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Accelerating the journey to the cloud with a product mindset

October 8, 2021
Nagaraj Balasubramanian

Delivery Executive, Retail/CPG, Google Cloud

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The migration of storage and computing workloads to the Cloud is increasing the pressure for CXOs to maintain a zero data footprint and accelerate the journey to the Cloud. However, this process is much more than just a technology transformation. After more than 40 years building and scaling highly efficient data centers, many organizations are finding their systems are now obsolete. 

Moving to the Cloud requires an overhaul of practices for budgeting, risk management, team building, prioritization, timelines, and working culture. The key to streamlining this revolution is to shift away from a Project Mindset and embrace a Product Mindset. 

The traditional Project Mindset 

The Project Mindset has been the gold standard for technology teams at large organizations for decades. As global organizations exponentially increased their information technology capabilities and processes over the past 50 years, leaders often embraced this style of working for its emphasis on organized budgeting and task-based planning. By tracking projects, checking off tasks, sticking to a timeline, and monitoring budgets, team leaders could easily present measurable metrics to prove the success of their work to those not involved in the day-to-day operation of their project. 

However, COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption like never before. The International Data Corporation predicts investments in digital transformation from 2020-2023 will grow at 15.5% CAGR and 65% of global GDP will be digitalized by 20221.  As organizations undergo rapid digital transformation to meet evolving customer needs, the quickly changing landscape means traditional ways of working may not continue to provide the same value. 

The shift to a Product Mindset 

Now, many teams are finding success in a new product-focused approach to work. Rather than focusing on project processes, a Product Mindset emphasizes rapid feedback, failing quickly, and creating business value. This methodology encourages leaders not to focus on creating milestones at the beginning and checking off tasks until completion. Instead, the Product Mindset recommends frequent recalibration to ensure all efforts are efficiently translating into value for the customer. 

With a Product Mindset, teams are empowered to make decisions that deliver a finished product rather than individual components. This enables quicker response times for faster time-to-market, as well as creative freedom and exponential opportunities for innovation. For example, consumer preferences shifted from in-store shopping to delivery when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Rather than spending months building out delivery infrastructure, many organizations responded to this shift by partnering with companies like Instacart or Uber to deliver the same value in days rather than months or years. This rapid time to value demonstrates the importance of staying laser focused on delivering value to customers and ensuring business systems are set up in the Cloud for immediate integration. 

Accelerating the journey to the Cloud

While 75% of organizations are going through or preparing for digital transformation, a Deloitte study found that 70% of CXOs lack complete confidence in their organizations’ ability to pivot2. A McKinsey Global Survey also found only 14% of companies undergoing digital transformation have made sustained improvements3. In these situations, the barrier is often not technology, but a failure to embrace agile ways of working to navigate change.

To capture the true value of cloud, organizations must shift from a siloed Project Mindset of siloed project elements to that of a holistic, long-term Product Mindset. This transformation will allow businesses, leaders and teams to effectively navigate the transformational yet complex journey to the Cloud, where there is no one-size-fits-all model. 

This whitepaper shares how companies can accelerate the journey to the cloud using a Product Mindset. The approach is based on Google’s Cloud Customer Experience (CCE) organization’s work in delivering successfully on large scale cloud transformation programs for several fortune 100 customers, aligning closely with CXOs and refining our approach based on the outcomes at several customers. We hope this whitepaper helps readers understand the importance of creating a product mindset, and get a blueprint on how to bring about that change.

Special thanks to Nick van Schaijik and Rhonna Wu for driving the research and contributing to this blog post and the accompanying whitepaper.

1. IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2021 Predictions,  Doc # US46880818, October 2020
2. Renjen, Punit. Building the resilient organization. 2021 Deloitte Global resilience report. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/topics/strategy/characteristics-resilient-organizations.html
3. Deakin, Jonathan. LaBerge, Laura. O’Beirne, Barbara. Five moves to make during a digital transformation. McKinsey Digital. 24 April 2019. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/five-moves-to-make-during-a-digital-transformation

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