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Six Unconventional Tips to Maximize Cloud ROI
October 14, 2012
Alan Radding, Big4.com Guest Blogger
(A book is the best way to build a consulting practice: ask about ghostwriting your book)
A study released in June by North Bridge Venture Partners found that companies are accelerating their move into cloud solutions, with 50% of respondents already confident that cloud solutions are viable for mission critical business applications.
Other results show Software as a Service (SaaS) remaining the primary type of cloud investment, with 82% of respondents using it today. Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will see significant growth in the next five years, with PaaS nearly doubling to 72% and IaaS growing jumping 15 points to 66%.
The big consulting firms have jumped on the topic. Deloitte writes about the cloud having technical advantages that translate into business value. Capgemini chimes in with 8 ways to measure Cloud ROI and KPMG offers its view of cloud ROI.
Bluewolf Group, a cloud-driven consulting company specializing in agile business, takes a distinctively different view of maximizing cloud ROI—looking at the people issues. Eric Berridge, Bluewolf’s co-founder and a leading advocate of social business, wrote recently that companies are shifting resources to the cloud for a variety of reasons: efficiency, cost, analytics, customer service, etc. While these are worthy goals, he notes, there’s a more fundamental reason to tap the cloud: unlocking the collective brainpower of your workforce and customer base.
In his piece on maximizing your cloud investment, Berridge says: The true cost of cloud is greater than many realize. While the cloud removes the burden of paying up to 10 times the amount for self-hosted applications, it is a mistake to think that there are no costs beyond the purchase of licenses and consulting services. That’s why it is essential to maximize your investment in the cloud. His tips for doing just that are summarized below:
Form a cloud governance board. While your system may stagnate with too little innovation, conversely it may break down under the stress of too much innovation. A cloud governance board can establish system stability and ensure all changes occur at appropriate intervals and address top priority business issues.
Gamify adoption. Leverage game mechanics—rewards and incentives—to bring everyone onboard with changes brought by the cloud.
Prime the feedback loop. Continually adopt your cloud to your organization’s needs. Keep your finger on the pulse of what your people need, like, don’t like, and want next. Give them an easy way to provide feedback and make their input an integral part of your governance.
Never stop training. Cloud functionality is continually evolving. It’s this flexibility that drives value. The day you conclude training is the day that your workforce begins to fall behind.
Don’t think of the cloud as simple. The infinite flexibility of the cloud actually adds a new layer of complexity. If you don’t take advantage of this flexibility you’re short-changing the organization.
Use one naughty word. Outsourcing has become a dirty word. Cloud providers, however, are outsourcers that enable you to be elastic; changing your mix of talent and system as your needs change and opportunities arise. So, don’t be afraid of that naughty word.
All of these tips, in the end, revolve around people, not technology. Cloud computing has done more than change how we acquire and deploy technology—it has fundamentally altered the role of technology in companies. For the consultant looking to build a practice on cloud computing, maximizing the client’s investment in cloud technologies comes down to one thing: making the technology work for the business’s people, not vice versa.