Once business leaders got comfortable with the security of the cloud it was just a matter of figuring out how to use it to lower costs or, better yet, generate more revenue faster. It is not surprising they are more enthusiastic than IT, which recognized the cloud early on as a new form of IT outsourcing and saw it as a direct threat and, understandably, dampening their enthusiasm.
By 2016, cloud will matter more to business leaders than to IT, according to the IBM Center for Applied Insights. In fact, cloud’s strategic importance to business leaders is poised to double from 34% to 72%. That’s more than their IT counterparts where only 58% acknowledge its strategic importance.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Once business leaders got comfortable with the security of the cloud it was just a matter of figuring out how to use it to lower costs or, better yet, generate more revenue faster. IT, on the other hand, recognized the cloud early on as a new form of IT outsourcing and saw it as a direct threat, which understandably dampened their enthusiasm.
IBM’s research—involving more than 800 cloud decision makers and users—painted a more business-friendly picture that showed the cloud able to deliver more than just efficiency, especially IT efficiency. Pacesetting organizations, according to IBM, are using cloud to gain competitive advantage through strategic business reinvention, better decision making, and deeper collaboration. And now the business results to prove it are starting to roll in. You can access the study here.
From the study came five business reasons to use the cloud:
- Better insight and visibility—this is the analytics story; 54% use analytics to derive insights from big data, 59% use it to share data, and 59% intend to use cloud to access and manage big data in the future
- Easy collaboration—cloud facilitates and expedites cross-functional collaboration, which drives innovation and boosts productivity
- Supports a variety of business needs by forging a tighter link between business outcomes and technology in areas like messaging, storage, and office productivity suites; you should also add compute-business agility
- Rapid development of new products and service—with 52% using the cloud to innovate products and services fast and 24% using it to offer additional product and services; anything you can digitize, anything with an information component can be marketed, sold, and delivered via the cloud
- Proven results –25% reported a reduction in IT costs due to the cloud, 53% saw an increase in efficiency, and 49% saw improvement in employee mobility.
This last point about mobility is particularly important. With the advent of the cloud geography is no longer a constraining business factor. You can hire people anywhere and have them work anywhere. You can service customers anywhere. You can source almost any goods and services from anywhere. As wiredFINANCE noted again just a few weeks ago, you don’t even need a physical office. All you need is an intelligent device and a link to the cloud (the Internet).
Yes, there are things for which direct, physical interaction is preferred. Despite the advances in telemedicine, most people still prefer an actual visit to the doctor; that is unless a doctor simply is not accessible. Or take the great strides being made in online learning; in a generation or two the traditional ivy covered college campus may be superfluous except, maybe, to host pep rallies and football games.
As wiredFINANCE has noted many times, the cloud is just one component of your organization’s overall IT and business strategy. Use it where and when it makes sense, but be prepared to alter your use of the cloud as changing conditions dictate. In fact, that kind of business and strategic agility is part of the advantage of the cloud. In I