So far we’ve discussed the first two components of the Nexus of Forces – Social and Information – as critical emerging technologies that business technology leaders absolutely need in their strategies arsenal to drive business revenue. Let’s move forward to learn how Cloud Computing is providing the promise of ubiquitous access to information, products, and services in the digital age.
The Future is in the Cloud
A common expression in discussions about the Cloud is ‘ubiquitous’ – which means continuous access anytime, anywhere, anyhow. Customers now expect to purchase products, search for services, and get quotes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – whether at home, on the job, or in a jet flying across country. Cloud is all about gaining the fastest access to all goods and services from any device that can reach the internet, without having to install software or connecting directly to a server.
Cloud computing has dramatically changed the way businesses invest in, consume, and deliver technology. The biggest impact has been felt by the CIO and CTO. While once the primary proprietors for the selection and implementation of technologies for an organization, these leaders must now face the reality that any business unit with a credit card can connect to the SaaS, IaaS, or PaaS platform they need without ever involving IT in the transaction at all. As Cloud integrations move in to the enterprise, there is no longer a need to fund hardware building, deal with software installation, or pay dedicated software license fees.
The sea change brought about by the adoption of new cloud technologies into the enterprise now means that CIOs and CTOs and other traditional IT executives must learn to become enablers not gatekeepers. At the peril of their jobs, CIOs cannot afford to become perceived as protecting the old order of things. Rather, they must strategically contribute to and align themselves with the business strategy of the company to drive change and build value. In order to bring fresh ideas to the table, IT business leaders need to be conversant with how cloud intersects with other key emerging technologies. To achieve optimal company growth in the digital age, the new CIO must understand the latest agile and lean methodologies, discern the important role of application development for the enterprise, and leverage the value of the latest emerging technologies like Big Data and Mobile.
Don’t be “that” CIO who fails to adopt the cloud due to misinformation about security concerns, governance, or cost efficiency. Instead, there are real steps that business leaders can take right now to migrate to the latest cloud technologies. The most obvious first step would be to adopt cloud data storage. Amazon Web Services is the best known example of a service easily accessible and scalable “pay as you go” services to meet the data needs of any sized company. Google also offers its own cloud storage service, leveraging the impressive infrastructure it has built up over the years.
Another way for CIOs to leverage the power of the cloud is by shifting traditional data warehouse over to cloud solutions. Companies like Rackspace offer database solutions for MySQL hosted in the cloud, in addition to any other cloud solution – hosting, networking, app building, etc. – that your business would need.
Cloud hosted document storage solutions, provided by companies like Box, also create value across the enterprise by enabling employees to seamlessly upload and retrieve their spreadsheets, business documents, and other artifacts. For the CTO or CIO new to the cloud concept, enabling employee access to file sharing is a simple and low maintenance way to enter the market and become known across the enterprise as an innovative and value-driven thinker.
Stay tuned, for in the next segment of this series we’re going to round out our discussion on the Nexus of Forces by looking at Mobility and the revolutionary impact it’s having on the global business market.