Kati Unplugged: HBR Insights on How Business and Tech Leaders View the Cloud

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A Blog Series for Microsoft Dynamics Partners by Kati Hvidtfeldt, US Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Lead.

Kati color 2004It is common knowledge that companies large and small are increasingly adopting cloud technologies. To tap into this demand, partners need to understand what motivates companies in their decisions to move to the cloud. Today we look at results from a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services global study of 1,500 business and technology leaders to gain insights into the reasons why companies who are using the cloud see it as a way to achieve competitive advantage. In subsequent blogs we will take a closer look at other findings.


The recent Harvard Business Review Analytic Services global study* uncovered “wide consensus” among business and technology leaders indicating that the cloud offers the means to solve important business problems, while incurring lower costs to implement and run.

The overwhelming majority of respondents—85%—indicated plans to use cloud tools “moderately to extensively” over the next three years, by 2014. More than half—57%—view the cloud as a source of competitive advantage for early adopters.

Those whose companies are already using the cloud report that they are already reaping the benefits. Business agility, lower costs and the ability to acquire and integrate new operations more quickly and easily are all important advantages that cloud adopters are finding.

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Increased business agility was rated the most valued benefit, with 44% scoring it five out of five and an additional 34% scoring it 4 out of 5. Respondent comments associate agility (=speed) and flexible capacity with competitive advantage, enabling companies to capture or launch new business quickly. Without the advantage of cloud options, new business relationships that involve the management or acquisition of existing on-premise systems can require months requisitioning and deploying servers, with exorbitant infrastructure purchase and training costs. Being able to adapt applications for the cloud can enable companies to roll out quickly, with lower costs and the advantage of automatic system updates.

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A key advantage cited by 64% of the adopters is the ability to test an idea more easily and at a lower cost, and then scale up or down based on how its viability proves out. And 61% agreed that the cloud platform enables efficient information sharing and collaboration—both internally and with customers and suppliers. By solving the technical problems, cloud lets organizations focus on the higher-level issues.

Cloud computing can transform how your customers and their organizations work, and can be a tool to achieve competitive advantage. Business leaders in companies who are cloud adopters agree that the cloud enables:

  • Rapid adoption of the latest technologies
  • Quick and smooth absorption of new business through scalability
  • The testing of new ideas with lower risk
  • Reduction of IT infrastructure and support costs

To learn more about how to incorporate cloud-based solutions into your business plans visit the Microsoft Dynamics Countdown to the Cloud page on PartnerSource. Go to www.microsoft.com/dynamics/growyourbusiness for resources that demonstrate to customers how Microsoft Dynamics ERP cloud, hybrid and on-premise solutions can benefit their businesses.

* This blog is based on findings reported in, “How the Cloud Looks From the Top: Achieving Competitive Advantage in the Age of Cloud Computing, a report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services based on a survey of nearly 1,500 business and technology leaders.” Download the full report.

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