Creating a competitive edge with a cloud maturity strategy

Organisations are moving to the cloud every day to improve efficiency and drive economic growth.

According to Gartner, the global spend on public cloud will reach $600 billion next year.

While cloud migration is clearly kicking up a gear, companies are still struggling to ensure that their teams are fully cloud literate. Pluralsight’s 2022 State of Cloud report revealed that while 75% of tech leaders say they’re building new products and features in the cloud, only 8% of technologists have extensive cloud-related skills needed to deliver on this ambition.

This lack of capability prevents companies from truly realising the benefits of cloud adoption, meaning that their return on investment always be lower than it could be. To address this and optimise their cloud investment, businesses must think beyond simple adoption and start focusing on maturity. And to do this effectively, companies are going to have to encourage their employees to develop their cloud skills to reach the end goals.

Cloud computing is a key technology for businesses

We can all understand the appeal of the cloud and why it has been steadily gaining popularity over on-premises solutions. The most compelling advantages of flexibility, scalability, and improved speed to market are hard to resist. Indeed, our State of Cloud report showed that 75% of firms are now defaulting to cloud over on-prem.

Investing in cloud computing can also reduce the manpower needed by decoupling the cloud software—computing, storage, and network resources—from hardware. That means technologists no longer have to manage hardware as they do with a more traditional infrastructure set-up. This has major advantageous for increasing efficiency and productivity in the engineering team.

Though most organisations have adopted cloud in some way, very few have actually optimised their cloud spend. 94% of enterprises are overspending on the cloud due to resource issues and a lack of skills to make full use of their newly acquired infrastructure.

Advancing your cloud strategy beyond adoption

Cloud maturity refers to the extent to which cloud governance and development is improved within an organisation, allowing for scalability and alignment with business objectives.

Cloud maturity can be categorised at five different levels:

Level 1: No Cloud– Organisations use solely on-prem solutions and have not adopted cloud technologies.

Level 2: Ad Hoc Cloud– Organisations may be exploring cloud solutions, but have made no meaningful shift towards cloud adoption or governance.

Level 3: Cloud Default– Businesses have clear cloud governance and a documented approach for cloud operations that they always, or almost always follow.

Level 4: Cloud Native– Businesses proactively deploy and manage cloud infrastructure that enables improvements in capabilities across the organisation.

Level 5: Cloud Enabled– Organisations use strategic cloud governance and development to enable core business capabilities, including optimal business continuity and rapid scalability of security.

The State of Cloud report showed that less than half of organisations rated themselves as having a high level of cloud maturity, falling at levels 4 and 5 on the above scale.

It is key for businesses to understand the importance of cloud maturity and focus on increasing their capabilities. To become a cloud mature organisation, businesses must design cloud strategies that improve speed and business value, use containers and serverless technology to work towards cloud native, and enable hybrid architectures with distributed cloud.

Even though so few technologists feel well-versed in cloud technologies, internal upskilling ranks relatively low on the list of actions taken towards cloud maturity. Only 37% of companies focus on upskilling their internal workforce in private and public cloud. This then has a detrimental knock-on effect with human error continuing to dominate as the leading cause of cloud security failure.

Cloud maturity goes hand in hand with competitiveness

Companies cannot become cloud mature overnight. Cloud maturity involves a strategic effort from all levels of the businesses to look carefully at cloud spend, mitigate cloud-related risks, and upskill workers in cloud technologies.

Those that manage to achieve a high level of cloud maturity remain much more competitive than firms that stop at merely adopting cloud technologies. According to McKinsey, Fortune 500 companies could earn more than $1 trillion dollars by 2030 as a result of cloud adoption and optimisation.

Deutsche Bank recognised that in order to keep up with the future of banking and remain competitive, it needed to become more cloud mature. They started providing their technologists with the resources and training to become cloud fluent, able to build new solutions in the cloud from the ground up. This focus on upskilling helped the bank create a pipeline of cloud talent from within, which resulted in more innovative solutions being brought to market.

Cloud maturity is essential to a company’s success – but first leaders need to make sure their employees are equipped with the skills required to solve security issues. Only then will businesses be ready to implement the right strategies to maximise their return on investment and realise the full potential of cloud computing.

About the Author

Drew Firment is Vice President of Enterprise Strategies at Pluralsight. Pluralsight is advancing the world’s technology workforce. And we’re here to give you and your tech teams the skills and insights to thrive.

Featured image: ©Lakee MNP