We live in an era of constant, accelerating change, and the only organizations that are equipped to keep pace are those that are capable of competing at cloud speed. Does trading out packaged software installed on your own servers for the cloud-based versions offered by your vendor accelerate your organization to cloud speed?
So what the heck is cloud speed anyways?
Competing at cloud speed is a goal that every organization should have, and it requires learning fast not failing fast, it involves creating the flexibility to adapt to trends that spread globally faster than ever before, to respond to competition from unexpected sources, and provides a potential antidote to decreasing corporate lifespans.
Accelerating to cloud speed requires your organization to operate under a series of principles that make it both FAST and agile.
Going FAST (the Right Way)
In the experience of Gordon Tredgold, creator of the FAST Approach to Leadership, we usually end up doing either the wrong job or a poor job in an organization because of a lack of focus or accountability, as a result of work has that’s been made overly complex, or because transparency doesn’t exist across the organization.
The FAST Approach to Leadership attempts to address these concerns by answering the What, Who, How and How Far questions related to the task, service or project that is to be delivered (or goal to be achieved). The following four areas make up the letters of the FAST Approach to Leadership and its FAST acronym:
- FOCUS is about the WHAT, what we’re doing, what is our objective, and what does success look like.
- ACCOUNTABILITY is about the WHO, who is going to do the work, who will be accountable and how will we hold them accountable.
- SIMPLICITY is about the HOW, what is the solution, how are we planning to deliver success. Is our solution simple or have we over complicated it.
- TRANSPARENCY is about How Far, How Far we have come and How Far we have to go in order to be successful, it’s also about our honesty about our progress and capability.
Focus and Accountability help to ensure that we are getting the right job done, increasing our effectiveness.
Simplicity and Transparency help to ensure that we do a good job.
The objective of FAST Leadership is to ensure that we do the right job, well, each and every time.
According to a recent Forrester report titled Business Agility Starts With Your People, a digital business requires an organization to be able to both sense and execute on change, and Craig Le Clair of Forrester outlined a set of ten dimensions that define the digital business, grouped by market, organization and process:
1. Channel Integration – Information sharing and cross-channel experiences
2. Market Responsiveness – Customer knowledge and rapid access to resources
3. Knowledge Dissemination – Broader sharing and flatter organizations
4. Digital Psychology – Trend awareness and digital skill sets
5. Change Management – Embracing change and embedded change management
6. Business Intelligence – Information management and distributed analytics
7. Infrastructure Elasticity – Cloud awareness and the embrace of cloud options
8. Process Architecture – Process skills and core system independence
9. Software Innovation – Real-time experience and incremental development
10. Sourcing and Supply Chain – Agile sourcing processes and supply chain flexing skills
People looking for a shortcut might hone in on the Process Dimension named Infrastructure Elasticity because it contains a mention of the word cloud and think that this dimension is the secret to competing at cloud speed, but by itself it is not. Forrester’s research showed that the relative performance of an organization along the Infrastructure Elasticity dimension was not a predictor of organizational success, but instead an enabler of improved performance along other dimensions. Craig Le Clair found that greater business agility comes not just from increased Infrastructure Elasticity, but from consciously utilizing that increase to achieve other improvements, such as an improved Digital Psychology or increased Knowledge Dissemination.
Competing at Cloud Speed
When we think about the cloud, what makes it incredibly powerful for organizations is that it breaks down walls. The cloud makes it possible to quickly get people in different departments, geographies, and even organizations collaborating together using a range of cloud-based tools to achieve business goals. When the cloud is viewed not as a solution, but as an enabler of multiple business agility improvements, and a foundation for the principles of FAST Leadership (focus, accountability, simplicity and transparency), we can finally begin competing at cloud speed.
Competing at cloud speed will help improve the velocity of:
- Information flow inside and outside the organization
- Decision making and commitment
- Resource re-deployment
- Channel and customer feedback on course corrections
Competing at cloud speed means putting systems in place that quickly capture the voice of the customer, and broadcast it widely and deeply enough into the organization. It means putting the processes and decision-making tools in place to allow leadership to adapt their strategy, redeploy resources and spin up new cross-border and cross-boundary project teams to full productivity faster than the competition in order to capitalize on changes in customer wants and needs.
Are you competing at cloud speed?
Join Inc. 100 and #1 Leadership Expert, Gordon Tredgold, formerly Head of Service Delivery at Henkel, for a simple approach to improve your operational performance live during our expert webinar on October 8 or register for the OnDemand recording.
NOTE: This article was written for Intuit Quickbase’s The Fast Track but disappeared off the web so I brought it back here
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