With the rise of consumer cloud products, people in business now expect a user experience that is similar to what they might find on their Smart phones, or from online retail stores like Amazon. It’s all about finding innovative solutions, having them readily accessible, and wrapped up in a nice user experience.
Many modern corporate IT solutions are now mirroring the consumer world; take the user interfaces of the Coupa P2P system, or Taulia’s Business exchange for instance.
But how is this shift from on premise solutions to cloud technology actually affecting corporate IT departments, and what can they do to keep ahead of the curve?Danger of losing control Previously, all areas of a business were heavily reliant upon their IT department, when considering alternative software options in the market, their costs, and how any implemented solution would integrate with incumbent systems. Nowadays, business departments have far more influence and autonomy, and want to be able to move quicker, innovate more, and provide a better end user experience. If IT won’t help – or can’t help fast enough – the business will ultimately go outside and find their own solutions. The danger is that by circumventing the IT department in this way, the whole organisation could end up using disparate systems, which are more difficult (if not impossible) to manage and integrate, and make it even harder for IT to be on the front foot. Solutions run themselves With a typical on premise solution, after implementation the IT department would usually be responsible for carrying out a number of activities to ensure and maintain the everyday running of the system. For example this could include database sizing, network capacity, system performance, and daily checks. Now, almost the entire responsibility for maintaining the system is removed from the organisation, as it’s all carried out in the Cloud. The only thing needed is to ensure that the integrations you have to other systems are working properly, dramatically reducing the required headcount and time investment by the IT department in this area. Fewer customisations, fewer issues Perhaps the biggest difference between on premise and Cloud procurement solutions, are that the latter come fully built, and can be configured, but not readily customised. The knock on effect of having fewer customisations, is that ultimately there are less areas to go wrong, leading to a better user experience, and reduced calls into your help desk. Issues with cloud solutions are more likely to be data or configuration related, and often can be resolved by first or second line support. These changes have a significant impact on how IT and help desks are structured, and should free-up an enormous amount of time. Solution says no…. fewer change requests Following the initial shift in mentality around the system; whereby the business needs to understand that Cloud solutions don’t offer the option for big bespoke changes to the system, the demand for customisation post go live will be dramatically less than that seen for on premise solutions. This reduction in change requests, and subsequently the activities required for their management and implementation, frees up allot of time for IT departments. IT Transformation
The bottom line is that IT departments need to evolve. Along with the gain in time efficiencies mentioned above, the move to cloud should cut down IT application management costs by circa 50%.
Cloud solutions allow a fundamental shift away from time consuming deep, technical support, allowing IT departments to become more proactive: researching what’s going on in the market, working closer with the business to understand where problems are, and then melding this information to supply innovative technology solutions for the business.
The rise of the cloud heralds the total transformation of IT in the business, from a tactical, support driven function to one of long-term strategy, innovation and much more influence.