Examples of agility outcomes
As discussed in the business outcomes overview, several potential business outcomes can serve as the foundation of any conversation with the business about its transformation journey. This article focuses on the timeliest business measure: business agility. Understanding your company's market position and competitive landscape can help you articulate business outcomes that are the target of the business's transformation journey.
Traditionally, a company's chief information officer (CIO) and IT team were considered the source of stability for the business's core, mission-critical processes. It's still true. A business usually doesn't function well if its IT platform is unstable. But in today's business world, much more is expected of IT. By partnering with the business, IT can expand beyond a simple cost center to provide market advantages. Many CIOs and executives assume that stability is simply a baseline for IT. For these leaders, business agility is the measure of IT's contribution to the business.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is an example of how an organization can meet and exceed its business objectives through cloud migration. The Academy used Azure and Visual Studio to migrate its legacy web applications to the cloud. Through cloud adoption, the Academy was able to innovate, increase efficiencies, and deliver new streaming applications to members in a rich, responsive, and cross-platform experience.
Why is agility so important?
Markets change at a faster pace today than ever before. In a 2016 study that looked at turnover rate in companies' Fortune 500 status, of the 500 companies that were on the Fortune 500 list in 1955, 61 years later, only 57 of those companies were still on the list. The turnover rate of 88.6 percent points to an unprecedented rate of market change. IT agility, or even business agility, is unlikely to affect an organization's listing in the Fortune 500, but these numbers help us understand the pace at which markets continue to change.
Both for upstarts and for established organizations, business agility can be the difference between success or failure in a business initiative. Quickly adapting to market changes can help a business ring-fence existing customers or claim market share from competitors. The agility-related outcomes in the following sections can help you articulate the value of migrating to the cloud in the transformation journey.
During cloud-enabled innovation efforts, time to market is a key measure of IT's ability to address market change. In many cases, a business leader might have an existing budget to create an application or launch a new product. Clearly communicating a time-to-market benefit can motivate that leader to redirect budget to the IT transformation journey.
Example 1: The European division of a US-based company needs to comply with data privacy regulations by protecting customer data in a database that supports UK operations. The company division's existing version of SQL Server doesn't support the row-level security that's required. An in-place upgrade would be too disruptive. Instead, the company uses Azure SQL Database to replicate and upgrade its customer database. It successfully adds the required compliance measure in a matter of weeks.
Example 2: A logistics company has discovered an untapped segment in the market. The company's largest competitor has made the same discovery. To capture the market share before its competitor, the logistics company needs a new version of its flagship application. By adopting cloud-enabled app innovation and a DevOps-driven development approach, the company embraces its customers' obsession and advances beyond its slower, legacy competitor time to market by months. Gaining time on market entrance secured the customer base for the company.
Example 3: In this example, a healthcare system transformed online services into a friendly digital experience. To transform its digital services, Aurora Health Care migrated its websites to the Microsoft Azure platform and adopted a strategy of continuous innovation.
Jamey Shiels, Vice President of Digital Experience at Aurora Health Care, reports that, "as a team, we're focused on high-quality solutions and speed. Choosing Azure was a very transformative decision for us."
Changes in a company's operational demands frequently create a need for new IT services or to scale existing services. It might take a company weeks to acquire and provision new hardware and virtual resources. After cloud migration, a company's IT team can use self-service provisioning to put the required resources in place in hours.
Example: To fulfill the operational demands of its business, a consumer packaged goods company needs to create and tear down hundreds of database clusters each year. On-premises virtual hosts can provision quickly, but the process of recovering virtual assets is slow and a strain on the team. Because of the time involved in the process, the on-premises environment suffers from wasted resources and seldom can keep up with the demand. After the company migrates its virtual assets to the cloud, its IT team can more easily manage resources through self-provisioning and scripts. The company also now uses a chargeback model for billing. Through cloud migration, the business can move as quickly as it needs to, but it can still be accountable for the cost of the resources it requires. In the cloud model, deployment is limited only by the business's budget.
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