Cloud: Driving Business Transformation

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In 2016 The Cloud Industry Forum warned that organisations must explore and exploit digital technologies and overhaul their processes from the ground up if they are to succeed in today’s rapidly changing economy. That prognosis applies just as much – if not more so – in 2017 as it did last year.

Like most organisations today the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) is facing the challenge of remaining relevant in the market. For example, as cloud deployment of business applications become more and more the norm why do we need an organisation that could be regarding as a one trick pony.

I’m sure CIF can answer that question ably itself but an area where they continue to provide a highly valuable service is their research and with the recent publication of their sixth major end user-focused research project in this series, entitled ‘Cloud: Driving Business Transformation’ once again the reader gets to better understand how UK-based organisations are using cloud services, their impact on businesses and the workforce. They are subsequently well-placed to deal with increasing levels of digital disruption.

CIF says here that we are entering an unprecedented time of change as digital technologies reshape industries, products and services, and customers’ expectations.

“This change has not gone unnoticed by UK based organisations and two in five respondents that we spoke to for this research project expect their organisation’s sector and business model to be disrupted within the next two years.

In response to this threat of disruption, many organisations are putting in place Digital Transformation strategies, and while it is the minority that has implemented a Digital Transformation strategy today, three quarters expect to have done so by 2019.”

As the term suggests, technology is pivotal to Digital Transformation, but first and foremost it’s about organisational change and how organisations can reengineer themselves to take advantage of new digital technologies. Although true Digital Transformation is still in its early stages, we have already had a glimpse of what’s in-store as new start-ups challenge well-established incumbents with radically new products and business models.

According to CIF, questions remain around how successfully UK-based organisations will be able to weather the storms of disruption, and respondents identify a wide range of barriers to their Digital Transformation efforts – chief among them, the perennial issues of privacy and security concerns, legacy IT, and a lack of executive sponsorship and skills. Moreover, having a strategy is one thing, but how this translates in practice on the ground is another.

We agree with CIF when it says that cloud is, at its heart, as much about transforming people and processes as it is about technology – and is therefore a critical component of Digital Transformation.

How, then, are organisations using cloud services, and what impact, if any, is the delivery model having on the way that they operate?

You can download the full
30-page report at the Cloud Industry Forum website – see
www.cloudindustryforum.org.

Snapshot of key findings

Digital Transformation:

• 44% of respondents currently have a Digital Transformation strategy and a further 32% say that their organisation intends to have one;

• Nearly six in ten (57%) say that making better use of technology is the key objective for their organisation’s Digital Transformation strategy;

• Other key objectives are to achieve better use of data and analytics (47%) and to improve business agility (47%);

• 93% face barriers towards Digital Transformation, the most common being privacy/security concerns (48%) and existing investments in legacy systems (47%).

Use of cloud services:

• Around nine in ten (88%) respondents’ organisations use cloud, each using an average of three cloud-based services;

• Nearly six in ten (58%) would describe their organisation’s primary approach to IT as being that of a hybrid approach, while 15% primarily operate in the cloud;

• Around two in three (67%) cloud users expect to increase their adoption of cloud services over the next 12 months, and over half (54%) foresee that their organisation will move its entire IT estate to remotely hosted cloud services;

• The most commonly used cloud-based services currently are those for traditional webhosting (65%), but with a marked growth of PaaS (53%), and office productivity tools (50%).