How moving to the cloud can fuel organisational growth

09 November 2021 Consultancy.asia 6 min. read
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Since the onset of Covid-19, the business landscape has witnessed an unpredictable turn of events that has completely changed the way companies work. Many organisations have had to undergo compressed transformation due to the pandemic, and most have or are migrating to the cloud.

However, many organisations continue to view cloud investments as a one-time cost savings activity, under-exploiting this powerful solution.

This is surprising especially since the opportunities presented in cloud are endless and can help push forth more advantages that are beyond the benefits of cost savings and reduction. A recent study that Accenture conducted (‘Ever Ready For Every Opportunity’) has proven that organisations who treat cloud as a new operating model to continuously reinvent their businesses experience advantages beyond what was initially imagined. 

Ryoji Sekido - Managing Partner

In particular, we’ve identified organisations who have been successful in maximising their investments in cloud as ‘continuum competitors’. These continuum competitors, who made up about 13% of APAC respondents in the study, stand out by deploying cloud to transform daily operations. Through continued cloud engagements, organisations reported 1.5 times greater cost reduction than organisations focused mainly on data migration.

Over and above cost reduction, continuum competitors have also reported a multitude of benefits. For instance, these companies were 3.7 times more likely to innovate, automate and re-engineer knowledge work and two times more likely to use cloud to innovate how knowledge work is performed. Continuum competitors were also two times more likely to use cloud to achieve two or more of their sustainability goals. 

These goals include doing more with less servers, the use of more efficient servers, creating better architecture for greener IT than on-premises, reducing their carbon footprint and using green energy sources for IT. 

Making the most of your cloud investments

Continuum competitors adopt four winning cloud approaches to help them maximise their value on cloud. 

1. Developing a Cloud Continuum strategy to realise the greatest business potential
Continuum competitors lead the pack not just in formulating ambitious visions, but also at realising them. In Asia and other regions, continuum competitors aim for more ambitious financial and operational goals and are more likely to have realised greater levels of tech adoption, such as widespread use of AI in knowledge work

For example, Siemens’ rapid pivot to Industry 4.0 and becoming a highly advanced industrial manufacturer was largely enabled by the cloud continuum. To provide engineering and manufacturing companies with data from their factories, Siemens chose to proceed with a multi-cloud, best-of-breed approach. 

By working with multiple cloud providers to broaden the choice of platforms as well as investing in an advanced set of capabilities across those providers, Siemens was able to continually optimise and improve manufacturing. Today, Siemens’ multi-cloud strategy allows it to offer a range of cloud-based solutions to bring greater efficiency and cost savings across their machines and processes.

2. Establishing cloud practices to support and augment your technologies
In a world where roughly one-third of workloads are in the cloud, migrating and sitting back to enjoy the ride is not a winning strategy. The key is to couple technology adoption with practices that bring discipline and help you change your non-technology areas at the pace of computational improvements. 

During the pandemic, agility in the cloud has helped organisations not only survive but thrive and grow. Take Genie Solutions, an Australian practice management software company for medical professionals for example. The company has helped medical professionals tackle the complexity of running a successful practice, with the development of TeleConsult, an end-to-end telehealth workflow solution for medical specialists.

The organisation expanded upon the capabilities of cloud platforms to achieve this and within two weeks, was able to create the first iteration of TeleConsult. Since its launch, TeleConsult has helped several hundred medical professionals each conduct thousands of virtual visits. 

3. Prioritising investments in experience in order to innovate
We live in an experience-led world. Using a combination of human-centred design and cloud-based technologies to rethink experience can be a major competitive differentiator for organisations. By advancing on the cloud continuum, organisations are able to use cloud go beyond the traditional notions of optimising customer and employee touchpoints to innovate and deliver on exceptional experiences. 

For Sephora, by employing a wide range of AI technologies across its app and in brick-and-mortar stores, the beauty retailer has managed to make the shopping experience seamless and inviting. With Sephora Visual Artist for example, customers can engage in a 3D live experience to try on product virtually via Sephora’s app and in-store, making the shopping experience seamless and inviting, especially for younger clientele. 

By deploying the cloud continuum mindset and leveraging loud capabilities, Sephora is able to achieve an elevated user experience for customers. 

4. Provide continuous strategic commitment
Extending your capabilities on cloud will undoubtedly present you with an abundance of opportunities, and organisations must be wary of balancing their own continuum ambitions with strategic priorities that will keep the business focused. Specifically, leadership needs to establish business objectives, appropriate levels of risk-taking, and evangelise a culture for agility and growth.

3M started its cloud journey in 2016, first beginning with a few applications. Where it was previously difficult to gather, transfer and use the data from the production systems from one of 3M’s manufacturing plants, deploying a new edge capability to provide deep insights and predictive analysis in near-real time helped resolve this issue. The new edge capability resulted in faster and more streamlined processes such as a prediction model of the manufacturing line’s problems. 

This greatly improved operational efficiency, and the organisation saw cost reduction benefits with the use of this novel approach. 

Reinventing on the cloud continuum

Migration of core systems and data is the foundation of a successful cloud journey – but it is just table stakes. From that base, organisations must ask themselves how they can use the cloud to position themselves for sustained growth in the next three to five years. Continuum competitors are ahead of the pack, by leveraging cloud-based solutions to find new ways to solve problems and shape the transformation of their industries. 

Understanding the power of the cloud continuum and what it can do for your organisation is the first step to achieving similar gains. Being able to unlock the full potential of cloud for your organisation will not only allow you to meet and surpass customer expectations; it will also enable you to retain top talent, build a more sustainable future and enhance value to your investors.

About the author: Ryoji Sekido is a Senior Managing Director at Accenture, and Cloud First and Technology Lead for Japan, China, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.