By Erik Ramström, Finance Transformation Advisor
“The pandemic validated cloud’s value proposition,” said Sid Nag, Gartner’s Research Vice President, in November last year. “The ability to use on-demand, scalable cloud models to achieve cost efficiency and business continuity is providing the impetus for organizations to rapidly accelerate their digital business transformation plans. The increased use of public cloud services has reinforced cloud adoption to be the ‘new normal,’ now more than ever.”
The statistics back this up. Gartner and Forrester forecast strong cloud adoption in 2021. Almost every business has come to recognise that without cloud technologies, there is no way so many people could have worked remotely and kept businesses running through various lockdowns. In short, the cloud has saved businesses and economies. Now, these organisations are realising the importance of maintaining and fine tuning that transformation journey.
But what does this really mean to businesses? What are the benefits of a true cloud-based approach, as opposed to running old technology on hosted servers? And how can true cloud solutions enable organisations to navigate a post-pandemic future? Here we have outlined three advantages.
The only certainty of 2021 is that there will be more uncertainty. Faced with the prospect of continued disruption and uncertain economic conditions, businesses need to find operational efficiencies and build resilience. This means integrating disparate systems and removing siloes to improve the flow of information across an organisation. Through continued investment in cloud-based infrastructures and tools, businesses can drive process improvements and scale solutions across departments, improving efficiencies and boosting resiliency.
“As businesses start to think more strategically about how to lay the foundations to support a return to growth, it is clear that the move to digital and associated services will play a big role for organizations in the future,” added Gartner’s Nag. “Cloud adoption therefore becomes a significant means to stay ahead in a post-COVID-19 world focused on agility and digital touchpoints.”
According to a recent McKinsey report, “organizational speed is an essential ingredient for outperformance in times of unprecedented change.” As we have seen through the pandemic, fast decision making has been extremely important but it was forced by necessity. And yet, it is one of the most interesting organisational shifts of the past 10 months. So, how do businesses maintain speed and proactivity when there is less pressure to do so?
What no organisation wants is to fall back into bad habits. Speed will continue to be crucial to success, especially as more firms have the capacity to use data analytics to inform decisions. The visibility, transparency and cohesiveness of a cloud-based infrastructure strategy will be fundamental to decision making in 2021 and beyond, as organisations unify data from all departments to ensure decisions are based on accurate intelligence. And this doesn’t mean security is compromised either. As a survey recently found, according to 63% of respondents, the cloud has improved cybersecurity protection.
To really drive productivity and efficiencies, organisations will need to adopt increased automation. In many process-heavy functions, such as finance, this will become increasingly essential to reduce errors, ensure accuracy but also free-up valuable skills for more strategic financial roles. As a PwC report found, “30-40% of the processing time for several key finance processes could be eliminated with automation and behavior change.”With true cloud-based infrastructures and platforms, organisations have the ability to integrate solutions and build for the future, to embrace automation and use improved surveillance to pinpoint and resolve issues faster. Given the uncertainty of the coming months, this can only be a good thing.