3 Ways to Maximize Cloud Investments

Cloud computing has largely established itself as the most foundational platform to build agile, digital businesses of the future. But the cloud doesn’t just transform organizations digitally, it also provides the building blocks for total business transformation.

Migrating data to the cloud is only the first step in an organization’s complex digitalization journey. Before considering any cloud investment, designing a plan tailored to your unique organizational needs is essential, including taking into account ROI, efficiency gains, and compliance considerations. We’re only beginning to see organizations undertake complex migrations to move more of their infrastructure to the cloud, and a thorough planning process is essential for success.

If your enterprise is just beginning the planning process to migrate to cloud, it’s likely you’ll get hit with cloud sticker shock. Don’t be too alarmed by this initial estimate, though. It’s likely the enterprise plan you’re looking at is a one-size-fits-all instead of tailored to your enterprise’s needs.

One of the most important aspects of cloud migration is tailoring it to your enterprise, and this includes finding a plan that will accommodate fluctuating utilization needs to cut down on costs. With the right cloud governance during your migration, the ROI your enterprise will see could surprise you, which is why cloud migration is becoming imperative to business leaders as the economy continues to be uncertain.

Why Cloud Is a Business Imperative

“Making Businesses Thrive,” a study conducted by our company of 1,300 executives across six countries, underscores how those who view cloud within the broader business strategy can reap strong bottom-line benefits. In fact, according to the report, early cloud adopters realized a 12% bottom-line savings, compared with just 2.6% cost savings for those who are late to the cloud-adoption party.

Moving away from just savings, cloud leaders also drive 10x more ROI compared to laggards in cumulative top-line revenue gains and bottom-line cost reduction. This reflects the benefit of scaling enterprise-wide cloud adoption, enhanced by a multiplier effect from combining technologies. This means that cloud strategy and business strategy are becoming synonymous, with 78% of CEOs playing a leadership role in cloud adoption.

Cloud use cases are expanding across business functions to include customer experience optimization, financial data processing, strategic planning, and market analysis. The next generation of cloud usage is also already in motion, combining cloud with other technologies — notably AI, data warehouses, and workflow automation.

How Business Leaders Can Optimize Cloud Investments

Against the backdrop of an uncertain economic environment, it is imperative that business leaders do not lose sight of the long-term value cloud computing can deliver. Optimizing cloud investments and driving the return on existing investments will require strong governance processes and a deeper view into how cloud fits in with the broader business strategy.

1. Research cloud partners

Entrusting your business data with proven cloud hyper-scalers like Microsoft, AWS, and Google can remove obstacles on your cloud journey, mitigate risk, and speed time to value. It is crucial to forge and nurture meaningful, supportive relationships with them to create cloud-usage plans optimized for your enterprise’s changing needs.

As you perform your due diligence, investigate resource consumption and availability-based pricing models. Make sure to seek opportunities for vendors to cover implementation and capital costs to shift your computing expenses to utility-like subscription contracts.

2. Maintain effective cloud planning and governance

In order to avoid cloud sticker shock for customers, lean on expert planning and thorough, ongoing governance via strict oversight and clear vendor communication. Ensure your architects have a proper end-to-end software development lifecycle (SDLC) value chain.

Keep in mind that many tool vendors cannot deliver dynamic information about cloud economics and KPI performance. Your enterprise will need to make data-driven decisions to implement an architecture that has the elasticity to dynamically scale up or down based on changing workloads. That will require a thorough SDLC that includes performance metrics to track your cloud deployment and utilization.

3. Maximize runtime optimization

Un-utilized processor capacity wastes money and increases carbon footprint. Enterprises must strategically provision and de-provision cloud resources — including development, testing, or production environments. Data synchronization between production and disaster recovery systems must be carefully set based on business needs and operations costs.

CIOs are tasked with finding better insights from their data to improve forecasts and business outcomes. These demands are increasing as organizations create and collect unprecedented volumes of data, amounts exceeding the capabilities of even the most skilled engineers. Only skillfully implemented and trained analytics powered by AI can be relied upon for efficient and effective analysis, and these will run best if your enterprise’s cloud is optimized.

As your business technology team builds expertise through experience, it can work collaboratively with your cloud ecosystem advisors and service providers. Internal alignment and clarity on information management goals can guide your business along your journey to cloud agility. And from there, the sky truly is the limit.