The Change Called 'Cloud'
The convergence of Cloud, mobile, social and Big Data are dramatically altering the eco-system in which businesses operate. This nexus of forces is giving rise to new business models at an unparalleled speed which are challenging the traditional business models.
These new business models are creating new business designs and endeavors by blurring the digital and physical worlds. IT leaders need to embrace this change to stay relevant. They should act as agents of change by adapting their thinking, methods and technologies to support these fluidic changes. The ability to innovate depends on it. IT departments must not only educate their teams but also help them to adopt Cloud solutions. They can no longer be seen as an impediment, but rather an enabler.
The new technologies are also acting as a force multiplier for small businesses enabling them to rapidly invent and compete with bigger rivals. Especially through the deployment of cloud, these small businesses have access to contemporary solutions which earlier were beyond their reach due to costly software models.
In the face of rapidly changing role of IT, insightful organizations are positioning themselves to be at the front of this change. Traditionally, to adopt and deploy new technologies, businesses had to go through the IT department. The cloud really blows up the idea of IT as gatekeeper to innovation. In 2014 and beyond, HR is going to be a much bigger priority as businesses try to address the talent gap and enhance their focus on user experience, and now they'll be able to take the initiatives to solve those problems themselves by researching, buying deploying, and managing applications and solutions in the cloud.
I think we will start seeing more and more what Corporate Executive Board (CEB) refers to as business-led IT. And this is a good thing. In order to support the business moving to the cloud, IT needs to help with selecting the right solution, contracting, the integration pieces, and help ensure risk and compliance issues are addressed.
The ability for an organization’s workforce to rapidly adapt to market changes will separate the leading organizations from the rest. This is especially true in today’s business environments which are often characterized by uncertainty, complexity, and volatility. This is our driving focus - to use a phrase from Gartner, less on “silicon-based systems” – computers and more on helping “carbon-based ones” – humans to become more agile and innovative.
HR and IT should be an inseparable team to improve workforce performance by enabling the culture, process, and supporting technologies to optimize employee effectiveness when they are collaborating with others internally and externally.
Social media which has grown at an astronomical rate in the recent years, has an important part to play here. Social media tools enable people to stay connected on a global scale. It also offers organizations to connect and interact with customers and promote their brand. It is also worth noting that individuals trust the opinions of their peers far more than a glossy magazine advert.
Including social in your marketing mix and business strategy is no longer simply a best practice. It’s an imperative and a matter of survival for many businesses. More and more, and often fueled by mobile technologies, social networks are where customers, partners, and employees are hanging out.
Today, your brand is what individuals and communities say it is. No longer can an organization’s corporate or employer brand be controlled by marketing or executives. It is a direct reflection of what your employees think, say, share and do. Organizations need to embrace this fact and realize their greatest asset is their workforce. Providing them what they need to excel together, as part of a community needs to be a top priority.
This is the new norm for the latest generation of employees entering the workforce. It is their chosen mode of communication. Companies that don’t embrace or provide elegant and easy to use tools for social media will be seen as being out of touch or old school. I think social media also provides an excellent incubator for the creative process of generating new ideas which is key to success in the 21st century, much like farming was in the 19th century and factories were in the 20th century.
The need of the hour today is to adapt to changes happening and adapt fast; simplify and standardize wherever possible. Cloud, along with social, mobile and analytics is transforming the business model fast like never-before. Improvements in this technology stack are adding value to the whole gamut of business operations. The only way to sustenance in this scenario is to embrace the change that cloud and the nexus of forces bring, and to adapt and innovate.