What Does Implementing Cloud Innovation Involve?

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Shifting to a cloud-native architecture brings many benefits, but it’s not without its challenges. Switching to the cloud is a considerable undertaking that requires a good deal of expertise to get right — so it’s no wonder it causes businesses so much anxiety. 

While there’s a lot to consider before you make this move — including financial concerns, usability issues, deployment challenges, and your internal resources and capacity — some of that anxiety can be eased by working with a technology partner. 

A recent Tigera survey shows that 96% of businesses find one or more aspects of cloud security to be challenging.1 Despite that, Gartner estimates that by 2025, over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native applications.2 This goes to show that, in spite of the concerns, businesses are pushing towards a future of cloud-based technology.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the various stages of cloud innovation, what to expect, and how to ensure success. We’ll also take you through some examples of how Talk Think Do has helped organisations offer cloud-native applications. So, let’s dive in. 

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Understanding your organisation

Cloud innovation isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. To get the most out of cloud innovation, you need a deep understanding of your business and customers. Then you can build cloud-based applications that are tailored to both their and your needs. 

One of the best ways to approach this is by working with an external technology expert. Through a discovery session, they’ll help you understand not only the unique challenges you are facing but also the opportunities for improvement through cloud innovation. 

When it comes to big changes, internal stakeholders often have conflicting views on what needs doing and why. For example, a CTO might have different technical priorities than a CFO, whose job is to manage the budget. The right technology partner should be able to align internal stakeholders by giving expert advice that is independent and impartial. 

An expert will also be able to provide a comprehensive overview of what the project will entail, covering:

  • The overall scope of work, including timeframes and costs.
  • Any risks associated with implementing change.
  • The risks and requirements associated with compliance and security.
  • An overview of project dependencies.

Suggested reading: To understand more about why you need cloud-native applications, check out our blog about the signs legacy technology is holding back your growth.

How Talk Think Do improved efficiency at TfL: 

The challenge: Transport for London came up against an app production backlog due to technical issues and its existing IT governance processes, making them unable to adequately support the needs of Londoners.

The solution: By embedding a solutions architect within TfL’s discovery team, Talk Think Do helped them get to the heart of the issue, rapidly assess opportunities, and provide solutions, before playing a key role in their implementation and rollout. 

The result: TfL’s Mobile Programme was transformed, with a more streamlined process, an application for drivers of the Dial-a-Ride service for people with disabilities and rapid deployment of solutions. The effectiveness of the results came down to the thorough, streamlined discovery phase.

You can check out the full story here: Capturing Opportunities for Change at Transport for London.

Setting up a cloud innovation strategy

Once you have a deep understanding of your organisational challenges, capabilities, and goals, it’s time to talk strategy. 

While this typically involves assembling a team of relevant experts from across your organisation, you might find that you lack the internal resources and expertise to effectively map out the entire cloud innovation process. This is where external experts can help, as they can support your team through this journey. A strong team of experts would likely include:

  • A Solutions Architect
  • A Business Analyst
  • A Delivery Manager
  • A QA Analyst
  • A .Net Engineer
  • A Frontend Engineer
  • A Interaction Designer

Cloud innovation might be a novelty for many of your employees, but for cloud technology experts, it’s their bread and butter. By working with the right partner, you’ll set yourself up for success with a cloud strategy that is effective and thorough. 

In order to set up a cloud innovation strategy that really fits the needs of your business, you need to think about what your organisation will need from its applications in 2, 5, or even 10 years. How can applications that are being built today support the growth and scaling of your organisation in a rapidly-changing digital landscape? 

Deloitte summarises this effectively in a recent report, “In essence, organizations are looking to use the cloud to drive secure, data-driven innovation and advance key business initiatives, but they have a number of competing business priorities. Therefore, by taking an approach that considers business, technical, and financial priorities together, they can gain greater value from their cloud innovation strategies.”3

When setting up a strategy, it’s also a good idea to agree upon and implement a governance strategy framework that meets all your organisational requirements — another process that external experts can help with. 

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Keeping your needs at heart

An effective cloud computing strategy should focus on the unique needs of your organisation, ensuring that your cloud-based apps continue to fit your business as they grow and develop. 

Likewise, cloud implementation isn’t a one-off endeavour. The best cloud innovations follow an agile process and an iterative plan. Such plans must be able to support development and growth step-by-step, ensuring that your applications can scale seamlessly in line with your business. 

Agile cloud-based applications are key to the success of a business. According to TechUK, “A recent Workday study revealed the top-performing companies were 10 times more likely to react quickly to market shifts, proving that agility is more often than not synonymous with performance.”4

Enabling innovation with Explore Learning

The challenge: Explore Learning didn’t have the expertise in-house to develop their own software and were dependent on SaaS providers for key business systems, which no longer fitted their business needs. 

The solution: Enter Talk Think Do. We architected a cloud-native solution designed around Explore Learning’s unique requirements, allowing them to gain full access to their data and build a system that scales with demand. 

The results: Staff could be retained during lockdown, and the ‘fearless learning’ programme could continue to support families. Even post-lockdown, a third of clients continue to exclusively use the online offering while the remainder opt for a hybrid way of learning. This comes down to the cloud innovation strategy keeping Explore Learning’s priorities at heart throughout the process.

Read the full story here: Enabling Innovation with an Inside-Out Digital Transformation.

Signing off on the product

A good cloud innovation strategy should involve testing and feedback at each stage of an application’s development, ensuring that your cloud-based products are consistently exceeding customer expectations. 

You can do this through periodic test reports and user acceptance testing, which allows users to put your products to the test in real-world situations before you roll-out.

Through these processes, your delivery team should be able to demonstrate:

  • How your cloud-based applications work.
  • Whether they meet user expectations.
  • What — if anything — needs changing to make them market-ready. 

At Talk Think Do, we believe that collaboration is integral to the innovation process. That’s why we seek to work alongside internal delivery teams and the target user to pinpoint product-related needs, issues, and successes at each stage of development. 

Transitioning to live

Of all the stages of cloud-application development, transitioning a product to live is perhaps the most critical. This is a highly technical process, and the first thirty days post-go live are integral to the success of your application. Needless to say, a lot can go wrong. 

This is why the best external partners offer clients a period of ‘hypercare’ around and after a product’s launch. This extra level of support ensures that the application runs smoothly — and that all the hard work you put in to get to this point pays off. It also supports you in that initial teething period. Implementing new, cloud-native applications can be daunting, and learning from a team of experts can ensure you are able to take your applications forward and use them to their full potential.

Providing continued support

So now your cloud-based app is live, that’s job done, right? Well, not exactly. Continued monitoring and support are essential to ensure that your applications perform at their best while reducing risk and minimising downtime. 

This is where managed application support comes into play. After the hypercare period, opting into ongoing managed application support allows you to get the maximum benefit from your new applications, solve issues in real time, and make proactive modifications to boost performance. It carries that idea of agility forward, ensuring that as your business grows and scales your applications are regularly evaluated to make sure they’re meeting your needs. After all, if your applications stay stagnant while your organisation flourishes, they’ll just become legacy applications again in a few years’ time.

Talk Think Do takes the guesswork out of cloud innovation

Cloud application innovation is an incredibly specialist area of technology. Most businesses simply don’t have the resources or expertise in-house to make it a success, which means one of two things: they either avoid it altogether and miss out on the benefits, or they get it all wrong. Either way, this costs businesses dearly. 

If there’s one key takeaway from this article, it’s that when it comes to taking the plunge and committing to cloud innovation and application development, you need an expert partner that you can trust. And that’s where Talk Think Do can help.

We help businesses make technical decisions that enable growth, reduce risk, and drive innovation through cloud technologies. We do this through an agile process that follows these steps: 

  • Discovery: Defining your project in full.
  • Project initiation: Designing a governance framework that fits your business.
  • Evolutionary development: Outlining exactly what your business needs.
  • Product acceptance: Seeking your opinion and approval at all stages.
  • Transitioning to live: During this critical stage, we offer a 30-day hypercare period to ensure a successful launch.
  • Continual enhancements: Providing ongoing support to maximise benefits and reduce risks

Our experts guide you through each step of this journey, always with your business’s unique needs and goals as our guiding light. The result is all the benefits of a successful cloud transformation with none of the risk or hassle. 

So, if you’re considering moving to the cloud and need some support to realise your goals, get in touch with us today and book a consultation with one of our experts. 

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1  Report: 75% of companies are focusing on cloud-native apps | VentureBeat 

2  Gartner Says Cloud Will Be the Centerpiece of New Digital Experiences | Gartner 

3  A new framing for cloud innovation | Deloitte 

4  Cloud opens the door to a more agile future | TechUK 

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