Can Cloud Computing Ensure Business Success?

Much continues to be written, researched and even questioned about the cloud and there is no doubt that CIOs and IT departments herald the technology as important to business success. Take this recent survey by Google and market research company Vanson Bourne.

It surveyed 100 senior financial decision makers and found that 93% felt that cloud computing will be important to the success of their business in the next two years. What’s interesting about this statistic is not that the majority felt the cloud was important, but rather that this came from a group of financial decision makers and not the IT department.

It shows that the cloud has become pervasive across the business – that it’s no longer just the concern of the CIO but just as likely to find it’s way into discussions with the CFO, CEO and COO. That’s great, right? Finally a technology that can aid innovation, provide businesses with agility, flexibility and remove costs.

A technology that’s been demystified and that can take its place firmly on the board. 66% of those surveyed agree that cloud increases the IT department’s contribution to corporate strategy. But if this is solely how you’re viewing the cloud, you’re missing the greater opportunity.

I see the cloud as an opportunity to re-examine exactly how you do business. The cloud is, and will remain, merely a facilitator/infrastructure but with its support, companies can use it as an enabler to create a coherent and integrated approach to business.

The success of cloud deployment lies in bringing together the finance department, HR, marketing, admin, customer service and every other internal stakeholder with IT to create a strategic approach – without which the cloud remains just a technology. I agree with writer and blogger Andi Mann whose recent 11 top tips for successful cloud computing adoption highlights this very point.

By approaching the cloud collectively and strategically the benefits are clear. While the cloud may not help you sell more, it may be able to help you sell more easily. For example, the cloud’s ability to provide data anywhere, at any time, from any device, means accessibility of information is increased.

From a CRM perspective you can provide a consistent and unified approach to potential and existing customers: offering a better service and the ability to identify opportunities to cross- and up-sell – simply because you know more, and are able to access it on demand. All your company interactions will be enhanced.

But this will only be achieved when the cloud is approached strategically.

Andrew Hayward is Managing Director of m-hance, the UK’s fastest growing provider of innovative business solutions to organisations in the mid-market. Since being appointed as Managing Director of m-hance, Andrew Hayward has led the company through a period of unprecedented growth following the acquisitions of several leading businesses including elements of Maxima Holdings plc, Touchstone Group and Calyx Software. Andrew has been with m-hance (albeit under different brands) since 1999, firstly as a sales professional and then as a business head. Prior to becoming involved in the business applications arena, he worked in an accountancy practice and the motor, leisure and logistics industries.