With the business lens in place, you can review and assess how well cloud is supporting your business. Business is quickening. Regardless of where you are geographically and what business you are in, this is accepted universally. And how well IT responds to the business can determine how IT is perceived within the business. IT can be viewed as a deterrent or as a catalyst for innovation. In the case of the former, it can be a result of an ever-increasing backlog of applications; a lack of modern skills; a rigid, monolithic, brittle infrastructure; a lack of people; etc. In this case, business units and departments may opt to go down the SaaS route, embrace nascent low-code solutions enabling citizen developers, and more broadly accelerate the move to shadow IT. Instead, IT can be viewed as the catalyst of innovation by building an IT and cloud architecture that is designed for change; moving aggressively to containerization to support CI/CD and agile development; moving to serverless to take advantage of the performance and cost benefits provided; cost effectively brining in or expanding the use of AI/ML; proactively offering the business new advances in cloud services and new offerings that can make the previously impossible, now possible.
Finally, the strategic lens. Here advances in Design Thinking can help an organization chart the path of what and how to migrate and modernize elements of the existing IT estate to the cloud. If you are not familiar with Design Thinking, here is a quick overview borrowing from the Interaction Design Foundation:
Empathis(z)e – with your users
- Define – your users’ needs, their problem, and your insights
- Ideate – by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions
- Prototype – to start creating solutions
- Test – solutions
As you review and assess your existing IT estate – how well are applications and systems addressing the needs of the users – be those external customers, partners, or employees? Migrating and modernizing applications onto cloud offers IT great flexibility to adopt a Design Thinking mindset that will be more responsive to the business. When you align Design Thinking with cloud computing, you can quickly see how it can work and the potential.
Empathis(z)e – IT can transform to become a business enabler, connecting with Line-of-Business (LOB) to understand challenges with existing application and systems, and the technology needs of LOB moving forward.
- Define – IT can lead the process of taking output from the Empathize phase, synthesize it with their deep understanding of technology and collaborate with LOB to shape the problem statements, personas, and needs.
- Ideate – IT and LOB working together can formulate options for thinking outside of the box in order to address the problem statements coming out of the Define phase.
- Prototype – This is where cloud can really shine! Given the intrinsic characteristics of cloud computing – elasticity, scale, metered service, on-demand, self-service – it is an environment tailormade for iterative prototyping.
- Test – Although this is the final phase of the Design Thinking approach, this phase is where we can test different approaches to addressing the problem. Output can take us back to other phases in-order to refine the approach and work through the process in an agile-development-like approach. Again – cloud is ideal to do A/B/… testing of solutions without incurring high costs or expending great amounts of time!
The rate and pace of innovation coming out of the hyperscale providers is truly remarkable. Each year Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are delivering new services and solutions to leapfrog the other competitors. That means that your IT team will have an ever-expanding palate of cloud services to offer the business in order to drive innovation. The challenge is to stay in step with the innovation coming out of the hyperscale providers, to be able to understand and assess the innovations, and select the ones that will be most impactful to your company as you progress on your cloud journey. Having an objective proven technology partner, versant in all the major cloud providers and the innovation they are delivering and aligning that innovation with your strategy viewed through the 3 lenses above, and Design Thinking becomes invaluable in your cloud journey!
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