Note: This article is updated at Benefits of the Cloud for Business Leaders.
While putting together lessons learned from our Enterprise Strategy cloud engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring business scenarios and themes. You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from a business perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.
The following business opportunities reflect common motivation for Cloud migration:
- Achieve cost-effective business continuity
- Create new revenue streams from existing capabilities
- Decrease power consumption
- Decrease the time to market for new capabilities
- Easily integrate new businesses into your organization
- Improve operational efficiency to enable more innovation
- Improve the connection with your customers
- Provide elastic capacity to meet business demand
- Provide Enterprise messaging from anywhere
- Reduce upfront investment in new initiatives
Achieve cost-effective business continuity
Business continuity risk can be transferred to vendors by leveraging cloud solutions. Cloud providers can provide robust and less expensive business continuity solutions than businesses can achieve alone.
- Adopting a cloud service means the provider is responsible for disaster recovery. Cloud providers treat disaster recovery seriously as an outage impacts their bottom line.
- Cloud services enable easy geo-availability. Applications can take advantage of datacenter geo-distribution without high investment or development overhead.
- Cloud services provide capacity on demand. Utilizing cloud bursting helps address unpredictable usage spikes as systems resume operations after disaster recovery.
- Reduce the cost of disaster recovery infrastructure. Replace parts of the dedicated disaster recovery infrastructure with cloud infrastructure.
- Fast and SLA-based Recovery. Cloud capabilities provide a highly accessible disaster recovery infrastructure which can support near real-time recovery point and recovery time objectives when failing over from on-premises to cloud disaster recovery.
- Boost Productivity. Any worker who can effectively telecommute can be productive in the cloud based disaster recovery scenario.
- Lower Costs. Customers can maintain a hot-standby system for very little recurring cost and turn it up instantly in the event of a disaster.
Create new revenue streams from existing capabilities
Monetize business capabilities as a revenue generator. Leveraging a cloud platform to achieve a business capability can prove profitable through extending the implementation for others to consume on a subscription basis.
- New revenue streams. Monetize existing capabilities through new channels to offset the cost.
- White label a business capability. Extend existing applications as a consumable service to generate revenue.
- Expose internal content. Create API’s into core systems to use internal content as a revenue stream.
- Leverage consumption based pricing. Use cloud based pricing models to lower costs, risks and time.
- Additional revenue streams. Find new revenue streams from existing capabilities and data by providing them as a service.
- Maximize capital investments. Distribute unused capacity of Dynamic Data Center to other departments or customers.
- Lower investments for new opportunities. Pursue opportunities without costs and lead times required by a traditional data center.
- Increase market share. Use the public cloud to access new markets in previously unattainable geographies.
Decrease power consumption
Reduce power costs and environmental impact through more efficient data center design and optimization. Leverage Cloud resources to outsource workloads gaining greater efficiencies and lower operating costs.
- Move workloads to the Cloud. Cloud providers gain greater power efficiency through economies of scale.
- Lower costs. Reduce CapEx with fewer servers and reduce OpEx by powering fewer servers with greater efficiency.
- Meet legislative regulations. Avoid non-compliance penalties and earn financial incentives by meeting government targets.
- Minimize the impact of rising energy costs. Reduce the effect of unpredictable energy costs to future budgets by lowering consumption and increasing efficiency.
- Reduce waste. Lowered energy consumption reduces the waste power generation.
Decrease the time to market for new capabilities
With the Cloud, the time to implement applications for pilot projects or production deployments is drastically reduced because of the reduction of environment and infrastructure concerns. This accelerates the time from concept to execution for projects and allows organizations to explore more opportunities overall with much lower cost and risk.
- Quickly create new environments. Cloud-based Infrastructure enables organizations to create new environment in minutes instead of weeks.
- Accelerate development efforts. The level of effort to develop applications is reduced as organizations can focus on functionality instead of plumbing.
- Reduce the maintenance cost of new applications. Leveraging PaaS increases the consistency between applications and reduces the set of variables for troubleshooting and maintenance even when developed by 3rd parties.
- Try more ideas more quickly. With the ability to deploy new capabilities at a much reduced cost, the customer can try out more ideas without fear of a costly failure. If the customer deploys five capabilities for the price of one, they dramatically increase their odds for success.
- Quickly react to competitive threats. With the ability to quickly create and scale capabilities, the customer can quickly respond by launching a competitive offering.
- Reduce costs. The new applications will have a reduced cost for maintenance and support because of the consistency provided by a common platform with IaaS/PaaS.
Easily integrate new businesses into your organization
Move people onto core systems with self-provisioning. Reduce business disruptions with flexible online business services. Accelerate speed to value by connecting across network and organizational boundaries to integrate acquired systems.
- Integrate organizations with shared productivity tools.
- Host commonly accessible productivity tools in the Cloud.
- Securely store and expose business information. Use Cloud services and federated ID’s to expose data.
- Integrate data and processes quickly. Expose disparate systems and data using the Cloud and federated security.
- Integrate instead of migrate. Cloud services federated security helps avoid migrating systems and organizations.
- Increase the speed of value realization. Time to value is greatly reduced from acquired business.
- Quickly integrate staff. Reduce integration time for the staff from the acquired organization into the corporate systems and functions.
- Shorten the transition period. Greatly reduce the time required to achieve organization and business stability.
- Consumption-based pricing. Pricing of Cloud services allows better prediction of the operating cost of new business.
Improve operational efficiency to enable more innovation
Enable investment to be prioritized on strategic initiatives through efficient use of available budget. Enable the business to make informed decisions through cost transparency for each IT solution and increase the accuracy in business cases for new initiatives.
- Sourcing strategy from the Cloud. Reduce complexity and operational spending by moving commodity services to the Cloud.
- Gain efficiencies through shared services. Providing IaaS or PaaS provides standardization and scale while removing redundancy.
- Increase automation of operational tasks. Create a dynamic data center that leverages shared infrastructure/platform and automated management.
- Decrease headcount focus on operational tasks. Move commodity services to the Cloud. Increase use of shared services and automation so that fewer people are required for repetitive operational tasks.
- Gain efficiencies: Latest technology without the need to upgrade, economies of scale, decreased deployment time.
- Free up resources to focus on business innovation: More headcount available to work on innovation, strategic projects, and execution, more agility to better react on business requests / changes.
Improve the connection with your customers
Integrating systems through the use of Cloud services is often easier and lowers the barrier to entry compared with on-premises solutions. When integration is easier, organizations can provide more information to customers. This in turn increases satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.
- Connect systems to provide a single view for customers. Technology deployed in the Cloud can bring together data easily and seamlessly.
- Designed for external connectivity. Cloud services are designed for public consumption making it easy to expose information to customers.
- Lower time to market. Cloud integration is often easier to adopt which decreases the time to develop solutions.
- Create new interfaces into business. The flexibility Cloud computing offers, provides opportunities to expose new data for customers.
- Increase customer satisfaction. Making data available for customers.
- Extend the reach of the business. Open new markets through global availability of data.
- Increase the time employees spend with customers. Readily available data empowers employees to spend less time searching and more time working with customers.
Provide elastic capacity to meet business demand
Leverage the on-demand consumption model of the Cloud to quickly provision and de-provision resources as needed. Increase agility by enabling your organization to react to an urgent business need quickly by applying Cloud-based resources.
- Operate at a higher level and scale incrementally. Use Cloud services to right-size capabilities and focus on driving core business value.
- Overflow capability. Use the Cloud as a pressure release valve for IT organizations that might have insufficient personnel or are out of power and space.
- Elastic and scalable. Cloud computing’s ability to quickly provision and de-provision services creates an elastic, scalable resource. Pay only for the services used.
- Respond more quickly to business needs. Additional capacity can be added rapidly as needed.
- Effectively scale capability up and down. Scaling down prevents paying for unused capacity.
- Reduce your IT infrastructure and management costs. Leverage a Cloud provider for infrastructure and management.
- Cost of failure is minimized. If the project is cancelled, wasted up front capital investment is not as significant.
- Risk of unexpected growth is minimized. On demand capacity from the Cloud service.
Provide Enterprise Messaging from Anywhere
Secure, reliable, timely access to the latest enterprise class messaging from anywhere helps maintain and improve corporate based productivity and manage overall, per user messaging costs.
- Migrate messaging to the Cloud. As appropriate, move workers from on-premises messaging to Cloud software services.
- Self-provisioning. Provide self-provisioning for remote workers, suppliers, and partners.
- Automatic upgrades. Avoid business disruption and allow IT to focus on higher value areas.
- Segmentation of user types. Allow a more granular control of features per user group.
- Rapid onboarding. Quick provisioning of external, temporary and new workers increases their productivity and reduces IT burden.
- Resource elasticity. Enable growing or variable businesses to lower costs and the impact of changes.
- Reliability. Negotiated and guaranteed uptime.
- Predictable, reduced costs. Reduce both upfront and ongoing cost and make costs more transparent and predictable.
- Most recent features. Users can always take advantage of the latest features because of real time upgrades.
Reduce Upfront Investment in New Initiatives
Reduce the size of investment required to launch new initiatives and align the cash-flow requirements with actual solution adoption over time. Reduce the risk associated with upfront investments.
- Software-as-a-Service. Replace existing software with a SaaS public Cloud offering.
- Platform-as-a-Service. Use PaaS offerings to begin developing new solutions without new infrastructure.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Move existing infrastructure to the Cloud through IaaS offerings.
- Reduction in capacity planning expense. This removes much of the complexity surrounding the planning of data centers, SKU management, and contract management.
- Reduction in hardware, software, and real estate expense. The Cloud can reduce or eliminate the need for upfront investment in infrastructure for new initiatives.
- Align cost with solution adoption. The cash-flow requirements of a new solution become directly tied to adoption of the solution.