Cloud and the need for agile, accelerated implementation

By: Mark Bannerman, Managing Director – Infor Services at iOCOInfor’s Master Partner in Africa (operating as a Gold Partner)

As we’ve seen in the recent stock-market crash, cloud business has a massive impact on the global economy. It is clear from the loss of stock value of a leading software solution provider, as a direct result of the crashing of its cloud business, that cloud plays a large role in the value assigned to the businesses operating in it.

Essentially, cloud solutions provide the opportunity to transform how companies operate, offering increasingly more direct business benefits. These cloud deployment advantages far outweigh applications delivered by traditional on-premises solutions.

If 2020 has taught the world anything, it’s that the need to digitise will only increase as the globe’s complexities intensify. While many were forced to embrace work from home practices and digitally driven solutions to survive, it is what they do post-Covid that will determine their long-term sustainability. Digital transformation is a large consideration for future success. Through effective automation, business leaders are freed up to focus on wider business opportunities. Today, it is only the fastest, most agile companies that survive and grow. It is evolution at full throttle, and it is relentless and unforgiving.

According to research conducted by Tripathy and Jyotishi in 2020, shared in a Paper titled Macro Factors Affecting Cloud Computing Readiness: A Cross-Country Analysis, cloud readiness falls into two groups: “prerequisite” and “growth-enabler”. A ResearchGate abstract of the Paper confirms that findings suggest “factors like Per capita GDP, Governance, Business Environment, and R&D have significant and positive influences on the prerequisites for cloud computing. Similarly factors like Governance, Business Environment, and R&D have significant and positive influence on the growth enablers which affect the cloud computing readiness of the ecosystem.”

A study released by Research ICT Africa, titled The Cloud Over Africa, looks into the state of cloud computing across Africa. According to this study, most of Africa’s cloud adoption is supply-drive. However, South Africa stands out as an exception. “The growth of cloud-computing services is demand-side driven through the corporate sector; however, there is a preference for private cloud services due to concerns around data protection and security. Nonetheless, it is believed that more companies will be forced to migrate to public cloud services and take advantage of the economies of scale offered, as a cost cutting measure. The enactment of legislation on data and security in line with global standards will go a long way towards driving adoption of these services.”

Taking all of this into consideration – while factoring in the macro-economic factors of a disastrous 2020 – the key to successful cloud implementation is agility, speed, and simplicity. While many traditional organisations are cautious to move to the cloud during a year of uncertainties, making this move will have a positive impact on sustainable business growth.

One of the greatest barriers to cloud adoption is the time to implement. With modern innovations, the need for agile, streamlined deployments has become the dominant concern.  Business leaders realise that a constantly evolving world demands technology platforms that prioritise agility – the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, embrace simplicity, and innovate faster and better with each iteration. Technology projects must now be focused on accelerating process improvements and Return on Investment. Rapid deployment strategies built on agility are the keys to delivering disruptive innovation.

Infor’s foresight in terms of Digital Transformation started with by bringing standardised CloudSuites to the market. These industry-specific solutions were built on a refined understanding of what functionality should be included ‘out-of-the-box’. To further speed the process, the company developed industry-focused, pre-configured and flexible Implementation Accelerators (IAs). Delivering application configurations, implementation playbook, tools, and templates, the IAs offer a framework for implementing industry specific business processes, migrating data, establishing workflows, and educating users on the features and functionality of the solution.

With these CloudSuites firmly established, delivering the capability and agility for businesses to develop their own innovation became paramount. Enter “60:30:10TM”. The first 60% is easy wins; core industry leading processes that businesses can adopt with little effort (but do not provide differentiation). This allows businesses to adopt technology that delivers industry best practice, as quickly as possible.

Processes that are differentiators, but still fall within the realm of configuration or small tweaks, make up the next 30%. This ensures the business isn’t starting from zero, but instead is choosing from options that can be tailored and configured quickly to best fit their needs.

Now that capacity has been freed up, businesses can focus on the last 10%. These processes are highly differentiating and transforming them drives dramatically better decision-making, enhanced customer experiences, and improved performance within a specific supply chain. With this approach, businesses avoid getting lost in theoretical ways of engineering what usually turns out to be only a marginally better solution to a common problem.

“60:30:10TM” strategy need not be a ‘big bang’ approach, so the technology must support continual innovation. Truly embracing disruption means continually embracing it on a long-term voyage. When it comes to the technology that enables this innovation, the business could plan for multiple go-lives that are often a lot faster than each previous project. Expensive and risky waterfall approaches instead become a strategic, rapid series of incremental improvements that shrink time to market and capital, infrastructure related investment requirements.

The reality is that uncertainty is not a good reason to stay on-prem. This 60:30:10TM approach drives greater certainty with innovative and agile cloud solutions, allowing for accelerated implementation to ensure no gaps in operations. The time is now.