By Sandy Khoury and Bryant Robinson
Sources say that the energy Cloud market is expected to grow by approximately $10 billion in 2021. Today, more and more companies are embarking on their digital transformation journey which entails migrating systems and applications to the Cloud for benefits such as increased scalability, enhanced disaster recovery and optimized capacity during heavy usage in storm scenarios. The utilities industry has traditionally taken a more conservative approach when it comes to embracing technologies and transformations. However, recent trends in the industry, from increased competition, regulatory changes, and evolving customer expectations, have increased utility companies’ response to embracing digitization.
The value proposition of moving to the Cloud depends on a multitude of factors. This includes the utility company’s strategic initiatives in the short and long-run, business drivers, regulations, and risk appetite. In addition, the type of Utility whether regulated, non-regulated, public or investor owned, or co-op can shape the Cloud strategy and value proposition.
There is no shortage of business and technological drivers as to why a company would migrate its applications and processes to the Cloud. From Sendero’s experience, the same drivers that may lead one company towards the Cloud could be the very thing that would deter another company, with a similar profile, away from Cloud migration.
There is no shortage of business and technological drivers as to why a company would migrate its applications and processes to the Cloud.
Shaping a Cloud Strategy
When defining and shaping the Cloud strategy and roadmap to delivery, it is imperative to complete an assessment of the technology environment. This includes taking a deep dive into the current operating systems and applications and looking into what aspects of the environment are Cloud candidates while taking into consideration each system’s unique requirements and pain points. In addition, it is important to work with key stakeholders to identify the value of moving to the Cloud and determine the main drivers for migrating to Cloud. Examples of those main drivers include:
- Disaster Recovery improvements
- Infrastructure agility
- Capacity Optimizations
- Cost reduction
In addition to identifying the drivers, it is also important to identify any barriers that will inhibit a successful Cloud transformation. Example barriers include:
- Regulatory and Cyber Security concerns
- Previous negative Cloud experience
- Desire for control of applications and associated data
Further, for a successful cloud migration to take place, the team needs to also identify risks that need to be addressed to ensure a smooth and seamless migration. Potential risks include:
- Ensuring continuous availability of the application with minimal downtime to the end users
- Providing end users with a similar experience when using the migrated application
By understanding the barriers and drivers and mitigating for risks, Sendero can help shape a Cloud roadmap, design a future-state operating model, identify applications to target for a Cloud migration and develop a migration plan with measurable results.
Focusing on the “Why” instead of the “What”
When embarking on the Cloud transformation journey, here are some recommendations to ensure success:
1. Identify and engage your change champions: Recognize personnel that are passionate and believe in the Cloud transformation journey. Engage with them early on as they will be instrumental in advocating for a Cloud transformation and in promoting the change from within the organization.
2. Define your strategic initiatives: Understand your organization’s goals and vision and how a Cloud transformation helps achieve them. Map out the Cloud initiatives required and how these initiatives tie into the overall goals.
3. Identify the business drivers: Recognize the key components and activities that are required to ensure a successful Cloud migration. Ensure they are tracked and monitored.
4. Define your Cloud roadmap: Map out the plan, steps, and milestones required to ensure a successful Cloud transformation. Communicate the plan and ensure all key stakeholders are aligned.
In short, there is no magic formula that can be used to make the case for moving to the Cloud. The value proposition looks very different depending on the company’s profile, risk appetite, strategy, and regulations. Utilities need to focus more on why they would make the transition to the Cloud and defining the value proposition that makes sense to them.
Utilities need to focus more on why they would make the transition to the Cloud and defining the value proposition that makes sense to them.