- EuroCloud Deutschland_eco advises on 10 essential steps towards digital transformation
- The EuroCloud Guidelines “Cloud Project Marketing” offers support in making company cloud projects a success
Digitalization is a holistic change process that will continue to be a focus for years to come. It involves becoming more flexible and developing agility, designing new work models and new processes of value creation, as well as providing market and customer-oriented services of all kinds. An essential foundation for all of these strategically important topics is cloud computing. “All of the promising concepts of new digital value creation can only work with the use of cloud computing,” says Andreas Weiss, Director of EuroCloud Deutschland_eco. He emphasizes that “Often, it is not initially about very big groundbreaking changes, but rather about equipping companies for the challenges of the coming years through a process of modernization.” For this process, it is important to take note of a few basic principles:
Set clear goals
Formulate your strategy and describe in detail the required measures and the success factors, because if you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll never get there. Strategy – design – transformation – operation: This is the control loop, and checking and adjusting this is essential and ongoing.
Maintain your freedom of choice
Even if it seems complicated initially, use several cloud providers or choose IT service providers with a multi-cloud strategy to support you – avoiding a complete vendor lock-in should always be given priority. Keep an eye on the functional set of management interfaces for external configuration and monitoring. In every case, all cloud services used must be capable of reporting into centralized dashboards with well documented status and reporting features
Don’t make binary IT decisions
There is much discussion about whether you should choose a disruptive or an evolutionary strategy, but this is a very individual consideration. Hybrid forms combining classic IT and dynamic cloud services are seen by many to be a feasible path. However, you should avoid simply transferring what you already have into a new operative model. Cloud applications use quite different technologies, to be agile, performant and fail-safe. In the long term, most things will end up being migrated to the public cloud anyway.
Be service-oriented in your thinking
Free yourself of structures that are preset to existing software. Instead, have a very close look as what your (potential) customers need, and what services you really need in the company – that is the foundation principle of cloud computing. Free yourself from complexity, because in most cases, IT is not part of the core business.
Change your perspective
Get feedback to gain new perspectives on your existing processes and framework. For example, modern companies form partnerships between young new-comers and the management, in which the boss wants to learn from the junior staff member. Listen carefully to what the young talent expect from their work and take the feedback seriously. “Digital Natives” are already adjusted to life-long learning, and this is also necessary for you when it comes to digitalization.
Keep a close eye on cyber and system security
By now, everyone knows that most attacks from outside take place over the network connections – however, the greatest damage is caused when these attacks are combined with the negligence (through to criminal intent) of members of staff. View every sensitive system (regardless of whether it is on your own premises or in the cloud) as an attackable system, and secure it separately. Let go of the old thoughts solely about firewalls and hard perimeters, and instead think about Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) and use effective encryption wherever it’s possible.
Classify your processes and data according to risk
Define which areas engender high security and surveillance requirements and what data might cause significant problems (data protection, intellectual property, and customer liability, for example) in the case of deficient security. On this basis, determine the required level of protection – decide whether a locking system is sufficient for the doors in the data center hosting the cloud applications, or whether an alarm system and bullet-proof glass is necessary.
Test on the small scale
Begin with small teams and straight-forward projects. Do not change complete processes, unless the concept is completely resilient and the advantages have been worked out in detail – otherwise it would be like open-heart surgery.
Communicate your objectives
Project marketing is an important component, because not everyone likes change. Many cloud projects fail because of the defensive attitude of the staff members affected. So, plan for sufficient resources and involve all stakeholders in the process. Highlight the advantages of that change – you will only manage this if you familiarize yourself with the cloud and identify advocates in your company. The EuroCloud Guidelines “Cloud Project Marketing” offers you support in this area.
Ensure sufficient transparency
Many view cloud computing as a pure IT issue: Rather than operating servers and applications yourself, someone else now does it. But the consequences are much more far-reaching, because, among other things, aspects like data protection and compliance, general legal regulations and the protection of company secrets need to be considered. First and foremost, it is the users of cloud services that are obliged to fulfill the duty of care. If you don’t know where the data is stored, which service providers are involved and how the measures for secure operation are implemented and monitored, you will be in a difficult position if anything goes wrong. There is extensive support for orientation, for example through the Star Audit and the Initiative Trusted Cloud.