4 best practices for strategically maximizing the ROI of cloud migrations

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By James Isaacs, President of Saira,

Throughout the epidemic, many enterprises have moved IT systems to the cloud as part of their digital transformation efforts to optimize remote operations, increase flexibility and scale more efficiently. However, a new survey of business executives and IT leaders from around the world found that digital transformation efforts, such as cloud migration, are typically four to five months behind schedule. This is largely due to enterprises failing to clearly identify executive responsibility for overseeing digital initiatives.

IT and business leaders also disagreed on the level of success achieved by digital transformation programs – 90% of business leaders outside of IT consider the initiative a success, while only 35% of managers do. So, to make the most impact with available resources, which cloud initiative offers the highest return on investment (ROI)?

The answer to this is important for enterprise leaders who are strategically prioritizing to deliver the best results and provide high-quality digital experiences to their end customers.

Improving customer experience (CX) by just one point could increase revenue by up to $ 1 billion, Forrester said. Given this potential level of influence, organizations should think critically when planning their digital initiatives for 2022. Business leaders should think ahead and devise strategies to maximize the ROI of cloud solutions to achieve their digital transformation goals.

Below are four best practices for achieving maximum ROI for cloud-based operations.

1. Choose a clear leader for digital transformation and cloud migration

Responsibility for leading digital transformation efforts generally falls on a number of roles in the organization. As a result, many companies lack proprietary clear swim lanes for digital transformation. In the survey, 37% identified the CTO or CIO, 28% pointed to the IT leader, 23% said CEO, and 10% referred to other C-Suite leadership members.

Therefore, it is important that organizations identify the one executive responsible for running the digital transformation initiative and coordinate with the rest of the teams to ensure that the various parts are moving accordingly. This leader should have a digital transformation task force to support them in these initiatives and keep the rest of the organization on track, so that they do not fall in the face of competitive priorities.

Using this approach during cloud migration, responsibility is clear and digital transformation remains a constant priority despite external circumstances, which will significantly benefit the company in the long run.

2. Make sure your organization has sufficient resources for cloud migration on a scale

While there are many unavoidable benefits to the transition to the cloud, many companies have been halted due to concerns about security, costs, system integration, management of legacy infrastructure, and inertia of leadership.

In a survey of IT leaders and business executives, only 7% confirmed that their IT teams have all the resources needed to meet the digital transformation goals and deadlines. This means that 93% believe that their IT teams lack adequate resources. Therefore, not only do IT workers feel overwhelmed and under-supported implementing digital transformation projects, but business leaders also recognize this.

It is clear that a successful digital transformation initiative requires the right resources and budget. To avoid delays or budget overruns in cloud transitions, it is best to conduct an in-depth audit ahead of time to ensure that the organization’s budget and IT resources are aligned with the cloud migration plan. This proactive approach will help prevent any surprises and increase the chances of success for change.

3. Prioritize investing in the cloud for the most lucrative business operations

According to a global report by Dimension Data, 81% of people say that moving to the cloud has improved the flexibility of their organization and 77% of people say that it contributes to the future proofing of their technology infrastructure.

That said, moving all operations to the cloud is not an easy achievement – it is a major undertaking for companies of all sizes. Also, for many enterprise companies that want to take advantage of technology, the connection between cloud strategy and financial returns is often broken. Without a well-defined cloud strategy, ventures can fall into a common trap that prevents them from reaching their intended goals.

To achieve a clearly defined strategy and achieve maximum results, enterprises should prioritize investing in cloud migration for the business operations that have the most direct impact on the company’s revenue. These include processes that interact directly with customers and affect sales, such as sales and customer support. For example, moving contact centers to the cloud adds value and enables an enterprise to collect data and analytics about customers in a single system, rather than separate systems that do not communicate with each other.

Cloud-hosted systems increase the flexibility of contact centers and give CX teams quick access to new features and capabilities. In addition, the cloud enables contact centers to collect accurate, real-time customer data that helps the company provide better CX and enables business leaders to make better informed decisions. In turn, this benefits the customer, increases satisfaction and increases profitability.

4. Align the expectations of your teams

Despite reports that IT leaders and business executives place equal importance on digital transformation, the standards used by IT leaders, managers, and executives to evaluate the success of digital transformation may differ greatly. In fact, declining seniority-level executives reduces the success rate of digital transformation efforts.

For example, of the 98% who reported a successful digital transformation, 90% of business owners described the digital transformation initiative as “very successful.” At the same time, only 35% of managers reported similar satisfaction. The survey found that in general, senior executives consider these initiatives to be successful and those who are further down in the organization do not. This data explains why it is so important to make sure your teams’ digital transformation expectations are aligned.

To ensure teams are aligned before embarking on cloud migration projects, it’s important to set and agree on a benchmark for where your organization is currently on its digital transformation journey. From there, the team can determine the scale of the project and what results can be achieved realistically by modernizing specific key processes. The best practice is to set both short-term and long-term goals, such as improving the speed of customer response by X% with the newly updated Cloud-Based Contact Center.

This level of alignment on how to measure the success of digital transformation initiatives will help prevent roadblocks. And it will also increase the likelihood that both business owners and managers will be satisfied with the outcome of the change.

Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination

Even with all these best practices, migrating to the cloud is never a one-and-a-half initiative, but it makes it easier and faster to constantly update your systems and processes. As we begin in 2022, enterprise leaders must plan accordingly and decide how to strategically increase the ROI of cloud migration to achieve their digital transformation goals.

To increase the ROI of cloud migration, business and IT leaders need to collaborate early on in planning digital transformation projects to align on priority processes, key performance indicators (KPIs), targets and investment strategies. Throughout the transition, business leaders should regularly connect with IT about the status of each digital transformation project. This clear line of communication provides a vision of the success of digital transformation across the organization and enables teams to adjust timelines and strategies to accomplish digital transformation goals.

James Isaac is the president of Sierra

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