Knowing your current state of cloudification and digital transformation phase can crystalize your organization’s digital strengths and weaknesses.

As organizations across the Asia Pacific region (APAC) increasingly turn to digital transformation via cloud computing, how can they optimize a mix of public, private and hybrid cloud environments to support unique digital, operational, and business needs; regulatory concerns; risk appetite; geographical expansion; and data needs?

A study commissioned by Cisco and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has attempted to shed light on cloudification strategization that can provide answers.

Amid the global drive to digitalize, understanding how to manage the transition to cloud computing in a smooth, seamless, and secure manner was a focus of the study.

Big cloud expectations

According to Naveen Menon, President, ASEAN, Cisco: “Cloud investments will continue to dominate boardroom conversations, with enterprises being the chief architects in their own cloud journey, and in shaping the future of cloud.”

BCG’s Managing Director and Partner (Singapore), Prasanna Santhanam said: “In the cloudification roadmap there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Business and IT leaders need to be strategic and mindful when navigating the intricacies of cloud innovations and consider the benefits, challenges and risks associated with each strategy in the mid- to long-term. As the focus shifts towards ‘rebuilding better’ and ‘emerging stronger’, cloud innovations will no doubt form an integral part of robust business continuity plans.”

Which archetype is your organization?

The study arbitrarily classifies five organizational archetypes based on their cloudification journey:

  1. Digital Native: Organizations that were born in the cloud and built from the ground up on the Cloud, and primarily driven by digital- and cloud-first strategies. Public cloud has been the default choice for them, and they are able to respond swiftly to the dynamic business landscape with great agility. 
  2. Cloud Optimizer: Theseorganizations are at the forefront of digital transformation initiatives, having moved away from outdated legacy systems to cloud technology. They have mature cloud systems in place, and typically take a public cloud-first approach. 
  3. Cloud Pragmatist: Organizations thatare embracing cloud but generally prefer private over public cloud due to concerns over data and workloads. Public cloud is used to a limited extent for non-business critical workloads, while private cloud is utilized as a strategic asset. 
  4. Cautious Adopter: While digital is rising on their agenda, these organizations take a project-based approach to cloud adoption and do not have an enterprise-wide cloud strategy. Their leaders have not fully embraced the benefits of cloud offerings, and they do not have a strategic direction to define a cloud vision yet. 
  5. Cloud Onlooker: These organizations do not currently consider cloud as a strategic advantage for their business goals, but as another form of digital infrastructure. They have no active plans to adopt cloud computing in their business model and strategy, but their leaders could introduce isolated cloud solutions believed to be beneficial to the organization.

Four stages of cloudification

Organizations can map their cloud strategy and journey against four arbitrarily defined stages of cloud adoption in the study.

  • Initial/Ad hoc: The organization is not actively pursuing cloud innovations, but may implement it on an ad hoc basis. 
  • Experiment: In this stage, cloud solutions are largely experimental and on-premises, with a focus on the improvement of customer experience or leveraging analytics for better insights. 
  • Scale: In this stage, cloud strategy is organization-wide and well defined, with cloudification integrated in core business systems.
  • Operate@Scale: In this advanced stage, cloudification occurs across the technology stack, with ongoing programs for technology lifecycle and improvement.

(Note: While organizations do not adhere to a standard, homogenous timeline, they typically require a ‘trigger’ to move on to the next stage. For instance, this could come in the form of shifts in business demand or changes in the organization’s digital agenda.)

Based on the above classifications, the study offers a working tool for business leaders to develop strategies to tailor their cloudification journey. Menon noted that each organization’s path will look different, depending on their unique needs and focus areas as they develop their post-pandemic roadmap.

“While cloud service providers have in the past defined cloud as the aspiration and end goal for customers, it has become abundantly clear that the cloud journey needs to be personalized and tailored to the business and its sector. As organizations navigate the hybrid cloud world and distributed workforce of the future, the challenge is ensuring this shift to cloud is managed efficiently and securely,” said Menon.