The role of chief information officers is becoming increasingly complex over time, as companies are rapidly expanding their operations and using more technology to do so. Every business is looking to gather more data, share more information between departments and become more agile while tackling the business problems of the 21st century.
Oftentimes, that means being more reliant on cloud computing services, which have risen to prominence in recent years as the best mechanisms for storing information in a way that’s easily accessible for both co-workers within departments and customers in the outside world. The rise of the cloud has been one of the most notable IT trends of the last few years, as the technology has become stronger and more economically viable for companies everywhere.
As the cloud has improved, the economic factors surrounding the technology have evolved over time. Like with any other commodity, the cloud is subject to the laws of supply and demand, and changing market factors have had a significant effect on technology leaders’ willingness to spend. The Harvard Business Review recently highlighted the arc of cloud economics in the last few years. Drue Reeves and Daryl Plummer, both senior executives at Gartner, asserted that companies must be introspective to figure out how the cloud economy affects their business models.
“The financial reasons for the huge growth of cloud services seem crystal clear: cloud computing simply allows us to pay for what we need only when we need it, right?” Reeves and Plummer wrote. “But the truth is, companies adopting cloud computing often miss the risk and depth of change needed to embrace a cloud economics model as they embrace cloud services. It turns out that the financial model for cloud computing has far more nuances for both a company and its cloud services provider than many people understand up front.”
The market for cloud computing has seen several developments in recent years. Let’s look at a few:
As The Harvard Business Review explained, companies now have a wider variety of cloud service options available to them. In the past, data storage was a complicated undertaking, requiring significant upgrades in hardware and deep operating budgets, but times have since changed. Providers today are giving companies the options of using smaller, more customizable services, adjusted to fit the specific scales of their operations. It’s not just that more cloud services are out there – it’s a greater diversity, too.
According to a Computerworld report, companies have begun stocking up on cloud services. Because various providers are offering smaller services that are easier and more affordable to implement, companies are able to mix and match, buying a variety of different cloud solutions. For example, they could use one for processing employee salaries and benefits, one for e-commerce and one for logging customer service concerns. Rather than dabbling in the cloud, companies are now diving in enthusiastically.
In short, it’s a buyer’s market out there. Countless companies are coming out with cloud solutions that can improve businesses’ operations, and the more providers there are, the clearer it becomes that increased competition will drive prices down. This in turn prompts more sales, which perpetuates the chain reaction – even more providers are getting into the business. In the end, both sides win. Companies and their CIOs get high-tech solutions that will make them stronger, and for the cloud providers, business is booming.
Every product becomes more palatable to buyers over time. Cars, televisions and personal computers were all through-the-roof expensive when first introduced, but as economic factors and increased production emerged over time, the products became cheaper and thus more commonplace. For CIOs at high-tech companies today, the cloud is undergoing that same transformation.