Over 90% of businesses are using cloud computing and it does appear to be delivering on its promise with an astounding 74% saying that it provides them with a competitive advantage. Survey after survey (such as this one from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services) claims that:
Business Agility is the leading driver for Cloud Computing.
Unfortunately, business agility is hard to pin down – roughly speaking it’s the ability for your business to react rapidly to changing business conditions. How does cloud help? We think of two main aspects:
- Responsiveness – Enable employees to do the right thing at the right time. That means reducing business complexity (stop wasting time on paperwork, errors, missing signatures etc.), employee efficiency (let them work anytime, anywhere and using any device) and collaboration (access to people and information from anywhere as needed).
- New Opportunities – Faster rollout of new business initiatives as business conditions change e.g. introduce a new product offering or modify internal processes to quickly satisfy changed customer demands even something as simple as letting people buy on their mobile phone.
Both are sources of significant competitive advantage. According to HBR, companies are already seeing business value and benefits from simplification, collaboration, and faster reactions to new opportunities. All aspects of agility powered by cloud + mobile.
That agility appears to lead to some very tangible and measurable outcomes: cloud enthusiasts (those further along in their deployments than their counterparts) are more likely to have entered a new market in the past three years (49%) i.e. rolled out business initiatives quickly to take advantage of a new business opportunity or to have been part of a merger or acquisition (49%). Significant majorities believe cloud (+ mobile) reduces business complexity (71%), increases employee productivity (69%) and responsiveness to customers (53%).
Business agility is about both speed and doing the right thing at the right time. Cloud is a key enabler of all these aspects of agility.
Click here to download the Harvard Business Review report (no registration required).