A Forbes Insights survey of over 500 corporate CIOs and executives establishes that the cloud has become an accepted tool for businesses of all types and that it’s a major driver of success. While cloud computing has multiple uses, many companies are focusing on collaboration as the killer app. The cloud lets companies collaborate internally as well as share data with outsiders (such as customers and suppliers) to externally collaborate. Some of the benefits of cloud-based collaboration include these:
- Easier innovation. By making collaboration easier, clouds make innovation easier, too.
- Wide application. Clouds might have gotten started in the IT department, but, in the minds of 90 percent of the leaders surveyed, they can improve business processes throughout the organization.
- Timeless and stateless. The cloud is a place in and of itself without physical separation, time differences, or even incompatible network security schemes. When business collaborate on the cloud, they do it regardless of external factors. Mobile computing tools that connect to the cloud, like smartphones and tablets, also contribute to the cloud’s ability to enable anytime, anywhere collaboration.
- Competitive advantage. Of those surveyed, 78 percent of companies said that their cloud-based systems for collaboration gave them a competitive advantage. Then again, given the widespread acceptance of collaboration in the cloud, the competitive advantage for cloud users may have changed into a competitive disadvantage for those few companies that aren’t leveraging the technology.
- Cost savings. While the bandwidth for effective use of the cloud isn’t always inexpensive, the savings that the cloud brings more than cover its additional costs: 86 percent of companies surveyed said that their cloud tools are reducing operating costs.
While the majority of executives surveyed are positive on the cloud, there is still a divide between CIOs and the rest of the C-suite. Only 59 percent of executives who aren’t CIOs feel that the cloud spurs innovation, while the number jumps to 93 percent when CIOs are included. CIOs are also more positive about the cloud’s ability to increase a business‘s speed of execution.