The adaptive and highly scalable architecture, flexibility of pay-per-use commercial models, immediate global reach, and finally the sheer diversity of component choice are just a few of the positive attributes available for businesses using cloud.
However, all too familiar patterns can be observed amongst the enterprise organisations where public cloud has become the new destination. Typically, migration-based journeys have simply replicated common, and sometimes outdated, architectural playbooks. The born-in-the-cloud service models engineered with legacy thinking and monolithic constructs also often emulate the very datacentre constraints they seek to escape.
If all cloud journeys were the same, real innovation, especially at the level witnessed in recent years, would have never happened. Cloud has the ability to put experimental prototypes into the hands of creative thinkers, automate anything and everything, and shape new customer experience into dynamic real-time engagements filled with context and insight. However, this can only happen if those desired “outcomes” were defined as a deliverable of the journey.
Why adopt cloud technology in the financial services industry?
Digital transformation, when done correctly, has the potential to force a revaluation of the customer experience itself, moving from a platform that simply provisions infrastructure, to one that supports an ever-changing user demand and need for innovation. For example, take the success of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Amazon – all giants in the field of data science and big data which is utilised specifically to extract value to shape new customer experiences. All these major players have built not only dedicated architectural sandboxes from which data can be shaped and modelled, but they have also thought about the entire ecosystem that supports the underpinning value chain of this new “insight”. This grows more specific as it leaves the hands of a data science community and crosses into divisional teams and line of business comprised of none data scientists.
The opportunity to build on a cloud-native architecture facilitates more than just basic technology-based discussion. It supports a wider assessment of the very people, process and interactions that stand to benefit from reimaging the entire service definition. Teams across an entire value chain can interact with cloud native services throughout different stages of its lifecycle. Consider a manufacturing organisation who in the past has produced solutions based on a set of fixed outcomes such as a blueprint, a part or product built to specification and a known supply chain. Today, many of those same manufacturers are now forced to compete on global markets, potentially building solutions that not only comprise of physical assets but also have “digital twin”, ecosystems comprised of sensor data and electronic insights that follows the very lifespan of the pre-built solution and its end point interactions.
Regardless of the business model, experience and outcome are shaping how consumers make their choice across all sectors, meaning the challenge to any organisation is the speed at which these choices and changes in direction manifest. Traditional supply and demand relationships can now change literally by the hour, whereas any platform designed to support services without the same levels of adaptability can actually hinder growth rather than support it.
The four steps you need to take to kick-start the leadership revolution
Effective utilisation of cloud technologies begins with a realisation that all supporting technology needs to be arranged with automation and efficiency at the very core. Classic examples of misalignment include aspects like manual approval and provisioning of virtual machines into a completely automated landscape, to manual configuration of network and security settings.
The new landscape of platform components almost has an unlimited scope as most cloud providers operate several hundred individual cloud components within their respective catalogues, with each component capable of millions of configuration permutations. It is therefore vital that the functionality across this expanding landscape is effectively mapped to a desired outcome. Too many enterprise sector cloud platforms are already beginning to resemble old school datacentres in physical terms, but not at a conceptual level.
Service design teams must be challenged to build customer solutions with a clear set of design principals in mind. Aspects like automation and hyperscale are a given, as is security and newer platform additions like A.I and machine learning, which will become default to many services. Additionally, server-less architecture activated at the point of consumption will ensure maximum ROI for new and experimental services, coupled with the added benefit of zero running cost when not in use. Finally, CI/CD across development communities will be a given.
The modern-day success stories of cloud adoption all have a common thread – everything is on the table from a solution perspective, and legacy mindsets and traditional service models, although valid for reference, do not form the basis of decisions. Neither does one’s personal technology experience. None of the major cloud players are constraint by imagination as this is the fundamental shift that cloud has best facilitated. Services are viewed as iterations rather than final productions, and functionality, user experience, changing market conditions and competitive offerings can all trigger and immediate adaptation to conditions. This, above every other trait, is the benefit of cloud.
The cloud continues to disrupt telecoms and communication is changing
People and process make up the balance of this newly adaptive landscape. Traditional IT roles will change to encompass service outcomes rather than simple maintenance and housekeeping, and agile methodology will become the new normal. All organisations who are serious about cloud must consider the genuine benefits rather than simply the effort of change, if change ultimately means the same service running in someone else’s space, then we must reimagine the service through the eyes of a customer. If change is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.