CONTRIBUTOR

While cloud adoption is relatively straightforward, many business leaders are finding it challenging to choose which cloud solutions to use, according to an Infosys report. Businesses lack proper guidance on the frameworks, recommended practices, and even where to use it, says the study.

Less than half of contracted cloud services are being consumed, with more than half of consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail respondents struggling to monitor cloud costs effectively.

The report revealed CPG/retail companies are found to be using up to four cloud providers simultaneously, creating inefficient bottlenecks that hinder optimal cloud use.

While some companies may be able to audit cloud usage and find a specific cloud offering that caters to their individual needs as a company, the report noted many CPG and retail companies have existing legacy systems with a patchwork of cloud solutions that they have used to scale their operations.

Security concerns are also prevalent, with over 41% of respondents allowing any department head or IT manager to deploy new cloud infrastructure, software or applications.

The report cautioned this lax approach increases the risk of human error, a leading cause of cloud data breaches.

“However, it is critical to balance risk against the dynamic shifting demands of business,” said Anant Adya, executive vice president of Infosys Cobalt. “Modern cloud implementation requires technical and strategic thinking, involving leaders, technologists and end-users. Cloud decisions must not be made in isolation.”

He said to maximize cloud investment, CPG and retail companies should optimize usage, manage costs, provide training, establish governance, and prioritize revenue-generating services.

“They should start by regularly assessing cloud usage patterns and identifying areas of underutilization,” he said.

By implementing tools to track spending, set budgets, and enforce policies they can ensure crucial cost management practices are followed.

Adya explained that currently, CPG and retail companies are most frequently utilizing cloud for digital commerce and customer relationship management.

“In the coming years, we anticipate cloud’s expansion into point-of-sale and in-store systems,” he said.

In integrating AI, blockchain, machine learning and internet of things (IoT), CPG and retail companies will massively increase scale and agility.

“Access to data will become easier and cost savings will become more significant,” he said.

In addition, the education of teams on cost implications is essential in encouraging responsible usage, which should include an overall awareness of how the value of efficient cloud utilization impacts the bottom line.

Adya said establishing clear governance policies for cloud adoption, defining roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes enables employees to take charge of their role in maximizing the return on investment.

Finally, CPG and retail companies should prioritize cloud services that directly impact revenue streams, such as digital commerce, CRM, and customer engagement platforms.

“By combining technical optimization, financial discipline, and organizational alignment, CPG and retail companies can unlock the full potential of their cloud investments,” he said.

The report also found 44% of respondents said they felt cloud decisions are being made in isolation, leading to a lack of overarching strategic thinking across organizations.

Adya said stakeholder collaboration is crucial for successful cloud decision-making, and advised that to promote alignment, stakeholders must be involved early in cloud initiatives, form cross-functional teams, and establish regular communication channels.

“Define shared goals, implement a governance framework, provide education, and create feedback loops,” he said. “By fostering collaboration, organizations can enhance their cloud strategies and ensure better outcomes.”

He added one of the biggest benefits of cloud is its ability to easily integrate technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

“As a result, CPG and retail company leaders can bolster their IT teams or remove resources as business needs shift,” Adya said.

From his perspective, cloud-native AI-powered customer engagement platforms are integral in customer support, extracting data from customer interactions and translating them into insights.

“AI helps agents in customer interactions and can be used to maximize efficiency in the supply chain,” he said. “Cloud-based platforms can also enhance the employee experience through the use of conversational AI.”