Posted: 17 Jun. 2021 5 min. read

Cloud innovation: Becoming a reactive responder

A blog post by Diana Kearns-Manolatos, senior manager, Center for Integrated Research, Deloitte Services LP

According to Deloitte’s annual 2021 Resilience study, 70% of CxOs surveyed don’t have confidence in their organization’s ability to pivot and adapt to disruptive events. In a world of constant and inevitable change, the most resilient organizations are prepared, adaptable, collaborative, trustworthy, and responsible. However, being able to pivot quickly while maintaining these characteristics requires having the right business operations, technology infrastructure, and workforce strategy in place to easily adjust, automate, and streamline work processes wherever possible.

Take the following fictional example. CEO Ana Pardo had to manage business and workforce operations in the face of a severe storm. Intelligent automation powered by the cloud was there to enable business continuity, redistribute work, and reroute customer service requests in response to fast-changing business needs. Her organization’s proactive, responsive infrastructure knew what controls were in place and what activity looked unusual—like the threat of a hacking collective striking during the storm. The cloud allowed her to innovate seamless, data-driven operations.

The cloud has an important role to play in this scenario focused on resilient operations and data-driven automation. We call this cloud innovation scenario the reactive responder. A focus for many CEOs, chief human resources officers (CHROs), and chief operating officers (COOs), this scenario will require organizations to prioritize data-driven internal operations over external experiences to achieve greater operational efficiencies.


Business and technology strategies for the reactive responder

The reactive responder’s cloud innovation strategy focuses on four key business outcomes.

  • proactive cybersecurity approach that uses intelligent automation to streamline cyber monitoring, threat detection, and remediation for improved business operations, enhanced business continuity, and optimized workforce experience
  • Data intelligence to support cloud-enabled intelligent automation and to streamline operations across the workforce ecosystem of internal and external individuals, as well as for technologies performing work
  • A digital-first approach to internal operations, with the knowledge of potential downstream benefits across external and omnichannel customer experience management, whether that’s an improved call center experience or enhanced customer trust from greater resilience
  • A keen focus on optimizing operations across the entire digital ecosystem

Given these business requirements, the reactive responder’s cloud innovation program would benefit from:

  • globally distributed operating model, allowing for greater agility across business lines, the workforce ecosystem, and geographies;
  • Being standards-aligned to allow the organization to deliver quickly through the use of templates while avoiding becoming overly standards-driven or slowed down by a dependency on any single technology library or language;
  • An agile development approach to quickly iterate on and release new products and as the organization works toward improved infrastructure resilience; and
  • cloud-captive approach that would allow the organization to bring as many solutions and as much infrastructure into the cloud as possible while remaining aware of unintended consequences (e.g., automation creating layers of complexity that are too difficult for humans to manage). Standards-aligned infrastructures could help here to generate insight and understanding related to the automation.

Innovating the future with the cloud

Importantly, the reactive responder is just one of many future cloud scenarios. While a priority for many organizations, there will be a number of other initiatives where the CIO, CTO, and chief cloud officer will be called upon to support business innovation. And, while becoming more agile, more responsive, and more secure should be a focus for every organization, finding complementary business priorities with aligning technical requirements can add value to the planning process.

To achieve this, a new framing for cloud innovation is needed to help organizations assess overlapping business drivers (IT operations, data, customer experience, and digital ecosystems) and similar technical requirements across various cloud programs to better align strategies and create economies of scale from investment, resource, and infrastructures created in service of those strategies.

To learn more about aligning your organization’s future cloud initiatives across business and technical requirements, visit our Deloitte Insights article, “A new framing for cloud innovation” or Deloitte On Cloud blog post “Four scenarios for cloud innovation,” and don’t miss our upcoming post, “Cloud innovation: Becoming an experience innovator.”

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David Linthicum

David Linthicum

Managing Director | Chief Cloud Strategy Officer

As the chief cloud strategy officer for Deloitte Consulting LLP, David is responsible for building innovative technologies that help clients operate more efficiently while delivering strategies that enable them to disrupt their markets. David is widely respected as a visionary in cloud computing—he was recently named the number one cloud influencer in a report by Apollo Research. For more than 20 years, he has inspired corporations and start-ups to innovate and use resources more productively. As the author of more than 13 books and 5,000 articles, David’s thought leadership has appeared in InfoWorld, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, NPR, Gigaom, and Prior to joining Deloitte, David served as senior vice president at Cloud Technology Partners, where he grew the practice into a major force in the cloud computing market. Previously, he led Blue Mountain Labs, helping organizations find value in cloud and other emerging technologies. He is a graduate of George Mason University.