According to a study by Harvard Business Review, it’s time for IT professionals to get their head out of the clouds – specifically, the IT cloud. As more organizations “join the cloud club,” its value declines, making it more of an advantage than competitive. The competitive part, writes Charles Babcock for InformationWeek, comes from what companies can do with the current technology.
Deeper into the Cloud
Since yesterday’s rare is today’s commonplace (and tomorrow’s old news), it stands to reason that, as HBR’s Angela Herrin put it:
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[.]
The drive to cloud IT may have started with sales force automation, but it certainly won’t end there. Most companies have now reached the deep end of the swimming pool. They’re now diving into software infrastructure operations like supply chain management and other mission-critical tasks. Two-thirds of all HBR study respondents are sticking with trusted providers and seeing the wane of shadow IT.
Still an Advantage
In this post-cloud-crazed business world, line-of-business managers are relinquishing cloud-related decisions to IT, which is now chiefly responsible for project initiation, vendor relations, compliance, security, and expertise. What’s more, LOB respondents are happy with the shift – “52% felt strongly that involving IT lowered cost and complexity…” Other statistics are trending in favor of IT-lead cloud use:
- 65% involved IT security in selecting cloud providers.
- 40% saw increased revenues from cloud adoption.
- 38% were helped into new markets by cloud adoption.
- 41% saw cloud increase their product range.
- 36% were helped to improve regulations.
Like the cell phone (and now the smartphone), what was once an advantage is becoming a near-necessity. As a company, you may not be the only kid on the block with the latest technology, but if you’re savvy about how you use that technology, it becomes a key business differentiator regardless of where you are in the adoption cycle.