Routine Cloud management is best left to IT teams, but the preceding strategy and planning should be a boardroom priority.

A decade ago, cloud computing topped IDC’s list of predictions for technology trends that would take root in 2010. Fast forward just 10 years, and cloud is nearly ubiquitous among businesses today.

Red Hat’s Global Customer Tech Outlook 2020 found that only 3% of organizations in Asia Pacific do not have a cloud strategy for 2020. The region appears to lead the way in cloud adoption, with 46% of organizations having either a hybrid or multicloud strategy for the year ahead, compared with 39% in North America and 27% in Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

With cloud reliably powering many of our processes today—including mission-critical applications—it can sometimes feel that developing the right cloud strategy is an operational issue best left to IT teams, and less of a boardroom matter.

This mindset represents a missed opportunity for businesses. While developing and implementing a hybrid cloud strategy will always require a custodian from technical teams, organizations should also note that building an effective hybrid cloud strategy can influence factors such as innovation and customer-centricity, which are key ingredients for success in today’s world of business.

Building castles in the clouds

Every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created. This data comes from externally-sourced websites, blog posts, tweets, sensors of various types, and public data initiatives such as the human genome project, as well as audio and video recordings from smart devices/apps, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Today, every organization across geographies and industries can innovate digitally, creating more customer value and differentiation while helping to level the competitive playing field. To facilitate innovation, organizations should design a hybrid cloud that supports DevOps to deliver new applications or services to market faster.

With DevOps, developers can work closely with IT operations to accelerate software builds, tests, and releases without sacrificing reliability. Organizations can achieve this by automating routine operational tasks and including containers as part of their hybrid cloud toolkit.

Since containers can offer standardized environments across an application’s lifecycle, they enable applications to be built independent of where they will live, and can easily move across environments as needed, which helps reduce the time-to-market for new services.

One company that has benefitted from a hybrid cloud approach is Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG). As the company rapidly expanded throughout Asia Pacific, its increasingly-cluttered IT infrastructure had become a bottleneck to innovation.

To boost its ability to change and adapt quickly, IAG simplified its technology environment by consolidating into a standardized data platform. This simplified environment helps the company find and use data faster and more accurately.

Now, IAG can get a comprehensive, accurate view of each customer to provide more relevant, timely services.

Investing in the right clouds

While many organizations may already have IT or procurement teams to evaluate the costs and benefits of their technology stack, developing the right cloud strategy should start with a top-down approach. Understanding key business objectives that can positively impact revenue or increase efficiency will help business leaders decide what they need to power their business. Having the right infrastructure is essential to enabling success, and can impact the bottom line.

An internet service provider based in Singapore, MyRepublic, was able to tap on open source cloud technology to substantially reduce its hardware costs and total cost of ownership. With flexible, open source, subscription-based software, the company avoided vendor lock-in and reallocated unused resources. This enabled it to reduce its hardware investment by around 30%. With increased stability and availability, it was also able to make service improvements that helped increase revenue and further improve the company’s returns on investments.

Hybrid cloud can facilitate better CX

A company’s IT strategy is rarely considered to have a direct impact on customer experience (CX). While factors such as cybersecurity have become greater areas of focus for today’s consumers, it is uncommon to hear of customers choosing to purchase from a specific brand or e-commerce platform, for example, based on its IT architecture. Despite that, it is difficult to ignore the impact that a company’s back-end digital infrastructure can have on its customers.

To deliver the speed and innovation that customers today demand, businesses should utilize a microservices-based architecture while adopting DevOps methodology to better streamline operations and help boost productivity, offering a path for faster time-to-market for new innovations.

As part of its digital strategy, OCBC Bank modernized its technology architecture to enable it to deliver superior customer experience deepen relationships and to grow its franchise.

To realize this goal, OCBC deployed solutions, including wealth management applications, built on technologies that support a DevOps approach. As a result, the bank can deliver new digital capabilities with scale and agility across the group’s business lines and subsidiaries in the region, rolling out new services quicker to delight its customers.

Bringing cloud to the forefront

A decade on from when cloud computing was a mere prediction, businesses have come a long way in realizing that technology can be a key differentiator in the digital economy.

While designing and implementing a modern cloud environment is a technical project best spearheaded by IT teams, it is time businesses recognize that cloud strategy is a topic that should be discussed by its leaders.