Before Cloud Expo Europe on 8-9 March at ExCeL London, award-winning cloud professional and Associate Partner at Oliver Wyman, Alina Timofeeva, spoke with Techerati on cloud sustainability, avoiding digital transformation failure, and being an inspiring leader.
Alina will chair a debate at Cloud Expo Europe on the next trends in cloud transformation and where to invest in a time when many businesses are overspending on their cloud budgets.
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What is the biggest cloud transformation challenge facing businesses?
Alina identified that many businesses are already on the cloud transformation journey, but leaders initially expected the benefits like faster time to market, improved resilience and efficiency to be achieved in less time and cost a lot less.
“They are taking longer than expected and costing way too much, the anticipated benefits are yet to be seen in full,” said Alina.
In fact, research shows that almost one-third of corporate spending on cloud is wasted on inefficient activities, with limited financial or strategic returns, according to Flexera.
Business leaders should reevaluate how their cloud transformation journey is helping to serve business needs, deliver on the desired objectives, and help their customers. Additionally, cloud is moving from being the platform on which a business runs, to the product of the business, with a new trend for ‘cloud-as-product’, which is different from services that organizations have traditionally offered.
Many businesses are now concerned with the challenge of achieving Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. Cloud and cloud technologies can also unlock opportunities to go green through enabling carbon transparency and using tech & analytics to cut emissions throughout organisations, including within Enterprise IT.
Enterprise IT generates significant emissions – estimated at approximately 15% of total emissions – with these being specifically high in banking. This is a significant prize for companies under increasing pressure to cut emissions. Some of the levers CIOs could pull include application rationalisation, increased use of cloud and optimised end-user devices.
How can businesses meet their digital transformation goals?
An alarming 70% of leaders have seen their digital transformation and change initiatives fail to meet their desired business objectives.
“As a leader, it is very important to ensure the business adoption is considered early in the process by defining the business value out of the transformation and how you measure success or value from your cloud. Successful organisations use a use-case driven approach versus purely ‘tech for tech’ play to give comfort to the key senior stakeholders, including the board and senior committees that the transformation is meeting the desired business benefits.
Transformations often fail due to a lack of engagement from downstream users or customers. For example, many data projects fail because of last of adoption from downstream users who need to be sure that their downstream data processes will not be disrupted by the migration,” said Alina.
Alina described a global banking organisation that attempted to implement DevOps across their organisation for the last ten years, with at least three attempts. Some of the concerns raised are around the business slowing down the speed of releases, either because of risk or regulator concerns, or their lived experience; and challenges around convincing leadership whether having automated compliance is sufficient for the business, risk teams, and regulators.
She suggested that the organisations need to look into defining and measuring DevOps benefits, for example, time to market into a monetary business outcome, as well as the value creation outside of money. Alina recommended that better performing teams should share their pain and success points with the other less performing teams, so that the relevant benefits could be extrapolated.
As you scale DevOps across the organisation to achieve the desired value and ensure consistent monitoring against agreed MI, leaders should consider different archetypes like different tech stacks, legacy versus cloud, and different cultures, including internal teams, offshore teams, third-party providers, across geographies.
“Everybody wants to serve their customers. Many organisations will keep trying, but it just may take a little bit longer. For this client, they changed their focus by putting engineers at the heart of their internal customer base,” said Alina.
Fundamentally, Alina believes in the mantra of ‘fail but never give up’, which has led to her winning multiple awards, including Inspirational Individual of the Year at the UKIT Awards and Digital Leader of the Year at the Women in Tech Excellence Awards.
“The win is not just for me, but for immigrants, women in IT. The key is showing up no matter what. It is small, regular steps that make a big difference,” said Alina.
Alina will join Cloud Expo Europe on 8-9 March at ExCeL London to share more insights on making the right cloud investments.
“Cloud Expo Europe is a great opportunity to bring professionals together through sessions and networking that enables leaders to see the whole spectrum of opportunities,” added Alina.