Using the cloud provides a 10x greater return on investment for cloud leaders than for newbies. But how does an organization achieve these results? Read on to discover the top five areas of focus that can help CEOs, CIOs, and others maximize value throughout their companies’ cloud journeys and accelerate their cloud maturity.

Businesses around the world understand that a cloud strategy and approach is essential for a modern, agile business. The challenge is to identify how best to approach it, where to focus their efforts, and how to get the most out of their cloud investments.

Cloud leaders offer inspiration; their use of the cloud provides a 10x higher return on investment than cloud beginners, according to a recent study Wipro FullStride Cloud Services Report. But maximizing the business value of the cloud requires more than best practices. It also requires a willingness from CEOs, CIOs, and other C-suite leaders to accelerate organizational cloud maturity and apply cloud technologies to five key areas, outlined below.

Leading CIOs are leveraging their cloud investments to reduce operational costs and improve efficiency. This strategy is also adopted by cloud beginners; “Cost savings” is one of the fastest wins in the journey to cloud, and increased business agility is one of the primary reasons for investment. But cloud leaders distinguish themselves by treating the cloud as a central part of their growth strategies.

This disparity is not only indicative of a difference in perspective between leaders and non-leaders. This can also be attributed to experience.

The positive impact of cloud investments is greatest among organizations that have reached relative maturity as cloud users. It makes sense: Leaders usually already have a sophisticated digital infrastructure in place, allowing them to pursue higher-impact initiatives. More than a quarter say they have migrated their core business processes to the cloud (compared to just 4% of non-leaders), and 78% expect to offer cloud-native apps within the next two years, a view shared by just 31 % % non-leaders.

With this context and increased maturity, cloud leaders clearly have more ambitious goals in mind. Compared to less sophisticated users, executives are 30% more likely to use the cloud to accelerate development and release cycles and are 33% more likely to create entirely new cloud-based offerings. Organizations that maximize their cloud ROI also tend to focus on industry-specific use cases that can drive transformative growth.

This reflects the understanding that cloud success is a journey, not a destination. Much like the technology itself, leaders are constantly evolving, both as a result of past cloud implementations and as a prerequisite for future adoption. They are also constantly looking for new ways to use the cloud to drive business results.

Here are the top five areas of focus that can help CEOs, CIOs, and others maximize value throughout their companies’ cloud journeys and accelerate their cloud maturity:

  1. Embrace a Cloud-Everywhere Mindset
    Businesses can get the best return on their cloud investments by focusing on the business growth agenda and aligning their technology transformation with that agenda. The cloud has the unique ability to impact all areas of a business. Likewise, CIOs need to think holistically about how to plan, enable, manage, and define their cloud-based growth, and then develop strategies to successfully implement that plan.
  2. Ensuring Trust and Resilience
    The past two years have been a crash course for many companies in business resilience. These more than 24 months have also proven how important the cloud is to ensuring business continuity. As organizations (along with CIOs, employees, and partners) increasingly depend on the cloud, they must approach mission-critical systems with digital trust and privacy frameworks designed to improve the user experience while meeting the security and compliance needs.
  3. Advocate and drive culture change
    Successful cloud implementations are as much about people as they are about technology. Adopting new ways of working and investing in training can mean the difference between cloud success and failure. The world of remote working has also demonstrated that a decentralized workforce can be just as productive as on-site employees, which has allowed some companies to explore – and succeed with – a crowdsource model and new collaborative technologies.
  4. Take advantage of smart data
    CIOs are urged to provide more business insights and forecasts, while stakeholders seek out new market opportunities. These demands have only increased as organizations have access to an unprecedented volume of data, which requires AI for effective and efficient analysis. Improving visibility and analysis of key data is essential to solving key business challenges. As companies aspire to improve their enterprise IQ, the need for data stewards and better data governance is paramount.
  5. Focus on automation
    To “be digital” and not just “do digital,” companies need to consider end-to-end automation and further integrate the business unit and IT organization. Although integration seems simple, success requires a strategic balance between machine learning, robotic process automation, digital twins, AI operations, and more.

Ultimately, CIOs and business leaders can rest assured that the cloud offers more than cost savings and efficiencies; it drives revenue and business growth. But achieving these goals requires recognizing the strategic importance of the cloud across the enterprise and accelerating the organization’s cloud maturity. Are you ready?

Written by Gavin Williams.
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