How agile is your IT organization? Have you kept pace with the rapid evolution of cloud computing services? Have you applied that cloud investment to connect with your key stakeholders in the marketplace? Are you ready to seize the opportunities from the emerging mobile cloud trend?
If you answered NO to any of these questions, you're at a competitive disadvantage with your more digital savvy business technology peer group. The leading organizations worldwide will rely on cloud infrastructure to achieve commercial benefits that extend far beyond IT cost reduction goals.
Informed CEOs and other senior executives are realizing that cloud service adoption can be a much-needed catalyst for operational process improvement -- as well as a driver of business transformation.
New market data shows the increased use of cloud technology by global business to better connect with their employees and customers. According to findings from the KPMG 2014 Cloud Survey, the top use of cloud computing remains driving IT cost efficiency (49 percent).
However, the survey results also reveal that the progressive organizations are using cloud computing to enact large-scale change -- such as by better enabling a flexible and mobile workforce (42 percent), or improving alignment and interaction with customers, suppliers and business partners (37 percent).
Why Mobile Cloud has Gained Momentum
The enablement of a flexible and mobile workforce was cited as a driver of cloud usage by only 15 percent of executives in the KPMG 2012 Cloud Survey, whereas this result almost tripled in the 2014 survey -- with 42 percent of respondents citing it as part of their digital transformation methodology.
Additionally, according to the 2014 findings, executives cite increased employee productivity (54 percent) and higher employee satisfaction and flexibility (48 percent) as the top two benefits of using cloud services to improve workforce mobility.
"People's expectations as employees are a lot different than they were ten years ago," said Mark Shank, managing director of the digital and mobile practice at KPMG.
According to their assessment, employees today demand the same access, experience and richness on their work computers and mobile devices as they have on their personal devices. Cloud is making that possible, and organizations are using it to enable a more flexible and agile workforce.
Why Retailers are Leading the Transformation
Similarly, the cloud is being used to transform customer interactions, as the emergence of the digital-savvy customer calls for organizations to embrace new approaches and tools for communication with their customers and prospects.
This is especially true in the retail sector. Compared to other industries, retail executives in the 2014 survey were more likely to say their organizations are using cloud services to improve alignment and interaction with their customers, suppliers and business partners.
KPMG believes that empowered consumers expect more from their retail experience, and this adds pressure and uncertainty to traditional retailer business operating models. Consumers expect to be known, recognized, and offered personalized insight and offerings.
They want to interact with the brand in person, on-line, on the go -- and on their own terms. They also prefer ready access to knowledgeable and responsive associates across those various channels.
The pace and variability of change is driving the acceleration of cloud solutions to enable retailers to make the broad range of operational and business changes to remain competitive in this evolving consumer landscape.
How to Reach the Full Potential of Cloud DevOps
KPMG offered some tips to realize the long-term commercial benefits from cloud infrastructure deployment and the ongoing use of a DevOps approach to rapid software application development.
Adoption should not be viewed as just another technology implementation project, but rather a comprehensive digital service transformation journey spanning from initial strategy development through to the ongoing execution.
Cultural alignment through all levels of the IT developer and operations organization is essential to managing the change associated with a cloud transformation.
Executive management should work to establish an aligned corporate culture at the outset, focusing first on getting the buy-in and support of senior cross-functional business leaders.
Organizations should develop realistic and measurable business outcomes for their cloud transformation projects that tie back to key strategic objectives.
Meanwhile, a value- and metrics-driven approach to cloud transformation enables the organization to know when milestones are reached and stay focused on achieving their bold strategic goals.