In 2014, we’re at the point where the cost benefits of cloud computing are well understood. For the smart company, the real value of the cloud comes in its transformative qualities. It offers unparalleled opportunities for innovation.
Discussions of cloud computing may hinge on technical benefits, but it is also a platform for business innovation. IBM’s survey of 800 cloud decision makers found that its strategic importance to business leaders was expected to double from 34% to 72% within three years.
How is the cloud becoming a platform for business innovation? It starts with its transformative technical capabilities. Key technical capabilities derived from cloud computing create the conditions for dramatic business change.
One advantage of cloud computing lies in operational innovation, particularly in closing the gap between development and operations. DevOps is a watchword for 21st century companies that want to innovate in software development. Cloud computing simplifies many of the steps involved in application development, such as infrastructure provisioning and the aggregation of software functions into easily-consumable services.
Development teams can use this speed to work with operations teams and business users in a cycle of continuous development. It enables them to adapt cloud-based applications based on frequent user feedback, tuning the user experience and modifying functions to cope with changing business conditions. The collaboration functions afforded by the cloud can even facilitate that feedback.
The cloud’s technical capabilities can also help companies to make leaps forward at a tactical level by enabling process innovation. Again, speed is key here. KPMG found that 22% of decision makers saw business process transformation as a key objective for cloud adoption.
try and try again
Rapid prototyping of applications enables companies to test out refined or entirely new business processes quickly and cheaply, without sinking vast resources into long development cycles. One in five cited speed to adoption as a critical objective.
The cloud’s ubiquity also has the potential to change the way that we communicate, making collaboration tools and mobile computing more productive. This in turn carries the opportunity to transform business processes through faster, more honed communication.
Strategic innovation complements operational and tactical innovations in business, and cloud computing helps here, too.
The cloud’s elasticity is directly tied to its ability to help us understand and predict what’s happening in the business. Cloud computing enables IT departments and their business colleagues to allocate more computing and resources to crunch numbers collected anywhere in the organization.
This can give businesses unprecedented insights into current conditions, and help them to spot emerging patterns that could represent future risks and opportunities. The barrier to entry is lowering, and 44% of IT professionals have stated that they will move their big data tools to the cloud.
When fully effective at all of these levels, the cloud will facilitate a transformation that is more than the sum of the parts. Entire business processes can be provisioned and deprovisioned quickly, enabling businesses to reconfigure themselves at will.
This is the promise of effective cloud computing deployment, with a partner that can understand your business at operational, tactical, and strategic levels. Done properly, it could be an innovation engine for your business that runs and runs.
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Jay Stephens leads the cloud solutions portfolio for the Americas at Orange Buisness Services.