The New Found Realities
DataQuest, 21st June, 2012
An article by Guru Bharadwaj, Enterprise Strategy Advisor, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd.
Businesses are reshaping themselves in the wake of changing economic climate with Cloud emerging as a key enabler. The Cloud helps transform business and drive revenue by integrating best in class Enterprise technology approaches and newer business models. The author provides a prescriptive approach on how an organization needs to look at the cloud journey holistically and evolve a value based approach for creating robust Enterprise cloud fabric.
The cloud is no longer an “if” and “should” topic but more a “when” and “how” conversation. Most enterprises have started shifting workloads to the cloud or in the process of doing so. As Enterprises look to leverage the value of cloud, it is imperative to look beyond the traditional scale, security and public Vs. private approaches. Though they are important aspects of figuring the “how” part of the Cloud, the paradigm has to shift to Business Value, newer business models and opportunistic revenue streams created / enabled by The Cloud. It is critical that Enterprises bring the Business dimension to Cloud strategy and integrate business units as key stakeholders in the conversation.
Imagine a large retailer commoditizing their mature transportation heuristics and optimization in the Cloud, a distribution company integrating Supplier and partner eco-system in the Cloud to create a marketplace to barter and trade, an Oil and Gas company enabling new upstream exploration operations in quick time.
Ford Motors is integrating Cloud technologies with transportation experience as part of the Connected transportation vision which was showcased in the recently concluded Mobile World Congress (Ford goes hi-tech with new vehicles). Pitney-Bowes uses Cloud enabled business service to better meet the needs of small businesses by providing pbSmartPostage, a cloud based service for printing stamps and shipping labels. Boeing takes to the Cloud with an innovative marketing solution which drives the user experience across multiple form factors (Boeing 737 Explained). General Mills uses Cloud to create a new business channel for offering gluten-free products and information directly to the consumer (Gluten Freely).
These are the new found realities of what the cloud offers with its scale, elasticity and agility to enable business opportunities.
India is emerging as the fastest growing market for adopting newer technology paradigms due to sheer size of the market, challenges with and/or lack of traditional infrastructure, changing market dynamics and need for rapid growth.
We see adoption of innovative solutions both in Enterprise segments and in SMB organizations for faster relative time to value. Microsoft has helped organizations such as Essar, Symphony Services and Gradatim realize newer business opportunities with superior scale and reduced cost.
CIO / IT organization
With the advent of the Cloud, CIOs would now be expected to play the part of a Strategic Executive who would work towards bringing about business transformation through innovation. The CIO would also be expected to aptly guide the leadership on the development and the execution of a Cloud strategy. The in-house IT team would hence need to focus more on using the Cloud to quickly meet the business needs rather than configuration and implementation of application on in-house hardware. Cloud provides that window of opportunity to CIO’s a unique and sustainable way to enable business value, innovate and differentiate in the marketplace.
Addressing the opportunity
As you embark on the journey to realize greater business value through cloud, it is critical to understand the drivers and challenges for such a market behavior and adopt a well thought out approach.
Our significant experience in helping clients adopt a business roadmap for cloud adoption coupled with industry insights and research distills the approach into seven major principles to realize greater synergy and deliver optimal value to Business.
Create Unified Charter and establish common framework
Recognize Cloud extends beyond just a technology paradigm. Cloud strategy and planning spans across multiple business functions, technology solutions and the Enterprise eco-system. It is critical and prudent to create a unified charter with business units and drive initiatives jointly.
Segment Business functions and technology assets
Along with business stakeholders, complete a review of the business and technology portfolio. Focus should be on segmenting your business functions and associated technology assets into:
- Core IP: Critical for the enterprise and hence may not be an ideal candidate to commoditize as a service to external World
- Peripheral Best practices: Best practices that differentiate your organization in the market place and provide a competitive edge. These are ideal differentiators that are best adopted as business solutions to be monetized through the cloud fabric
- Hygiene business processes: These are common practices of the business function which are hygiene and hence need to be bundled with solutions to monetize best practice solutions
Align Cloud approach and workloads to business
Size the Cloud needs in terms of compute, storage and network relative to the business functions / use cases. Segment monetizable business functions in terms of Public, Private and Hybrid cloud units. Such a segmentation approach would need to be tailored for each Enterprise based on their core beliefs, commercialization aspirations and the monetization process. A typical approach could look like:
- Public Cloud: Hygiene workload such as collaboration, productivity would be ideal to be adopted in a public cloud scenario
- Private Cloud: Differentiating business solutions or core IP heuristics could be adopted in a private cloud scenario
Timely review and continuous improvement of scenarios and approaches are critical and should be aligned to business and technology change cycles. Another important consideration is the integration of the Public, Private and Hybrid cloud eco-system for greater elasticity.
Customization takes a new avatar with Cloud. Point solutions defer integration costs and scale concerns. Back away from “best-of-everything” approaches; take advantage of Cloud-simple functionality wherever possible. Intent should be on finding right solutions and working with providers to provision features that can be switched on and off.
New Dimensions of Risk
As enterprises look to the Cloud for services that have been traditionally managed internally, they must also deal with new dimensions of risk, from new providers, ways of doing business, compliance, payment, and more -- the balance between risk and reward tips in favor of reward in well-managed projects exploiting Cloud opportunities. Strike a balance between opportunity and risk. Integrate mitigation approaches including partnering on SLAs, underwriting of risk and models to integrate BLAs with maturity.
Optimization of non-organic assets
With Cloud, you will have the luxury to quickly provision resources to meet demands of the market place such as realizing newer revenue channels enabled by an M&A integration, alliance or partnership. Similarly, non-core assets can be quickly de-provisioned with the elasticity of cloud. Rationalization of such core and non-core assets and ability to integrate in a service oriented model is critical to realize such opportunistic synergies.
Roadmap to realize
Finally create a roadmap to realize opportunities. Identify and intersperse quick wins for better rainmaking. Incremental approach is a natural phenomenon. Plan the roadmap and integrate for scale. Modularize and leverage the ecosystem of suppliers and partners.
As you continue this journey, there are other paradigms or technology evolutions that come into consideration. Some of those are:
- Mobility and Gamification are real due to mass appeal and proliferation. Look to integrate complimenting approaches as part of the journey.
- Social Computing brings the People quotient of realizing newer business paradigms and compliments the Cloud well. Integrating Enterprise Social networking approaches as relevant will augment the value realization immensely.
- Making meaningful sense of data for business value is critical in this age of Information explosion and proliferation due to M2M, P2M and P2P paradigms. Interfaces to Predictive modeling and Business Intelligence solutions will provide the necessary insights for driving business decisions better.
- Services and SOA approaches will help integrate distributed enterprise effectively. As you work to segment workloads, optimization of integration approaches will be a key.
- Pay by the drink models enable better penetration and usage without setting aside big budgets for consumers / clients
- Establish trustworthy security and privacy models and practices. They are critical for every organization and heightened with Cloud adoption.
How does Microsoft help
Connected is the way forward and Microsoft is pioneering the wave of change. Microsoft is the only provider that offers Cloud solutions across the entire Cloud fabric. Microsoft cloud solutions can be adopted in any flavor (Public or Private) as it suits your enterprise. Hybrid models are seamless with integration technologies available through Microsoft solutions.
Microsoft’s Enterprise Strategy program provides the right consultative approach to enable your Journey to the Cloud. We help in seizing the business opportunities and approaches not realized with just the traditional technical approach.
- Microsoft delivers Cloud on your terms with flexibility to build the right solution through consultative approach
- Enterprise proven solution with financially backed SLA
- Rich Enterprise experience with complimenting solution set including ECM, BI, Enterprise Social Networking, Unified communications and Productivity platforms
- Unparalleled productivity experience across multiple form factors including PC, phone and browser
- Trustworthy Security and Privacy
Value realization of newer business paradigms with Microsoft Cloud are real as Dom Alcocer of General Mills and C.V. Prakash, Founder & CEO of Graditim found out. Dom claims that “With Windows Azure, and by working with BrandJourney Venturing, we brought a new business idea to market about twice as fast and at half the cost of using a more traditional IT development and brand agency model.” He further adds that “This is a huge competitive advantage for General Mills in terms of speed to market and the integrated analytics that can help drive new business models.” C.V.Prakash expounds the agility proposition for realizing opportunities when he mentions “Mainstream financial entities are looking to expand their microfinance units. With Windows Azure, we can combine our expertise with the agility needed to seize this massive business opportunity.”
The emergence of Cloud along with evolution in complimentary technologies increases the opportunity of creating disruptive business models which will transform the way enterprises do business. Global pressures continue to demand more flexibility, greater agility and better quality across entire Enterprise Value Chain.
Cloud provides the right platform to enable and realize such opportunities. It is imperative to look at the cloud journey holistically and evolve a value based approach for creating robust Enterprise fabric. Creating a unified charter, aligning workloads to business functions and adopting an incremental approach as part of the roadmap would drive value realization optimally.
About the Author
Guru Bharadwaj is a distinguished Strategy Advisor and advises Enterprise clients on Business and Technology strategies for Micrsoft. Guru’s focus is to create / realize Business value through productive use of technology for Microsoft’s enterprise clients. His expertise spans Enterprise Architecture, Business and Technology transformation, Innovation and Portfolio Planning and Governance. He is a well-respected presenter at CxO forums and Industry consortiums.
This article was first published in DataQuest