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Howard Baldwin

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Turning the Cloud Focus on Transformation

February 27, 2017

According to a new IDG survey, IT still loves the cost benefits of cloud computing. But there’s a groundswell of support for the concept of digital transformation. It’s an idea that concurrently can help employees be more productive and customers be more engaged – and enterprises are realizing that the cloud can become their foundation.

When it comes to the cloud, enterprises’ primary goals are still pretty much the same that they’ve always been: saving money. That’s always going to be close to the heart of an IT executive who’s constantly being told to do more with less. In a recent IDG Research Services survey, 64% of respondents – the highest percentage – cited cost benefits as their primary goal for moving to the cloud.

But the survey also revealed an intriguing new focus for the cloud, issues that point to a significant change in how enterprises will use the cloud as time goes on.

After cost benefits came these four goals:

  • Faster deployment of new applications: 53%
  • Creating a foundation for digital transformation: 38%
  • Better employee experience: 34%
  • Better customer experience: 27%

What’s interesting about these four goals is how closely they’re related to each other. The idea of digital transformation intrigues enterprises. It’s something they’ve tried to do for years – make all of their digital systems in their distributed enterprises talk to each other, so they can exchange information, allow for analytical insights, help make aggregated information more readily accessible, and ultimately aid employees in making better decisions faster, and, of course, make for a better customer experience.

They’ve been stymied, however, by the sheer mechanics of the challenge. Application integration has always been difficult to achieve; whether because of formatting issues or transport speed, IT has frequently been forced into creating expensive one-to-one connections that made both flexibility and sharing difficult. And when connections are highly coupled rather than loosely coupled, they complicate life whenever someone on the business side wants to make a change. In order to maintain reliability, IT simply can’t respond quickly.

Information is the lifeblood of any organization. But sometimes departments have been loath to share data because they use it in a particular way, and they want to be able to access it the way they want when they want (this is the fundamental definition of silo). On the other hand, employees can get better insight when some information is aggregated – that is, put together in such a way that it reveals a clearer insight and a better strategy.

The cloud, thankfully, is slowly but surely breaking down the barriers that departments and enterprises worry about. Finally, finally, there is the possibility of getting rid of not only silos but also the mentality of silos.

With industry-standard APIs, it’s becoming much easier for enterprises to share data – not only within their own boundaries, but with partners, suppliers, and customers. It helps enterprises get smarter at a time when the world is becoming more competitive. It allows enterprises to put information where it can be shared, without losing its native characteristics that make it so valuable in the first place.

The upshot is the survey results are true. Cloud does allow for faster deployment of applications. It does improve employee productivity. It does allow for better customer experiences, and thus higher levels of engagement. And all of that points toward achieving that decreasingly elusive concept of digital transformation.

Photo credit: FutUndBeidl via Visual Hunt / CC BY

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