in compute and easy access to other services such as analytics (and of course jettisoning the maintenance of hardware is not lost either).


Cloud is not a panacea, it requires work

The fundamental challenge is how to transition to public cloud. Traditional (legacy) applications such as your ERP or HR applications are typically monolithic in design and are not designed to leverage the compute capabilities to deliver real efficiency that the cloud offers.  In fact, too often I hear about enterprises simply “lifting and shifting” current legacy applications to the cloud and then asking why they didn’t see any value.

The reality is there are multiple methods of transitioning to cloud and we must undertake an appropriate assessment of our legacy apps and determine the most appropriate compute alternative for our workloads.


Predictions for 2016

As we move into 2016, we all know that technology will continue to accelerate as will our business’s appetite to consume it as we strive to create competitive advantage.  Moving legacy workload to the cloud is only one of the 11 predictions in the Forrester Research “Predictions 2016: The Cloud Accelerates”  but one which I believe you will need to strongly consider to remain relevant.