As a manufacturer, you’re aware of the advantages that cloud technology can bring, such as streamlining back-office operations, optimising production, and gaining a competitive edge through enhanced product development.
Despite these benefits, convincing the senior leadership team to invest in cloud platforms can be a hurdle for many manufacturers. Past experiences of failed IT transformation projects, often accompanied by substantial capital expenses, have left executives cautious. However, the landscape has evolved, and cloud technology solutions now offer customisable options tailored to the specific needs of manufacturers, mitigating many of the risks associated with such investments.
In this Sage article, we’ll guide you through the process of persuading your senior management to embrace a cloud strategy that accelerates business growth.
Topics covered include:
- Addressing the challenge of leadership buy-in for cloud solutions
- Constructing a robust business case for business solutions
- Implementing change on a smaller scale
- Identifying key performance indicators
- Expanding cloud technology deployment
- Communicating outcomes to the leadership team
- Final reflections on the benefits of cloud technology adoption
Addressing the challenge of leadership buy-in for cloud solutions
Traditionally, the quickest way to persuade leaders to make investments is by highlighting potential financial savings. However, that’s a risky strategy with cloud transformation projects, because in the first five years, you may not be able to deliver any significant cost reductions. You may even see costs go up initially as you start migrating systems, training employees, learning lessons, and re-configuring your solutions to work in the cloud.
Other executives may be concerned about possible company disruption, data loss, security concerns, and internal resource commitment to the project.
It’s vital you address all these concerns early on, by positioning the adoption of cloud technology as a long-term strategy, rather than a short-term gain. It’s critical that you allay these worries right now by framing the use of cloud computing as a long-term plan rather than a means to an immediate financial gain.
Adopt a thorough approach to project planning to reassure leaders. And maximum transparency and communication, and report on results and insights on a frequent basis, so everyone is informed.
Constructing a robust business case for business solutions
When it comes to developing a business case for making the move to cloud technology, it’s best to focus on four main benefits: agility, efficiency, business growth and future proofing. We go into more detail on this below:
Being on the cloud will enable your company or organisation to operate more quickly, accomplish more, and—most importantly—outperform its rivals.
You can save time and money by outsourcing the management of data centres, and associated routine IT maintenance work, such as support, patching and configuration to a third party.
This means your IT team can save hundreds of hours per year on server configuration time alone, with a new focus on value-add activity without needing to increase headcount.
Running on a cloud platform could save your team time as well as adding flexibility and potential. The net result is that without needing to increase headcount, your team will be able to do more that directly benefits the business.
Grow your business by freeing up time spent on manual, repetitive, low-value transactions to refocus on operational efficiencies, competitive differentiation and implementing new technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and machine learning.
One such example might be to adopt business management software that runs in the cloud, so you can manage the likes of your supply chain and finances effectively no matter where you are.
Meanwhile, AWS and Microsoft, for example, build infrastructure platforms, manage database engines, and application platforms that enable businesses to write code, deploy it and start feeling benefits immediately.
Businesses traditionally invested in infrastructure as a capital cost, incurring significant pressure in making the right decisions that will provide a good return on investment. However, the rise of cloud technology introduces a subscription-based or operating cost model. This offers flexibility, granting a competitive edge over competitors locked into restrictive approaches.
Shifting from a capital cost to operating costs has enabled quick adaptation, efficient resource utilisation, and staying ahead in a dynamic marketplace.
Implementing change on a smaller scale
In terms of delivery, some organisations have opted to pilot their move to the cloud with an aspect of business that is important but not critical. This way, you can achieve early success stories and momentum, while establishing team communications, issues resolution and processes.
With a framework in place, you can apply experience – and iterate the process – across more strategic aspects of business.
It’s often best to leave more complicated, older products and legacy software pieces until later because they’re trickier to get on to the cloud.
Identifying key performance indicators
As one of the world’s largest providers of cloud services, AWS offers a lot of free advice around best practices for designing and running workloads in the cloud.
It’s devised a five-point guide to measure how well your architecture aligns with cloud best practice. These are:
- Operational excellence: How to run and monitor systems and continually improve processes to deliver business value. Topics include automating changes, responding to events, and defining standards to manage daily operations.
- Security: What steps you can take to protect data, security and systems.
- Reliability: How you can spot hitches, adapt and resolve any issues to ensure systems and products do what they’re supposed to do, when they’re supposed to do it.
- Performance efficiency: How to use IT and computing resources efficiently – including how to get the best value from cloud services.
- Cost optimisation: Avoid unnecessary cost by understanding, analysing and controlling spend.
Expanding cloud technology deployment
Once you’ve taken started moving services and products to the cloud, think about the best way to build momentum.
There are six ways to move an on-premise application to the cloud, known as ‘the 6Rs’. Which of these you choose will vary, depending on which migration journey is best-suited to which product:
- Rehost: Also known as ‘lift and shift’, means moving applications straight to the cloud more or less exactly as they are.
- Re-platform: Changing some components but leaving products pretty much as they are.
- Re-purchase: Replacing the application entirely with cloud services. An example might be discontinuing the licence for an on-premises ERP (enterprise resource planning software) system and using the same system as a service in the cloud.
- Re-architect: Fundamentally change how the software works or replace parts of it.
- Retain: Leave a product as it is if it’s just too complicated to move on to the cloud or would not realise significant time or agility savings.
- Retire: Switch off a particular on-premises product and transfer its functionality to a different cloud-based product or system.
Communicating outcomes to the leadership team
Once you’ve seen some early wins from moving certain operational units to the cloud, you’ll be in a stronger position to share results and measures with your leadership team. With real data at your fingertips, you can open up a more informed conversation about potential improvements for the future.
Final reflections on the benefits of cloud technology adoption
As you reflect on the myriad benefits of adopting cloud technology, it becomes crucial to convince the C-suite that this transition goes beyond a mere technological activity—it is a catalyst for driving business growth and profitability. To achieve this, enlisting the support of a trusted implementation partner is essential.
Xplor, a reputable Sage business partner specialising in enterprise software such as Sage Intacct, is the ideal partner to facilitate the implementation of cloud software for your manufacturing business. By collaborating with us, you gain a partner with deep expertise and experience in delivering successful cloud technology projects.
Effectively communicating project goals to all stakeholders within your organisation is paramount. Xplor can assist in this process, ensuring that every team member, at all levels, comprehends the transformative impact of cloud technology and embraces a more agile way of working. By fostering a culture of agility, your manufacturing business can seize opportunities and reap the rewards of embracing cloud technology.
If you would like to find out more about cloud solutions contact our team