Time To Go All-In on Cloud Technology
The difficulty of changing the business to enable it to get more value from cloud is a barrier for many organizations. Nearly half of CG executives (46%) told Accenture that the complexity of business and operational change was preventing greater cloud adoption. This has contributed to a slight sense of anticlimax with cloud. Indeed, in a recent survey nearly two-thirds of executives said their cloud initiatives to date hadn’t achieved the results they expected.
Interestingly, over the last year we have found a change in focus of many leaders, shifting from asking “How do I pilot?” to “How to I scale?” capabilities globally. It is clear that this is becoming one of the most sought-after ways to increase competitive advantage.
Elevating cloud to a whole-business priority
To resolve this, companies need to address some of the obstacles preventing them from tapping the full power of cloud. There are three key steps to consider.
The first and perhaps biggest, is a question of mindset. Leaders must look to change the organization’s perception of cloud from one of “cheaper IT” to one of business innovation and reinvention.
That means broadening the cloud conversation to include the whole of the business. Aligning IT and the business around the same vision and objectives provides coherence and clarity in a cloud journey. Creating a single role in the C-suite, such as a chief data officer, to stitch together business and IT interests, can also help ensure the cloud journey is centered on business value.
The second important step is to be clear where your cloud journey is going. What new capabilities are you targeting within the next three years? Which parts of the organization would benefit most from greater speed and flexibility? What business problems are currently holding your company back?
By working back from your desired outcomes, you create a set of guiderails for your whole cloud journey, enabling you to avoid aimless experimentation with new cloud services and prioritize the projects and use cases that actually get you closer to your objectives.
The third step is to commit to going “all in” on cloud. Migrating your workloads to cloud infrastructure is only the start of this. The true value of cloud comes when the business starts to modernize and transform its data, applications, and ways of working within the cloud. The goal is to make your organization “cloud native” and able to use cloud as a platform for business innovation.
Real business value comes from committing to cloud
As the business becomes cloud native, new things become possible. Take marketing as an example. Cloud technology doesn’t just deliver a significant reduction in marketing expenses (up to 30% on Accenture’s analysis), it gives the business the flexibility to adapt faster to changes in customer preferences, products, and pricing. It enables better customer segmentation, higher returns on investment, and can support more online sales.
At the end it comes down to a single vital point. The full adoption of cloud is now a business priority, not an IT priority. Consumer goods companies must see it as a core component of digital transformation—and a non-negotiable source of future competitive advantage.
Oliver Wright is global lead of Accenture’s Consumer Goods & Services industry group.