In 2010 research firm Gartner placed cloud computing at the “peak of inflated expectations” in its famous hype cycle. How quickly things have changed! Companies that held off embracing cloud now find themselves at a competitive disadvantage as those that were early adopters become mature users of cloud services and start to get some strategic benefits, beyond those initially identified for cloud.
That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Harvard Business Review Cloud: Driving a Faster, More Connected Business. “As cloud services have matured and adoption has increased, research has consistently shown that using cloud has enabled companies to act more quickly and to collaborate more easily,” it says.
It adds: “Cloud’s wider adoption, however, has set a new benchmark for business performance. The ability to adapt quickly is less of an advantage when everyone can do it; rather, not adopting cloud is becoming a competitive disadvantage.”
So, the advantages of early adoption are starting to erode, and the report says organisations that want to stay a step ahead are developing a more strategic approach to cloud adoption, management and use. “Achieving a competitive advantage is no longer a given as more organisations join the club. Advantage in the future will come from how well cloud is managed and to what extent companies can use it to decrease friction in all of their business activities.”
Business agility was identified early on as one of the main benefits of cloud computing — the ability to implement resources on demand, with no upfront cost, and to increase or decrease resources as business priorities dictated. Now, HBR says, improved collaboration is emerging as one of the key benefits of cloud computing usage.
HBR surveyed 452 individuals. About a third were from organisations with over 10,000 employees and 31 percent from organizations with between 1,000 and 10,000 employees.Geographically the breakup was: North America (37 percent), Asia/Pacific (25 percent), Europe (19 percent), Latin America (12 percent) and MEA (5 percent). They represented a wide range of industries and functional areas, with close to a third saying they worked in their organisation’s IT department.
HBR reported: “Agility was joined by increased collaboration as a top benefit, with 72 percent saying their organisation’s use of cloud has made it easier to collaborate with colleagues. ‘Cloud allows business operations to more quickly share information and work cooperatively,’ said one respondent. ‘Cloud has given the marketing department the ability to work more closely with engineering, sales, and the service department,’ said another.”
Better collaboration, the report said, contributed to what has long been seen as one of the main benefits of cloud: speed and agility. “Organisations that cut the time between identifying a need for a new capability and delivering it are seeing a real advantage. Facilitating more fluid working relationships across traditionally separate entities — inside and outside the organisation — contributes to that speed.”
HBR concluded: “Advantage in the future will come from how well organisations adapt to the new, much faster, and more collaborative way of doing business that cloud makes possible. Cutting the time between identifying a need and filling it — and doing that in a secure and cost-effective way — is increasingly the goal of IT as a service. Success will depend on how well organisations manage not only their use of cloud but also the changes required in skills, processes, business models, and relationships — both inside and outside the traditional walls of the enterprise.”
Axelera CEO, Vic Cinc, said: “It’s clear that organisations should see cloud as central to their IT and business and take a strategic approach on how they use and manage their cloud services. And of course, as the importance of cloud increases, so does the importance of working with a trusted and responsive cloud service provider.”
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