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NTT DATA 2020 Predictions: Cloud Adoption Across the Enterprise

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Emily Lewis-Pinnell, VP, Cloud & Application Transformation, NTT DATA

Cloud Adoption Across the Enterprise

The rapid growth of cloud has been a sizeable force in the industry for over a decade now, but the unrelenting pace of growth has recently run against a century-old wall: the slow pace of change across a larger organization.   

It has been several years since organizations jumped into the cloud market and proven successes abound, with cloud-native DevOps teams running critical apps, C-suite executives touting their success with AWS, Azure, and GCP, and a multitude of case studies encouraging others to follow their lead. Yet even within well-known cloud adopters, wide-scale transformation making appropriate use of agile cloud-native capabilities across the entire IT landscape remains a challenge.  

Driving change across a large organization can often feel like turning a freighter and requires care and planning not required for a smaller company. In 2020, expect expanded attention to addressing issues in changing people, processes and culture, to enable successful technology adoption. 

The Rate of Change Isn't Slowing Down

The rate of innovation across the tech industry continues to unlock benefits as new services, tools, and technologies introduce innovative opportunities to drive value to the business. Yet the ability to adopt constantly evolving technology is a real challenge for larger organizations, which must maintain alignment and scale approaches across a larger number of people.

Organizations often correctly start down the path of proof of concept (PoC) with specialized teams to explore several cloud use cases, which then leads to a transformation plan. Alternatively, many are leveraging greenfield applications, which can be created by using modern architectures to scale more easily based on design. However, at this point, someone often questions if they should consider another tool they are hearing about from their peers. Then, after a few months, another rising technology is suggested. This need to remain competitive and deliver new features to end users is hampering transformation rather than driving it, because corporate churn is being placed over strategic decisions.

Leaders must avoid this continuous loop of planning paralysis, as tradeoffs between cloud providers, use of containers versus cloud native, architectures and methodologies are endlessly debated, with new options appearing each round. Two years later, organizations have often made no meaningful progress.

The fear of missing out on the next big thing is justified, but that leaders cannot allow that to paralyze their organization, because the rate of change will not slow down in 2020 and beyond. Expecting a pause in the industry that allows you to gather all the necessary information and make a decision is unrealistic. Leaders must avoid analysis paralysis for a successful cloud transformation. As pilots perform well, don't be afraid to scale, with an expectation that change will continue to evolve over time.  

The Common Pitfall

Making a decision on rolling out new technology across an IT ecosystem can be a difficult decision, but even when leaders are willing to make their bet, they often stagnate on perceived challenges around change management. In 2020, people and processes will be the largest threat to enterprise transformation.

Leaders spend numerous quarters and even fiscal years debating cloud strategy and the technical logistics, but when it is time to implement a new idea across the enterprise, projects come to a screeching halt for fear of disruption - for both employees and processes.

So, you had a successful PoC and have specialized teams in place - now what? Adopting a culture of change is critical in any digital transformation. Doing so requires addressing the real challenges in changing how people, processes, and culture work across the organization, and companies that continue to make this an afterthought will not be successful.

Employee training and reskilling is a priority, but first, leaders must think through how roles will change, and how the corporate DNA must evolve to become more nimble. As technology changes how we work, organizations need to be flexible, agile and able to change. Significant thought and planning is required to galvanize the organization and evolve to an ability to manage ongoing change.

2020 Expectation

Technology will continue to move forward rapidly, leaving many companies and indecisive leaders in its wake. Decision-makers must be willing to make bets and be more decisive to lead their organization into the new decade. There isn't an opportunity to wait until everything has been sorted out. Be flexible with your transformation strategy and plan from the start to support ongoing adjustment to incorporate new technologies and ideas later.

Moreover, before you plan a cloud strategy, don't forget how it will affect your organization. People and processes need to be the start of your transformation rather than an afterthought. Without this, cloud adoption will suffer.

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About the Author

Emily Lewis-Pinnell 

Emily Lewis-Pinnell is the VP of Cloud & Application Transformation for NTT DATA, a top 10 global IT services provider. As part of the company's Chief Digital Office, Emily is responsible for the Journey to the Cloud portfolio of services focused on driving new value for clients through cloud transformation, application development and modernization, and digital enterprise application services. Emily has 20 years of IT industry experience in software development, operations, marketing, corporate strategy, portfolio management and sales. In that time, Emily has worked with hundreds of clients across a broad range of platforms, technologies, and tools, helping them transform their IT environments and successfully plan, migrate, and manage their businesses in the cloud. Emily has a BS in Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Published Wednesday, January 15, 2020 7:24 AM by David Marshall
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