By Sanjay Srivastava, Chief Digital Officer, Genpact
I work with leading CIOs and CDOs across the globe on some of their largest digital transformation initiatives, and across the board, it’s clear that cloud journeys are accelerating.
Sharpening the focus on capital allocation through IT cost reductions, using a pay as you use model, was always important. Now with the pandemic, what’s becoming increasingly strategic, is the resiliency and growth corporations seek – and these require a new tech architecture to power the reimagined business processes for the new normal – which cloud deployments quickly enable.
As I look broadly across so many cloud journeys, there are six fundamental keys to success that are remarkable consistent – learnings that serve as guardrails for new cloud initiatives.
- Build Cloud-only – Design principles are always fundamental to success, and with cloud projects it’s no different. Cloud-first designs natively leverage significant new innovation in elasticity/scale, artificial intelligence, and pre-integrations, and build upon it. As a result, cloud-first designs always come out ahead compared to building capabilities and then migrating to the cloud at the end. Cloudy-only should be the norm for all new builds.
- Treat Data as a first-class citizen – Data used to be the collateral output – automation was the strategic initiative, data happened to fuel it, and result from it. Not so anymore. Data is the now the source of value – and extracting, managing and consuming it effectively is fundamentally key to success. And so business technology frameworks must treat data as a first class citizen in the core architecture and build cloud journeys around this core.
- No shortcuts in Security – Because cloud opens up more ways to connect in and out, it can also open the door for security challenges, and in any case, threat surfaces are ever evolving. Unfortunately, security isn’t something that can be “bolted-on” at the end. Therefore, it is imperative to build security into the design of an enterprise’s cloud journey right from the start.
- Services based Architecture – The best cloud-native applications are composed from modular building blocks that are separately optimized and updated, and can be quickly assembled together to meet specific business needs. As a result, applications end up more flexible, scalable and innovative – key to business agility, resilience and growth. These building blocks or micro services are rapidly evolving, so pay careful attention to using them wisely.
- Pick High Return options – Given the innovation across the board, the choices are many and diving headfirst into the next new thing is a recipe that often fails. What works instead? Starting with reimagined experience, designing future-state business processes first, mapping gaps that need to be filled, framing the business-technology architecture, and then systematically prioritizing and addressing the roadmap step by step. Remember, re-platforming to the cloud is a business initiative, not a technology exercise.
- Keep it Simple – I see too many enterprise projects with the most sophisticated rendering of technologies, each in its most refined state. Unfortunately many don’t even return the investment. This doesn’t have to be so – cloud practices are getting quite mature, and if a project appears to be too complex – it probably is! Make innovation bite-sized, iterate through components that build upon each other, don’t get carried away with every single bell and whistle, and keep it simple.
There is an incredible amount of completed work in re-platforming for the cloud, and some great learnings we can now leverage – including these six design principles that may help risk-mitigate your cloud journey and build a foundation for digital transformation.