Today, ‘agility’ has become a “must-achieve” advantage in the business environment. Organizations need to have the ability to respond to business challenges, react to market opportunities and get their products to market faster. In order to do so, organizations have to invest in a robust IT infrastructure that can be optimized on demand and enables them to scale. The demand for business agility is on an increase and so far, the cloud has been its greatest enabler. The Cloud has become an integral part of the enterprise computing environment. According to a Verizon Enterprise Survey, over 70% of business organizations are already using the cloud and 72% of those surveyed expect to add more than half of their workloads in the cloud by 2017. 74% of the respondents said that cloud adoption helped their organization gain competitive advantage. Amongst other things, business agility was one of the primary drivers for cloud adoption since it enabled organizations to be more responsive to change and supported faster business launches by reducing time-to-market. Clearly, there lies unprecedented opportunity with cloud adoption. But how does the cloud really drive business agility?
The Cloud gives organizations the opportunity to react to business demands faster by facilitating addition of new business services and allowing easy modifications of older ones by enabling IT to add or remove the required resources easily and efficiently. Since cloud computing enables organizations to provision, de-provision and deploy IT infrastructure easier, it helps in speeding up delivery of IT projects. A cloud environment could take just a few minutes to procure and provision while a physical server can take days and weeks to provision for the same demand.
The cloud enables business agility by reducing business complexity. This is achieved by simplifying internal operations and enabling greater automation. The cloud also simplifies the management of IT resources. This increases IT efficiency by reducing the time spent by IT administrators on managing supporting infrastructures.
The cloud also drives rapid innovation by becoming the enabler of new business models. In today’s hyper-connected world all parts of the business are giving organizations insights into new ways to expand the business. Whether it is adopting new technologies to develop a superior product or reacting to customer feedback, cloud adoption makes innovation a much easier process. It becomes easier to link infrastructure, service delivery and data together, thereby promoting business agility.
Provides flexibility and scalability
The cloud has a pay-per-use model that gives its users the flexibility to scale easily. Instead of waiting for days and sometimes weeks, to add an element to its infrastructure, the cloud provides the opportunity to rent or subscribe to platforms, infrastructures, systems, technologies and data services which can be scaled up or down according to the needs of the organization. Not only does this help organizations save costs on unnecessary investments, it also helps them scale according to the needs of the business by providing on-demand scalability especially during seasonal traffic spikes, development, and testing, load testing etc. The cloud also provisions for automatic resource scaling to match demand and thus makes sure that service levels are maintained at all times.
Software development cycles have become increasingly fragmented and development teams have become more distributed. Such teams need greater opportunities to collaborate across locations and even functions to respond faster to business demands. Cloud adoption facilitates collaboration between different teams and hence gives organizations the opportunity to deliver faster and deliver better. Since the cloud is almost like a central repository of software assets and work items, it enables a ‘build and deploy’ environment. Having everything in one place gives disparate teams the opportunity to collaborate and work on complex projects together. The cloud helps the organization gain a clear insight into developer activity and also helps them identify processes that increase or decrease developer productivity.
Promotes business continuity
The Cloud helps organizations keep up with the business demands even in the event of calamities, natural or man-made with its disaster management capabilities. Costs of duplicate systems and in-house recovery systems can be substantially high which can impact the bottom line. Additionally, the downtime incurred during such eventualities impacts business performance. By using cloud services, organizations can ensure that disaster recovery costs are low and that business continuity is ensured at all times by giving them access to all resources at all times and keeping them productive and agile. Clearly there is a huge cost advantage by leveraging the cloud for business. However, the cost efficiencies are just a small part of the big picture. Companies who have adopted the cloud are also enjoying a greater competitive advantage because of simplified operations, greater connectivity between employees and resources which translates to faster roll-outs of new business opportunity…all of which is a consequence of business agility provided by the cloud.