9 years ago

How the cloud transformed the business environment over the years

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Cloud provides the right platform for companies to implement new capabilities in weeks rather than months or years.

Cloud computing has changed the information technology landscape. There have been a lot of talks about its agility, flexibility and scalability. Its power has gotten the attention of many organizations. It has gained widespread acceptance across the globe.

Many entrepreneurs and IT leaders have switched to the cloud and make it their preferred solution because of the several advantages it offers. With cloud technology, you don’t have to go through the tedious process of buying hardware and dealing with different vendors for multiple software solutions. What’s more, you can have the solution available and working quickly, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional solution.

A recent global study conducted by Harvard Business Review entitled Cloud Computing Comes of Age revealed many interesting facts. The survey was participated by 376 business and IT professionals.

Cloud initiatives in the past three years

Cloud leaders, or those companies that are taking a more enterprise approach, are the ones who recorded astonishing numbers in the past years. These companies launched new products, expanded into new market segments, have grown geographically, and entered into new businesses. The so-called “cloud novices”, on the other hand, took a more ad hoc approach.

Taking a more managed approach in cloud computing has proven to be more beneficial as it reduces the implementation period and cost.

Cloud increases business agility

Among the cloud’s many benefits, the most popular one is business agility, a critical factor in facing today’s market challenges. About 64 percent of the respondents disclosed that cloud computing has improved their company’s agility. One respondent shared that instead of the usual four to six weeks of sales discovery, the period is now reduced to only 24 to 48 hours. This improvement caused a more dynamic business model.

Interestingly, cloud adoption is happening at an accelerated speed. Last year, about 85 percent of new businesses were in the cloud. This trend is happening because cloud computing gives companies not only faster implementation time; it also provides greater insights to business managers, which in turn enable better-informed decisions.

In today’s highly competitive business climate, traditional IT infrastructure is too slow to handle the customers’ evolving demands. It is impossible to design marketing initiatives that require modern digital capabilities just by using legacy systems and processes. Cloud provides the right platform for companies to implement new capabilities in weeks rather than months or years. The cloud can simplify several business practices. As such, companies achieve greater agility.

Cloud leaders’ journey to the cloud

In the said survey, cloud leaders identified the top five functions in their organizations that use the cloud services. These are

  1. sales force automation,
  2. travel and expense management,
  3. training,
  4. marketing, and
  5. recruiting.

In addition, many of them are moving more core business functions to the cloud. The list includes billing, procurement, supply chain, financial accounting and compliance.

Interestingly, cloud leaders are also exploring applications that are industry-specific. It started with HR management, customer relationship management, service management, and email. Now, they are looking for more applications for their business.

Some companies, however, are more conservative with their approach. They only use the cloud for their dynamic workforce and on-premise applications for their other staff.

Whatever approach the company takes, it is essential to review upfront the expected benefits from cloud initiatives and measure the results along the way. About 69 percent of cloud leaders do this process forthright, while only 43 percent of followers and 40 percent of novices do the same.

Another interesting revelation in the study was that some companies launched cloud initiatives without the involvement of the IT team. Such companies are least likely to determine the expected business value. In fact, only 32 percent say they define expected business value upfront. On the other hand, 61 percent of organizations with a strong CIO who believes in the cloud determine the benefits upfront.

The study also reported that business users and non-IT professionals are getting themselves involved in the buying or decision-making process about cloud services. About 37 percent of the respondents are personally participating in the process, even though less than 10 percent of them work in the IT department. The report also showed that many parts of cloud management are shared equally between IT and other members of the business. It includes determining requirements and selecting cloud services.

Cloud collaboration best practices

As cloud computing continues to become popular, the partnership between business and technology professionals become stronger. The closer relationship leads to a better evaluation of requirements as well as acquisition and deployment of services. As a result, the company achieves a cohesive cloud strategy.

Many organizations, which are determined to embrace a digital future, are implementing relevant actions to establish a stronger cooperation between IT and business users. These are some of the approaches taken by cloud leaders.

  • Job rotation to expose employees into several IT roles, and vice versa.
  • Work shadowing to learn new aspects of each other’s role. For example, a marketing executive and application developer working side by side.
  • Cross-functional reporting to better understand both perspectives. For example, a senior executive of the e-commerce department reports jointly to the CIO and CMO.
  • Out-of-the-box and higher learning. For example, a credit card marketer is learning more about information systems management because that’s where marketing is headed.

The Cloud: Charging at full speed ahead

Cloud’s momentum has accelerated at full speed, and its growth will continue. About 85 percent of the respondents expect the number of cloud services they are using to increase over the next few years.

Many advanced users are moving beyond the basic features to include more core business applications into the cloud. What makes this trend more exciting is how the cloud leaders are becoming service brokers not only within their organization but to their customers as well. Good examples are the workforce solutions and healthcare products distribution companies that are offering IT-enabled revenue-generating services.

Contact Four Cornerstone now if you believe responding to rapidly evolving market conditions is crucial in this highly competitive business environment. We offer several Oracle Cloud and Oracle Database Cloud solutions.

Photo by Trending Topics 2019.

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