A big part of my job that I really enjoy is going out and meeting with customers, and listening to how they’re using cloud computing to realize business goals. Increasingly, I’m meeting with not only members of the IT team but with business leaders—CEOs and lines of business heads. And they’re telling me how technology is playing a central role in their business plans. I recently met a CEO of a European financial institution that is planning to use cloud computing to spark revenue growth. I found the bank’s story inspiring and I’d love to share it with you here.
The business benefits of cloud computing—the ability to quickly scale resources to meet demand, respond rapidly to competitive pressures, and shift from a CAPEX to OPEX model—are well documented. What may be surprising is the degree to which companies integrate cloud into their everyday operations. From coordinating the delivery of pizzas, to developing new ways to make daily tasks simpler, to making sure our food supply remains safe, cloud computing plays a central role. Here are three ways that cloud computing works behind the scenes to make our lives better.
Cloud computing is driving change in all aspects of business, large and small. Some of the most common uses include dev/test, data archiving, storage, and disaster recovery. Everyone is familiar with SaaS players such as Salesforce and Workday and storage options such as Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, and Dropbox. Cloud-based collaboration tools such as Mikogo and Vyew are proliferating as well.
The days of putting in a service request and waiting three weeks to get what you want are over. For the business to keep its competitive edge, IT has to deliver resources to employees and customers in a matter of days if not hours. Take HP: to interact more nimbly with customers and release products and services faster, we’ve transformed the company, for ourselves and our customers. “Today, IT is poised to shake up even more industries,” says HP CEO Meg Whitman.
If you had a chance to document your current IT processes, the odds are good that you’d see a lot of manual steps. And the diagram would likely be described as components, networks, applications, and operations, a standard pattern for enterprise IT. However, to keep pace with growing business needs, IT must instead focus on providing services, not components, and delivering them via cloud in an automated fashion. By doing so, IT can save money, operate more efficiently, and react more nimbly to shifting business demands.
As businesses respond to the growing pressures of global demand and increased competition, the skills required for IT staff are changing. Don’t think that change is only for the CIO. Whether you’re the VP of applications, a database administrator, or a help desk expert, your role is shifting whether you like it or not. Each IT role needs to broaden its focus to include business goals. Perhaps there is a need for newly created IT roles in the new world. IT staff now need to act as providers of hybrid IT services, including cloud and legacy applications.