It’s not your father’s IT shop anymore. IT organizations have become a critical extension of the business, tasked by the board room to deliver new tech-driven products and services to further differentiate the business – and do it faster than everyone else.
This creates a rub. The business feels IT can’t move fast enough. IT feels the business expects too much, and doesn’t understand the pressures and constraints IT teams are under. Leadership recognizes this dilemma, but must break through barriers if the company is to remain relevant and meet the increasing demands of today’s empowered mobile, social consumer. All parties are open to change and ultimately want what’s best for the company – making business and service processes more expedient and flexible, all with less capital and strain on IT resources.
Good news. Some forward-thinking businesses and their IT teams are doing just that by embracing the cloud. In this scenario, IT takes on a more consultative role, serving as cloud brokers for the business. Of course, IT is still on the hook for meeting requirements and keeping the lights on – that doesn’t change. What does change is the technology, resources and guarantees that IT has in their arsenal to get the job done. Together, the business, IT, leadership, and cloud partners are meeting increasing, changing demands without the usual constraints and complexities.
An August 2012 “CIO Market Pulse (News - Alert)” report on communications as a service (CaaS) discusses this IT evolution, based on the results of an IDG Research Services survey of IT leaders worldwide:
“Not only are businesses enjoying cost benefits, strategic deployments are affording new efficiencies including flexibility, scalability and automation as well as the ability to shift focus to core competencies without sacrificing functionality or capabilities.”
While lower TCO ranked as the top driver for companies moving business communications applications to the cloud (53 percent), IDG’s global survey reveals that more strategic drivers are playing an increasing role in the decision-making process, including:
- Increased flexibility (50 percent),
- Faster deployment (46 percent), and
- Scalability (40 percent).
Companies are leveraging the cloud to gain access to the latest in communications technology — mobile, social, and big data – quickly and affordably. This allows new creative products, services and functionality to be delivered rapidly, turning customer service into a competitive weapon.
One such example is an innovative healthcare provider of imaging devices looking to leverage cloud communications to deliver a global multichannel support service embedded directly within their product. A senior director at the company explains:
“Our market changes fast…Imaging technologists frequently communicate via web chat and email, so we’re exploring the ability for a customer to open a chat window from within our devices and be directly connected to support. It’s all possible now with the cloud…It reduces the stress on our infrastructure, and gives us the freedom to add services and expand our reach as needed.”
Call it moving at the speed of business. Then thank the cloud… as well as your IT team for saying, “Yes.”
Edited by Alisen Downey