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Cloud Transformation Must Build A Live Enterprise: Dinesh Rao

Organisations are steadily moving towards cloud adoption. A McKinsey report indicates a trillion-dollar business value opportunity in this realm. To understand how businesses can adopt a successful cloud-first strategy, BW Businessworld caught up with Dinesh Rao, Executive Vice President and Co-Head of Delivery, Infosys. Excerpts of a conversation with Jyotsna Sharma:

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How has the cloud brought about new digital experiences?

Cloud has emerged as a key enabler for differentiated digital experiences. The cloud ecosystem provides all the right constituents for digital experience by providing platforms for web-scale and mobile-first applications, innovative product offerings, multi-touchpoint capabilities, social media engagement, AI-led personalization, payment services, and more. 

If you look at it from an Industry perspective, Retailers can offer enhanced multi-channel customer experience because the cloud can keep cross-channel data in sync and add a layer of intelligence with AI. Similarly, In the Telecom space, service providers can couple the massive compute and AI capabilities of the cloud with 5G’s faster speed and superior performance to deliver immersive and engaging value-added services. 

Adopting a cloud-first strategy is a big step for any business. What are your views on the matter? 
Although it is undoubtedly a big step, a cloud-first strategy is indispensable in today’s business. It’s extremely important that the cloud-first strategy aligns with the business strategy of the organization and aids the achievement of business goals. The strategy needs to balance and harmonize the needs of all the stakeholders across business and IT and enable the continuous evolution of the enterprise towards becoming more data-driven, innovative, and agile. Successful execution requires clear focus, investments in reskilling workforce, and cloud technology adoption - to break down data silos thereby enabling superlative experiences, innovation, and competitive differentiation. 

How can businesses prepare for a cloud-first approach?
A successful cloud-first transformation needs CXO sponsorship and a clear understanding of its ROI and how it will impact the digital strategy and operational aspects. Organizations need to chart out a clear cloud-first migration roadmap comprising of business processes, operating models, and data. At the same time, they should invest in building solutions, architecture patterns, prepare for automation and bring in a culture of data and AI-driven decisions.

An incremental approach and a fail-fast mindset are essential for adding foundational capabilities such as integration, API-led approach, DevOps, and security. Cloud transformation must build a ‘live enterprise’, an organization that is learning and adapting continuously at speed.

What is the scope of cloud service models in HR and supply chain transformations?
In the HR and Supply Chain space, a combination of SaaS and PaaS models is frequently applied. Most of the well-established ERP vendors have come out with cloud-native package offerings as well as migration paths for their established customers. A new generation of cloud-native SaaS operators has emerged with HRM and supply chain cloud offerings that offer compelling capabilities around experience, operations, and analytics-driven transformation. Enterprises can leverage the best of breed packages on the cloud, as well as create differentiating capabilities around them by leveraging PaaS for cloud-native applications and integration.

By leveraging these capabilities, on the HR side, organizations can provide enhanced employee experience, better engagement, and a collaborative, inclusive environment for multi-locational talent. On the supply chain side, organizations can achieve real-time visibility and traceability, demand sensing and forecasting, and thereby build a resilient supply chain network.

What are the aspects businesses should keep in mind for a combination of cloud-first approach and cybersecurity aspects?
Security needs to be seen as a foundational capability that underpins all cloud initiatives. For this, the organizations need to integrate a well-formulated cybersecurity strategy as part of Cloud-First and focus on building a culture of “secure-by-design” amongst the workforce. 

The integrated strategy ensures security architecture and governance as part of the cloud foundation. While the hyper scalers are providing solutions to complex security requirements, cybersecurity remains a shared responsibility of cloud consumers and cloud providers and hence enterprises should implement robust security architecture and design choices, access controls, compliance, and frameworks as part of their cloud-first foundation.

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Dinesh Rao magazine 12 March 2022