According to a recent report published by industry analysts Gartner, the Software-as-a-Service market is expected to grow 17.9% to $14.5 billion. That is a staggering number, prompting many people to think of the cloud as the biggest revolution in IT in recent memory. We have written before about what the rising popularity of the cloud means for enterprise software providers like SAP and Oracle, but in all the noise about the cloud, one thing that is easily overlooked are the actual users of the software. Does it really matter to an AP clerk, for instance, if he or she is keying data into an on-premise or cloud-based solution? Is the cloud an IT-only revolution?
Historically speaking, the wants and needs of IT and those of the business users haven’t always been aligned. The business wants a software solution that is easy to use, whereas IT wants a solution that fits into their corporate strategy in terms of upkeep and security. And yet, with the right mindset, the cloud can actually be used as a tool to bring IT and the business closer together.
The cloud revolution is forcing IT to change its mindset and practices from managing a proprietary environment to managing services from multiples sources. It eliminates tunnel vision by enforcing a more collaborative effort within IT that, by its very nature, will eventually also extend out to the business. The cloud, after all, is meant to respond to the needs of the business users more quickly. In a proprietary environment, IT is often seen as an entity that stonewalls change and makes things unnecessarily complicated. The cloud subverts this image, not only because it’s a cutting edge technology, but because a key goal of the cloud is to make processes simpler – for themselves and the business.
At the same time, the cloud puts more responsibility in the hands of the business, who needs to vocalize what they are looking for in a technology solution. After all, ROI isn’t only measured in dollar signs, but in process improvements. And as such, you might find that the cloud can have a positive effect on your company that extends far beyond your original reason for adopting it in the first place.
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