Cloud computing gets strategic: Reducing technology costs is just the starting point

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Of course, business ecosystems are not new; companies have long prospered through working with partners or via indirect sales channels. But what’s different here is the sheer number of possibilities in the so-called network of business platforms and the fact that the ecosystem can function in a self-service manner, with potential partners integrating with other cloud businesses as needed.

ADP, through deep integration, and Amazon, through versatile processes, exemplify how cloud computing can create strategic advantage and drive revenue growth. While many companies are only beginning to think about how they can more fully take advantage of cloud computing but are not yet ready to pursue an extensible enterprise strategy, it’s important to understand the strategy’s potential.

Companies can begin adapting their thinking and processes so they’ll be well positioned to pursue such a strategy when ready. For example, they begin reevaluating business processes. Most companies never consider the incremental value of exposing certain processes to third parties. Instead, they optimize processes to be highly integrated—even entangled—with other internal processes that are highly manual. However, organizations that are pursuing an extensible enterprise strategy start by overhauling processes: automating, digitizing, and modularizing them. 3

Moving forward

Cloud computing is here to stay. It’s an important business trend that is expected to significantly affect how business is conducted over the next decade and beyond. While companies today are just beginning to grasp its potential beyond the IT realm, its impact is expected to be profound.

Company leaders who continue to think of cloud computing as strictly a better IT solution will miss a considerable opportunity. Those who do see the possibilities, however, understand that a broader cloud computing strategy is about enabling business agility. They are raising the right questions with their management teams and beginning to incorporate a cloud approach into their companies’ growth strategies—starting today.


3 PwC, “Digital transformation in the ecosystem,” Technology Forecast, September 2010.

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