Enterprises globally not only have embraced the cloud, but are anxious to pursue more opportunities and drive business transformation.
That’s according to a new Harvard Business Review report sponsored by Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Some 452 business and IT executives were surveyed for the report.
Janet Schijns, Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ vice president and MarTech chief, tells Channel Partners that as cloud computing continues to gain traction and momentum, the channel “is in the catbird seat with regard to taking advantage of this opportunity.”
Some 84 percent of those surveyed said their cloud usage has increased, according to the report. Also, 40 percent said the cloud has increased their revenue and 36 percent said it has increased their profit margin.
“But the value of cloud doesn’t come from cost savings, it comes from speed and operational improvements,” said Angelia Herrin, special projects and research editor for Harvard Business Review. “While business agility has been a key driver of cloud adoption for the past few years, this year respondents said collaboration was the No. 1 benefit (72 percent).”
While the first wave of applications focused on areas such as sales force automation, more organizations now are using cloud for core business systems like supply-chain management and industry-specific services, such as lab services or construction management.
Only 16 percent of respondents said they usually purchase cloud services without IT involvement, versus 43 percent made by central IT and another 39 percent made by business and IT together.
“IT oftentimes functions as the interface between customers and partners, elevating its role within the business,” Herrin said. “The majority of the respondents we spoke to were positive about the benefit of partnering with IT. For example, 80 percent said involving central IT in purchasing decisions has increased the security and reliability of their cloud efforts.”
In terms of criteria for evaluating cloud vendors, three in 10 respondents ranked security among the top three qualities that matter most in a cloud provider. The report shows that cloud providers have addressed security concerns in that 73 percent of respondents who use cloud said security increased or stayed the same, while only 10 percent reported a decrease.
The opportunity is for network partners to embed their services, including network design and services, as well as mobile access, at the leading edge of cloud opportunities versus the tail end, Schijns said.
In addition, it’s time for the traditional telecom partners/agents to “find their path to cloud-hosted collaboration revenue streams that are meaningful and sustainable for their business,” she said.
“And finally, cloud is not a trend, it’s not a one and done, and it’s nowhere near its maturity level as a product, so partners have a unique opportunity to be in the driver’s seat to create the platforms that their customers draft off of in the years, if not the decades, to come,” Schijns said.