Many organisations move to cloud services because they’re looking to achieve efficiencies in their environment, cut costs, or leverage specific applications. Once they’re there, however, they can achieve things that they hadn’t contemplated previously.

For example, one of our government customers uses NovaWorks’ cloud-based ePetitions solution, that enables citizens to submit petitions to parliament online. Moving to this cloud-based solution not only improved the customer experience, but the parliament quickly discovered that they now had the ability to also leverage AI and analytics in ways they never dreamed, enabled by the cloud. Previously, petitions were a manual process that required people to check each submission and manually filter through those that were abusive or unhelpful.

Following the cloud migration, however, AI algorithms were able to be used to automate the initial screening, driving efficiency through the department and improving morale by allowing employees to focus on higher value tasks.

In another example, another customer wanted to open up one of its virtual machines to an external party and implement a VPN. They wanted to do this because this was the ‘traditional’ approach and common application of cloud resources. As they were using Microsoft Azure, we were able to highlight for them that they could more easily provision a guest account and then utilise the remote desktop solution, Azure Bastion, which had already been installed into the environment. This allowed them the strategic benefits of the cloud, without needing to invest in additional resources.

For a lot of enterprises, the value that they derive from cloud migrations does come as almost a surprise when they start to explore what they actually have available to them. Following the migration, they have access to hundreds of cloud services that can drive further efficiency and inspire greater innovation, and all that they need to do is recognise the opportunity available to them. The value that a partner like NovaWorks brings to our customers is the ability to help them identify these opportunities. We use the technology ourselves and stay informed about the many services available through public cloud vendors precisely so we can help our customers make the most of their own investments.

Building a strategy around new applications

Most organisations will end up using more applications in their IT environments following a move to the cloud. This is a good thing in many cases, as it reflects the capacity for the cloud to deliver greater innovation and deeper engagement, and the applications are a manifestation of the organisation representing the power of their newly transformed platform.

At the same time, organisations need to be strategic about how they approach application adoption and ensure that it’s adding genuine value to the business as a whole. Within Azure, AWS or Google, every application has a cost, and the more services that you utilise, the greater the overall expenditure.

Because this results in added value to customers, potential new products and services, deeper insights into both customers and the business, and improved internal efficiencies, the ROI on this expenditure is compelling. However, here, too, it’s important to have a partner that you can trust in selecting, deploying and leveraging these applications. A business is only going to use an application if it understands how it will actually benefit the business, otherwise there’s no point in investing. NovaWorks has the knowledge of all the services and can help its customers architect an application environment that delivers the best possible outcomes for the cloud spent to its customers.

Cloud needs to be a whole-of-business approach

One of the main challenges that enterprises now face is the ability for separate lines of business within the organisation to procure their own cloud services. Increasingly, IT spend across a business is decentralised, with department heads having their own budgets to work with.

This, however, can lead to an environment that features a lot of waste. A truly strategic use of the cloud is a centralised one, where the duplication of functions are kept to a minimum and where businesses are leveraging native services, rather than deploying new applications where it is not necessary.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the cloud is an essentially agile space. It is possible and even advisable for businesses to start small and deploy quickly, with a single application, demonstrate its value, and then continue to expand from there.

Too often what causes a cloud application strategy to fail is the perception that it needs to accelerate from 0 to 100 – to go from the start of a transformation to having the whole environment fully transformed in one project. Such an effort is ultimately destined to run over-time and over-budget, and it will take too long to demonstrate its value to stakeholders.

A better approach is to take one business process or application and move it to the cloud first, demonstrating the value that doing so brings to that application. That process will take weeks, rather than months or years, and from there the proven success of the application will drive appetite for further transformation.

A partner like NovaWorks adds value to the IT transformation through our experience and strategic approach to cloud migration and application modernisation. If you’re looking to leverage the cloud to drive innovation, efficiency, and improve the customer experience, contact us today.