Posted: 10 Jun. 2021 5 min. read

Four business scenarios for cloud innovation

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

In an environment where organizations constantly need to innovate, evolve and change, digital enterprises have proven their capacity to drive financial value and competitive advantage. While many technologies will be part of a company’s digital strategy, the cloud will almost certainly be one of them.

Cloud technology is the de facto computing standard to store and process information and power enterprise and distributed solutions, but as organizations look to innovate and change, there will be competing business priorities to align and equally important technical considerations to take into account. If a CIO can understand potential overlaps in business and technical requirements across various cloud innovation programs, the organization can gain greater economies of scale from its cloud investment and speed innovation programs.

Assess relevant business and technical factors with potential areas of overlap

On the business side, there are several areas where organizations are using cloud to support innovation programs, including:

  • IT operations – Business applications are moved to the cloud to create more resilient and secure solutions that support the organization and its workforce. Business innovation strategies using cloud to drive this desired outcome may focus on business continuity, remote workforce management, proactive cybersecurity and governance, and more.
  • Data strategy – Organizations use the cloud to support a range of data analysis and computing strategies that power innovative solutions. These strategies may focus on data consolidation, data analytics, data intelligence and machine learning, and data at the “intelligent edge.”
  • Customer experience management Another key priority is the customer experience and how cloud technology can help to innovate it. These strategies may focus on frictionless agile experience management, omnichannel strategies, personalized and virtual experiences, and the spatial web.
  • Platforms and ecosystems Digital and innovation programs can use cloud to support enterprise platform strategies, connected digital supply chains, ecosystem strategies, and networked solutions.

Each of these business requirements will have corresponding technical considerations in terms of operating model, standards, legacy versus agile infrastructure requirements, cloud strategy (whether single- or multicloud), and the extent to which the organization aims to be cloud-captive. As organizations understand and assess business requirements across multiple programs, they can consider overlapping technical requirements in these areas to gain economies of scale related to their cloud investments.

In our recent Deloitte Insights analysis, “A new framing for cloud innovation,” we look at these business and technical factors to envision four likely scenarios for the future of cloud innovation to plan for in the next three to five years. They are based on existing trends in workforce and customer operational strategies and maturity data needs across global organizations. These scenarios are as follows:

  • Reactive responders have their primary focus on optimizing their operating infrastructure to achieve greater resilience and integrity across the solutions that run the organization. These systems are mostly internal, supporting business continuity and the workforce, with the understanding that they can also have customer impact in areas such as call center operations, data privacy, and more.
  • Experience innovators are focused on enhancing product and marketing solutions and creating unique, engaging, personalized, and targeted customer experiences. These organizations have robust customer-centric strategies, as opposed to a more balanced treatment of stakeholders of all types. Cloud innovation is directed at powering a range of experiences that could include anything from mobile applications to virtual and augmented reality or even the spatial web.
  • Proactive data defenders aim to use proactive cybersecurity and governance as a competitive differentiator and a way to create resilient operations and workforce, as well as customer experiences that build trust. This organization would have a higher level of data maturity not just to automate, but also to predict threats and proactively self-heal to prevent them.
  • AI-fueled entrepreneurs look to bring together mature workforce and customer operational strategies, as well as mature data solutions, to implement “AI everywhere” across the organization. This is a strategic imperative for many companies, and there is an opportunity to bring together cloud and AI through cloud ML solutions to optimize this journey. 

As organizations look to advance one or more of these programs, an aligned business and technical framework and the lens of scenario planning can help them better understand their business drivers, technical choices, and financial implications to create a coordinated cloud strategy and investment.

To learn more about our research into this topic, the framework, and these four scenarios, visit our Deloitte Insights article, “A new framing for cloud innovation" or Deloitte On Cloud blog post, “Cloud innovation: Becoming a reactive responder.”

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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.