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Cloud Expo: Article

2013: A Take-Off Year for Enterprise Transformations

Get ready and fasten your seat belts

As 2013 gets off the ground and we look at the year ahead, there can no longer be any doubts that cloud computing has caused a paradigm shift in computing. Cloud computing has fundamentally changed the Internet world - and is having an impact on every form of business. Not only is it helping organizations to fast-track revenue generation, but it's also creating new business and growth opportunities as well.

Cloud adoption is gaining ground and ready to take a center stage. However, many organizations are still bogged down with worry as to how they can create or maintain differentiating business value for various stakeholders. This has a profound impact on the future of their businesses - from their ability to compete and even their very existence.

There's no short answer and no shortcut either. CIOs waiting on the sidelines need to start looking at how they can exploit cloud computing during the first half of 2013 and plan to maximize the business transformation in-house as well as via partner-led innovations over the coming months if they are to stay in the game.

Businesses that can execute on the above strategy will find themselves in a commanding position compared to others in their respective markets.

Here are four practical ways enterprises can create foundations - to differentiate themselves from previous years and more important from competitors in future market scenarios.

1. Broaden your understanding and knowledge
Get a handle on the nature of newer business challenges, existing and evolving processes and business operations, evolving needs of customers and employees, the potential impact newfound partners can have on future business, and the possibilities of newer ecosystems that can eat away at the core business. The key here is not about seeing and perceiving these challenges, threats and opportunities in isolation - but rather in translating this information holistically into the context of potential business transformations that can effect drastic changes on the enterprise.

The assimilation of the business context, expected future behavior, and the broadened knowledge patterns of the surrounding business and technology environment will help anticipate future issues, problems and opportunities earlier.

2. Experiment
Any knowledge, discoveries, or insights if not experimented with in a controlled setting and in advance of full-blown implementation can be devastating, especially when technology evolutions are underway and business directions are in flux. What to experiment with, when to experiment, how to experiment and how much to experiment are a few common but critical questions organizations need help answering. The right experimentation will lead to the right roadmap and help set the correct course for future rollouts and will instill faith in the direction the company is headed in. At the same time, adhoc or unplanned experimentation will result in wasted time, loss of confidence and possibly even lost market share.

Experimentation should, of course, be prioritized for trying out disruptive technologies like cloud computing, social, mobile and big data analytics.  These should be handled in a well congregated manner around specific business objectives/contexts.

3. Encourage cultural shift
Businesses don't change just for the sake of change. New technology adoptions don't happen unless there is a clear and marked improvement over the current way things are done. Change is a by-product of the cultural evolution and its related environment modifications. For example, the definition of who an enterprise buyer is has changed and the enterprise IT buyer is not the only buyer any more. Who is buying, when are they buying, what are they buying and why are they buying - are examples of one of the predominant changes taking place now. Organizations that encourage thinking that embraces such cultural shifts will not only embark on a futuristic roadmap, but will also see inclusive growth by understanding who the disparate stakeholders are and develop an inclusive plan that embraces this cultural shift.

Enterprise transformation plans need to anticipate cultural shifts like newer stakeholder engagement methods, enterprise process modernizations, pervasive and ubiquitous services, and leverage the new computing paradigm to affect the ‘cultural shift' in the right direction.

4. Create new value systems
Part of the enterprise value system may differ from business to business and from mission to mission. However, an enterprise IT-like support system is becoming more like a business-enabling value system and soon it could be at the core of many enterprise businesses. This changes the assumptions and equations for the roles of enterprise CEOs, CIOs and CTOs. Enterprise IT's inside-out view and the line of business's outside-in view of cloud and other technologies will have to converge soon enough. The crux of the new value system is locked in there.

This convergence may lead to next generation roles and profiles like Chief Transformation Officer (could be termed as ‘CTxO' or ‘CTrO'). The value system a CTxO or CTrO will bring/build is a flexible and forward-thinking mindset that values business growth over IT efficiency; the user experience over performance; and hopefully, customer empathy over margins. Whether virtual or real, this new entity will be the midpoint to take an organization to a completely different level and deliver enterprise transformation in the era of social, mobile and Big Data analytics, all complementing the cardinal role of cloud computing in the process.

Along with many well-intentioned New Year's resolutions, enterprises need to have a transformation plan in place and insource the technology expertise they need to conduct the right experiments that will fast track their company to a successful and highly competitive enterprise that is ready to take 2013 by storm.

2013 is definitely a "take-off year" - so enjoy the journey and the process of technology-driven enterprise transformations!

More Stories By Jiten Patil

Jiten Patil is Principal Technology Consultant & Cloud Expert, CTO Office, at Persistent Systems Limited, a global leader in software product development and services. He has 15 years of industry experience and has spent the past 6 years working with cloud service providers, ISVs and enterprises in the field of SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and hybrid cloud computing solutions. His key expertise is in guiding organizations for cloud strategy and roadmap, solution architecting for public & private application services, platform services, multi-tenancy methodologies, application enablement and migration, devising new cloud solutions, tools and IP products, and doing competitive assessment across cloud technologies. He can be reached at [email protected] / Twitter @jiten_patil

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