PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has released its executive publication, 10Minutes on the Cloud, which is part of PwC's 10Minutes series providing "straight to-the-point" perspectives on critical business issues for senior executives, including new insight into the opportunities available to organizations through cloud computing.
PwC says companies that integrate their cloud strategy with their strategic business imperatives will benefit most. Also, those companies will find that cloud computing can help resolve technology barriers to agility and accelerate innovation, enabling an increased focus on customer engagement while improving connections across their network of suppliers, time zones, and cultures.
In order to prepare for a purposeful transition to the cloud, PwC recommends that menbers of the C-Suite follow these important five steps:
- Strategy – Begin with business imperatives, then identify the technical components of cloud computing your organization already has in place.
- People – Anticipate a reassessment of talent needs; for example, IT will require architects with the ability to leverage the new cloud capabilities.
- Processes – Anticipate changes across the organization; for example, R&D will need to align more tightly with IT, and Finance will need to anticipate impacts on profitability, budgeting, and depreciation when shifting product purchases to service delivery of IT.
- Technology – Be prepared to address internal challenges, such as data security and governance in the cloud model, and shifting service models to the business.
- Structure – Thoughtful consideration of the organizational impacts will smooth the transition to cloud computing; for example, consider the impact that rapid and inexpensive provisioning of technology will have on product development.
"Cloud computing is a viable method to cut and contain IT costs, but there are much larger opportunities at stake – it holds the potential to effectively change the way companies do business," said Phil Garland, technology consulting principal, PricewaterhouseCoopers. "We have found that the primary business benefits of moving to the cloud include increased business agility, a higher level of innovation, and a wider focus on customer engagement in the enterprise."
PwC notes that often the costs and time required to test a new product or service, or try a new way of engaging customers, are so prohibitive they discourage companies from even trying them. Cloud computing offers an inexpensive and flexible way to deploy the infrastructure as needed to test ideas.
"The C-Suite needs to set the direction and agenda," said Mike Pearl, PwC principal. "To realize the full benefits and minimize risk, business leaders need to set the strategic direction on cloud computing and rally the organization."
According to the 10Minutes piece, current IT infrastructures can get in the way of having the flexibility to respond to changing demands, such as a new business line or new compliance requirements, without disrupting the entire technology base each time. PwC calls this concept Evergreen IT.
"Business agility is not just about speed, it involves being flexible and responsive," said Garland. "At PwC we describe agility as being prepared for more than one future. We're entering an era of computing where flexibility in IT drives business agility, and it's not unlike how the Internet found its way into the C-Suite agenda in the mid- to late-1990s."