5 steps for closing the cloud value gap with AWS

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  • Many businesses are confronting the cloud value gap — falling short of getting the payback they expect from their investments.
  • There are five ways companies can close the value gap, starting with aligning around business strategy and how “value” will be defined and measured.
  • PwC’s extensive deep experience, as recognized in its AWS Premier Consulting Partner designation, can help companies progress here.

No matter how big or small your company, a cloud transformation is a complex undertaking. Without the right approach and skills, you run the risk of missing out on some of the business value cloud can deliver. 

We call it the cloud value gap. More than 90% of executives in PwC’s US Cloud Business Survey say their companies are “all in” on cloud or use it in many parts of their businesses. But when asked whether their companies realized substantial value in some or all of 12 potential ways, only about half (53%) said they had, on average. This gap of untapped value is significant and well worth the effort needed to claim it. The companies that use cloud as a springboard to change how they think, operate and do business are likely to garner greater paybacks.

How can your company shrink the cloud value gap to gain greater benefit from its cloud transformation? Based on the combined experiences of PwC and Amazon Web Services (AWS), these five steps are a sound starting point:

1. Align with business strategy and define cloud value. Is it faster innovation, improved resilience or increased revenue? How does cloud support your company’s strategic goals and how does leadership define success? Align your cloud success metrics to your company’s primary strategic goals to define cloud value. Make sure all key leaders are on the same page pertaining to what cloud success looks like. 

Almost half of business leaders (49%) responding to the cloud business survey see the inability to measure value as a key barrier to maximizing value, and about the same portion of CFOs say they lack confidence in their ability to accurately measure the return on cloud investment. Coming together on what constitutes success and how to measure it should be a top goal.

A sampling of AWS and PwC services might spark ideas about how your organization could increase the payback of your cloud investment.

DevOps is a way of developing and revising code that PwC and AWS have embraced to help clients build more quickly and efficiently. PwC has the AWS DevOps competency. Development and Operations (DevOps) is as much a cultural mindset as it is a set of development methodologies. DevOps is geared toward breaking down silos and increasing collaboration among operations, development and quality assurance teams. 

Regardless of industry, your business likely faces the challenge of having your data spread out across the organization in a way that isn’t conducive to rapid analysis or insights. PwC’s Cloud Data and Analytics service combines our relentless focus on business outcomes with AWS’ cloud analytics capabilities. The result: we’re helping companies coalesce strategy, investment, operations and technology. A good example of that is how PwC helped Wyndham Hotels and Resorts redesign its data architecture with an eye toward a more efficient future and better guest experiences.

Also built on AWS cloud and AI, PwC’s Healthcare Intelligent Automation platform is the first of its kind. It’s designed to automate manual, resource-intensive tasks. For example, the cost of processing the healthcare industry’s 30 billion transactions a year is $250 billion with the manual effort typically employed. This platform automates the process. And that’s just one healthcare use case of several for Healthcare Intelligent Automation.

AWS offers collaboration and productivity solutions to help teams quickly ideate and build in real-time. The large numbers of AWS availability zones around the world enable global collaboration. Another AWS creation, Amazon Connect, provides a cloud-based contact center service. PwC has built various connected solutions on AWS and has the Amazon Connect competency.

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2. Make sure your apps are cloud-native. Another step to help put you on the fast track to growing business value is opting for cloud native applications. The PwC US Cloud Business Survey showed that CIOs are divided on their application approach. Some 63% are concentrating on modernization and rewriting applications, 59% are focused on developing new cloud-native apps and 51% are focused on migration. 

If your focus is limited to migration, your company will likely miss out of some of the key potential advantages of transformation — like improved performance, potential cost savings if you adopt serverless apps and powerful new features. To avoid that pitfall, confirm your apps are written to take advantage of the cloud stack. Just migrating your apps and data won’t get you there. Application modernization (rewriting your existing code to support cloud technologies and features) and developing or adopting fully cloud native apps are your two leading methods of enabling success.

AWS has a variety of services to help make your applications cloud native, so that you can take advantage of the cloud stack. PwC has a lot of experience performing application modernization and building serverless applications.

3. Get a handle on the next digital divide: cloud talent haves and have-nots. Some 52% of executives responding to the cloud business survey cite lack of cloud tech talent as a barrier to gaining cloud value. Almost one-third (30%) of respondents say a lack of cloud talent is affecting their organization’s ability to deliver on cloud strategy. Not only will you need people with in-demand technical chops — like cloud architecture, cybersecurity and DevOps — you will also need employees and business leaders who have the skills and mindset to drive revenue-generating innovation in a cloud-empowered environment. Expect to expand digital upskilling for all employees as a start.

A great solution to the cloud talent shortage is to make use of AWS and PwC’s award-winning and highly experienced AWS Alliance cloud team. PwC’s eight AWS Partner Ambassadors are highly ranked, with two earning placements within the top 15 in North America. AWS Partner Ambassadors are an exclusive community of cloud subject matter specialists. Members are nominated, vetted and approved by Amazon for their AWS knowledge, skills and experience. Across the 157 countries in which PwC works, it has achieved over 2,000 AWS certifications and 4,000 global accreditations. PwC is also the only AWS consulting partner with four security competencies.

4. Start early to address risk and build trust. Half of the respondents to PwC’s US Cloud Business Survey see cloud as a security and business risk that creates a significant barrier to attaining cloud value. Moving your data off premises and relying on third-party cloud services could potentially increase vulnerability.

It’s important to make security an integral part of every step of your cloud journey. It should be woven into the fabric of your cloud infrastructure and leading practices should be second nature for employees.

After your cloud transformation rolls out, vulnerabilities and threats will continue to evolve. You can’t afford to stand still. PwC and AWS recently teamed to create a new managed security services offering for their clients. The challenge: enterprises often try to solve tomorrow’s business problems with yesterday’s cyber operating models. Together, PwC and AWS are helping clients create future-focused security models to meet their challenges head-on. This includes automated vulnerability management, threat detection and response, network security mitigation and more. Turn to PwC and AWS to provide ongoing support and help with AWS MSSP (managed security services).

5. Use cloud to advance your ESG goals. PwC expects that environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will continue to be crucial to businesses in the near future. In the Consumer Intelligence Series survey on ESG, 76% of respondents said they would discontinue relations with companies that treat employees, communities and the environment poorly. Cloud-based data management and reporting can automate the process and standardize ESG reporting.

AWS offers a program called Data Exchange that makes it easier to find, subscribe to and use third-party sustainability data. Once subscribed to a data product, companies can use the AWS Data Exchange application programming interface (API) to load data directly into Amazon S3 and then analyze it with a variety of AWS analytics and machine-learning services. Amazon says it’s working with organizations to make ESG data available to customers to help them accelerate sustainability research, innovation and solution development by removing the friction of finding, licensing and using sustainability-related data.

Get help to close your cloud value gap

AWS cloud has a robust suite of tools and services that help clients increase their cloud investments. PwC is in a unique position to help clients because it works closely with AWS and has mastered the use of so many of its cloud offerings. Additionally, PwC’s ability to connect the dots between business leaders’ strategic goals and IT’s cloud and tech needs can help expand the ROI from your cloud transformation. We take a 360-degree view of our customers’ biggest cloud challenges and opportunities — working backward from your goals to confirm that the path leads to your future successes. Whether it’s our embedded security and compliance perspective, selecting the best use of data and analytics to gain strategic insights, developing a strategic roadmap to accelerate your cloud journey or anything in between, we’ve got cloud covered. Together, AWS and PwC are a formidable team that can help you get the most out of your cloud transformation.

This year, PwC is honored to have been named an AWS Premier Consulting Partner for its AWS Alliance team’s deep experience, technical expertise and demonstrated success working with a large number of customers on business-led cloud transformations utilizing AWS. The “Premier” designation is the highest that AWS bestows. The significant achievement was predicated on PwC’s proven track record of delivering purpose-built, industry-leading cloud solutions to customers.

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Jenny Koehler

Partner, US Cloud & Digital Leader, PwC United States


Bob Moore

Principal & AWS Practice Leader, PwC United States


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