By Sanjay Rishi
As I glanced at the date on my smart phone this morning, I couldn’t help but feel that the years were getting shorter – or, that time is simply moving faster. I often hear this same sentiment from family and friends, coworkers and, more frequently, from our clients. And we all know why.
With the convergence of mobile, social and analytic technologies, organizations simultaneously face their greatest challenge, and their greatest opportunities. And among the crowd of technologies, cloud computing is fundamentally changing the landscape of business and IT, and represents a transformation as profound as that created by our smart phones over the last handful of years.
In the beginning of the cloud movement, most CIOs viewed the technology as the latest in a series of fads or “next big things” that create a lot of buzz, but eventually just get integrated into the existing model. CEOs and other line of business leaders were neither aware nor curious about the long-term implications of cloud.
Fast forward to today, with CFOs, CMOs, CHROs and other CXOs influencing – if not entirely determining information technology decisions – where every conversation includes the implications of cloud. They’re provisioning cloud in a matter of hours, as a service, eliminating the need for large capital investments, and opening up new sources of revenue and growth.
Many of the benefits of cloud computing are well-understood: speed, cost savings, operational efficiencies and flexibility. Business leaders are also recognizing that cloud is not a fad, but a disruptive game-changer.
We see organizations across all industries explicitly embracing the idea of becoming a cloud company, a software company, and a services company. We’re helping them use the cloud to create and grow new sources of revenue by monetizing Big Data – retailers with personalized location-based offers, auto manufacturers with traffic and maintenance related services, banks with mobile portable branches, and the list goes on.
In this world of cloud, impatience is a virtue, experimentation a requirement, and agility an imperative. Perfection, resilience, and that old favorite –”industrial strength” – infrastructure and applications don’t have the same currency in this world of continuous development, when time between releases is measured in hours or days, not months or years. Perhaps most significantly, cloud has become the new platform for innovation.
Cloud can impact all parts of an organization, and soon it will. Like the smart phone in our personal lives, cloud will be ubiquitous in business in a few short years. But this next big wave of computing isn’t merely a technology shift, it’s a cultural shift.
As the leader of IBM’s cloud consulting practice, my foremost priority is expanding the skills and capabilities that our business consultants bring to our clients to jump-start their entry into cloud environments, as well as operate their most mission-critical applications in the cloud. Last month, IDC published the industry’s first report on cloud professional services and recognized IBM as the leader in the publication.
Each day our portfolio expands – especially with the recent acquisition of Softlayer – a market-leading cloud hosting provider that exemplifies agility and speed. Our IBM consultants are not just providing advice on the technology strategy, but how cloud is changing the business strategy.
The CIO of a large global consumer packaged goods company recently told me, “Cloud computing isn’t our technology strategy, it’s fundamental to our business strategy and our strategic vision.”
Their success, and everyone else’s, will rest on how quickly they can change how they think, work and approach their business in this new computing era.