Enterprises are facing a major transition in IT. While cloud computing is not a new concept, some enterprises are slow to transition their IT organizations to focus on driving business innovation. And the stakes are incredibly high. Gartner estimates that worldwide IT spending will reach $3.7 trillion in 2014. In turn, IDC had a more conservative estimate of IT spending, but projected that more than $100 billion of overall spending, a year-over-year jump of 25 percent, would be directed to cloud services and supporting technologies.
The reality is that cloud computing represents a full-scale shift in not only the way that software is delivered but also the way software is architected. Software built native on the cloud has all these benefits, and more:
- It has the social, mobile and global features that enterprises need today to meet their business requirements.
- It’s easy to extend, by using clicks, instead of code.
- It’s multi-tenant, so it is always current — and whatever extensions have been made remain intact.
- It’s intuitive, so it’s much easier to learn, use and engage with the application.
The industry adage “no one gets fired for buying IBM” is still alive, with one caveat — it applies to SAP and Oracle, and several other industry stalwarts, as well. But these once-cutting-edge industry giants are struggling to adapt and fulfill the promise that cloud computing offers. As a result, many organizations are hamstrung by the huge, resource-intensive deployments that appear more expensive to replace than to maintain.
But not challenging the status quo in the enterprise has a wider impact than may be apparent.
- Slowing the evolution of opportunities to enter new markets. Business-critical software, like ERP, offers the ability to create new business processes and respond quickly to market changes. In a world driven by global, mobile and social communication, the ability to change systems and processes quickly and intuitively makes a substantial difference in the ability to remain competitive. A recent survey by industry analyst firm Oakton found that 47 percent of businesses heavily customized their legacy ERP software, mostly because they had to tailor the software to meet their requirements. The process was slow, costly to do and to maintain. Systems that require complex customizations — that cannot be maintained from one release to the next — slow down the organization.
- Losing out on best-of-breed technology and practices. The confluence of cloud computing and DevOps has spawned a new wave of businesses delivering enterprise solutions for everything from business intelligence to on-demand storage to business-critical software. The risk of not considering these new applications represents a risk of not embracing solutions that grant the speed and flexibility required in today’s market. On a related note, agile development itself is a fast-growing approach in the software development world but can also apply to the way that software is deployed within an enterprise context. By approaching deployment in agile “sprints” and minimizing the internal team required to deploy the system, the process can be cut by more than half.
- Stifling internal engagement and innovation. Cloud architecture enables the development of software that is easy to use and learn, in part because of the native social and mobile capabilities. Especially as a generation of Millennials is poised to make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020, CIOs must evaluate their portfolio of applications with their existing and future workforce in mind. Applications can now provide an immersive experience that facilitates adoption and engagement.
Technology is driving innovation ever faster within the global enterprise. The CIO (or, the new Chief Innovation Officer) is at the forefront of the organization — realizing new operational efficiencies and driving adoption of new tech, from the Internet of Things to Big Data and more. Enterprises need technology partners who can meet their requirements for long-term growth.
Software industry pioneer Sandra Kurtzig founded Kenandy in 2010 with the vision to transform enterprise management software. She did this first in 1972, when she founded ASK Computer Systems and created the groundbreaking MANMAN product family. Now, as chairman and CEO of Kenandy, she is driving the new industry paradigm of enterprise management on the cloud, supporting a global community of companies that design, manufacture and distribute products.