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The pandemic and moment of truth with your Cloud Strategy!

Cloud Strategy 1
The pandemic is changing the trajectory of every business and every walk of life! It is changing business models that fail to pivot toward a new normal – driven by remote work, social distancing, shorter value chains, and use of emerging technologies. Many companies still remain groping and vulnerable to being myopic with their strategic choices and investments for different potential futures.
Amid this, ‘Cloud’ stands as a catalyst for re-shaping the capabilities to deliver to the life-changing, underlying self-actualization elements of value for customers, and for mitigating risks and enhancing business value, and well, to survive and thrive in the future. Leveraging of cloud ecosystem therefore will be the dominant business logic of the future. Whether pivoting to new business models or to compete well in all three facets of the business: customer service, product innovation, and business agility (transformation and speed-to-market) that improve both customer and business value.

Leveraging of cloud ecosystem therefore will be the dominant business logic of the future. Whether pivoting to new business models or to compete well in all three facets of the business: customer service, product innovation, and business agility (transformation and speed-to-market) that improve both customer and business value.

So, re-think your strategy by pivoting to new possibilities and models via Cloud. Here are a few key dimensions of the cloud to consider when re-formulating your Cloud strategy.
Execution of Roadmap
The pandemic is causing an abrupt, existential leap. Pre-COVID roadmaps to cloud and platforming (largely encapsulated in digital transformation plans) were drawn with a view to completing at one’s own affordable pace. With the cadence of business changing so fast for ‘being online and digital‘, it will now need a definitive course-correction: adjust, revise and shrink timelines, as cloud adoption has poised from … “it must be done” – to – “it must be done, now“!

Remember, when the execution of cloud roadmap tends to be slow, it may be a sign that you are tardy with bold moves and free-up resources, and that your costs are incorrectly committed.

Customer value elements
An ‘all-digital’ lifestyle means a fundamental shift to sell outcomes as a service, rather than sell a product or a service. A more intense ecosystem where customers aspire to complete their jobs online and challenging to serve up to what customers truly value, and to the growing and varying “hierarchy of needs”. Further, it’s also imperative to observe patterns of fulfillment (sense of purpose and achievement) when customers engage in the process to be able to identify, create, and deliver incremental elements of value.

An ‘all-digital’ lifestyle means a fundamental shift to sell outcomes as a service, rather than sell a product or a service.

Cloud offers several tools to build workflows connecting individual self-service tasks (e.g. AWS Steps equivalent in Azure or Google or Cloud-agnostic workflow engines) and automation with security policies and processes. A mix of these capabilities seamlessly integrates various services to enable customers for “jobs-done” outcomes and to expand value proposition(s) – with or without tweaking product portfolio(s) and pricing.
Pivoting experiments
Cloud enables digital platform that satisfies all the prerequisites for pivoting. Essentially, it extends existing capabilities and the scope of strategic intent and has all the ingredients for success in the lockdown economy. Firms can experiment with pivoting via digital offerings within their existing portfolios, albeit within the brand promise and core values they stand for, when they do not yet know which changes might become permanent, as it may be an iterative process.
For example, auto insurance firms have pivoted to selling pay-per-mile policies after the pandemic has broken existing driving environments. So, prioritize what and how you want to pivot to include cloud-based services with winning functional and non-functional capabilities to gain a competitive edge.
Intermediaries
Social distancing has been disrupting previous relationship-based symbiotic business models. But companies many still need intermediaries (agents, partners, distributors, resellers, etc) to participate for obvious and compelling reasons. This essentially means three strategic options: 1. build an online community with intermediaries who have always been central to the business; 2. move away from the traditional pipeline business model to an online-focused platform business model; 3. add more industry-related (including the third party) products to the portfolios to optimize cost per unit sold and serviced to improve viability and profitability for intermediaries.
Cloud enables all the three options since you can either control or orchestrate resources to help intermediaries create value. Both your company and intermediaries can complement each other and co-evolve in harmony. For example, many large insurance firms run into such a challenge to carry their agency network that has been instrumental in building their business.
Coherent enterprise
A sense of purpose by shared values and ownership for customer success, innovation for creating and delivering incremental value are the defining tenets of a coherent enterprise. Cloud can facilitate significant autonomy and responsibility to acquired business units (M&A) both by the rules of engagement and splitting costs for the shared services. Use of extended value chain collaboration apps that tap into Data Analytics, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Process Automation, etc. in shared services (IT, HR, Legal, R&D, CRM) stack can serve enriched and actionable data whatever manner and to the scale, they may demand.
Return on agility
No matter what the ROIs, DCFs, NPVs, etc., suggest, the value of Cloud investments is only relative to the business agility for enabling new pivot(s) and operationalizing them. Thus, the strategic value of cloud investments is proportional to maintaining and increasing customer base and revenues (and perhaps market cap).
These are just a few, and I’d much appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

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