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Cloud Success: How to Measure It, to Maximize It

R_Christiansen

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By now, there can’t be many IT leaders who need a lot of convincing about the benefits of cloud computing. Adoption rates continue to surge1, and many cloud projects are making good on their promises of driving revenue growth, creating competitive advantage, and improving risk management. Those are three of the drivers we explored in a new survey (detailed in the article “Secrets of Cloud Leaders”) designed to identify the practices that define true cloud leaders – organizations that achieve the largest benefits from their cloud initiatives. We found big differences between these high performers and organizations that achieve lower returns, but even in the latter group around half of survey respondents were seeing results in revenue growth and competitive advantage (see the figure below).


CTP Cloud Survey.png

These are impressive results, and they raise a couple of questions in my mind. Given the breadth of the advantages, why do so many companies still focus almost exclusively on reducing TCO when they’re assessing cloud projects? And what other KPIs could they be using to get better optics on the returns?

I’m not sure I have a good answer to the first question, beyond saying that TCO is the traditional approach, most companies are comfortable with it, and it may be easier to calculate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’d want to downplay the operational cost savings, which can be considerable. But stopping there can be limiting. You’ve heard the old adage “if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.” In the case of cloud, I’d argue that if you don’t measure it along the right dimensions, you stand a good chance of missing the most significant benefits.

Are you innovating fast enough?

So how do you go about measuring a cloud project’s impact on revenue growth, or competitive advantage, or risk mitigation? I looked at that question in some depth in my article True Cloud Justification: Moving Beyond TCO Savings. I suggested, for example, that companies should put metrics around time to innovation. Cloud enables continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) and rapid code releases. That facilitates A/B testing to tailor options specifically to the needs and preferences of your clients or customers, which in turn drives revenue and operational profit. So some key KPIs for time to innovation might be:

  • The number of code releases your team produces in a given time period
  • The amount of rapid A/B testing per time period
  • Share of voice in marketplace related to new product releases and updates.

The first KPI could also be useful to show increased competitive agility. Let’s say a competitor releases a new app. With rapid code capabilities, a small team could write, develop and test a similar app quickly, without a massive upfront investment, and scale up if necessary within a matter of hours. The same metric could also validate improved risk mitigation, for example through the ability to eliminate software bugs much faster than is possible with a traditional on-prem methodology.

Time to innovation is one of four clusters of KPIs that I describe in the article– the others are maturity of the enterprise; spend transparency; and talent of the team. Taken together, these metrics redefine cloud success. Master them, and you’ll maximize your chances of getting funded for cloud projects every single time.

Learn how HPE can help you unleash speed and reduce complexity through Hybrid IT with Cloud.

Meet us in Vegas

Want to learn more, in person? At HPE Discover, I’ll be presenting more on this topic Wednesday, June 20th from 4:30pm -6pm. Register for “Doppler Live: Navigating the Risks and Challenges of Public Cloud Transformation” now.

Related Sessions and Demos:

  • SL5223: “Innovating for the Hybrid Cloud -- Speed and complexity never go hand in hand. This is the dilemma facing IT today. We need to be faster alongside the rise in complexity, on- and off-premises. Join Ana Pinczuk, SVP & GM HPE Pointnext, as she tackles this conundrum head on with new solution announcements, new partnerships and new consumption models from HPE. The future of hybrid has never looked so clear.
  • Demo603: “Helping you define your right mix of cloud, traditional, and edge services in a “sweet” way”: You need the right mix of cloud, traditional and edge services to be successful. In this fun (and tasty) demo, we will provide a simple yet powerful way for you to choose the right mix for your organization, providing the control and flexibility necessary to accelerate your organization's transformation to a digital business.
  • B5007:How Cloud Technology Partners, an HPE company, delivers on the public cloud, done right and on your terms -- Learn from our experts about good vs. bad "cyber" hygiene, common pitfalls and missteps and security and compliance issues. Imagine a world in which you have control, using cloud-native tools, with automation, pre-built controls (1000+ controls), integrated cost management, yet scalable. CTP, working with HPE Pointnext, helps assess your current state and advise you on best practices, or it can take responsibility on your behalf. How would you like your cloud delivered? Experience these capabilities first-hand.HPE Discover LV Blog Banner.JPG

     

 1. See for example this Forbes Roundup of Cloud Computing Forecasts


Robert Christiansen
VP Global Cloud Delivery for Cloud Technology Partners
an Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

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About the Author

R_Christiansen

Robert Christiansen, VP of Global Cloud Delivery at Cloud Technology Partners (CTP), an HPE company, is a cloud technology leader, best-selling author, mentor and speaker.

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