Cloud services enable organisations to improve business performance and lower operating costs through improved efficiency and workforce productivity, and migrations to cloud, that were for operational and security reasons, are now enabling companies to redefine the way they innovate and develop services.
Traditionally, product improvement initiatives reached the IT department long after the business objectives had been agreed, and the investment in technology was seen as an unavoidable cost of doing business.
For many cloud-led organisations today, IT is at the heart of product development and innovation, with data gathered from customer digital behaviours providing the motivation and insight for strategy development.
Companies across all sectors are now building their operations around flexible and scalable cloud services that extend business reach and take advantage of secure global eco-systems. Organisations that traditionally competed against each other, are now collaborating as businesses partners to drive innovation, streamline operations, and benefit from economies of scale.
As businesses migrate to cloud services, and consolidate their operating environments, opportunities for development become more apparent. Cloud native business applications, developed specifically for cloud environments, are helping companies automate manual processes and react quickly to changing customer demands, by modifying existing processes and rolling out new services in record time.
Technology platforms are evolving from the point where they provide the reliable bedrock of operations, to more intelligent and pro-active resources on which crucial business decisions are made.
Organisations capable of rapidly adjusting operations to meet customer demand are changing the way they develop and launch products, due to the flexibility of the cloud. Collaboration between IT and other departments, including strategy, sales, finance - and even customers, are changing the way business plan and evolve.
Cloud native approaches to operational improvements make transformation much easier, and the IT requirements are no longer seen as a cost burden to be factored in, but more a strategy enabling function with a place at the board room table.
A Harvard Business Review highlighted the example of Pearson – a global training and learning provider, who now involve IT at the very start of product design meetings, to guide the process on user data collection, and product changes. The development and launch of training products has increased at least ten-fold, through a move to cloud services.
The same review referenced BlackRock, a New York based multinational investment corporation, who developed and launched an investor research application in just 100 days – the same amount of time it would have usually taken to procure the new equipment.
As with everything related to cloud services, the key to success is designing services to meet specific requirements. Evolution, not revolution - with a staged process of workload migration highly recommended. Organisations that have navigated the move successfully find themselves in an agile and advantageous market position as they plan the next stages of operational development.
Reliable business continuity, security, and the ability to react and innovate much faster are the key drivers for most cloud projects, and the step change in business agility is changing C-suite leaders’ perception of technology - from cost centre burden to business value creator.