Top ten ways cloud computing drives innovation

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Maybe I’m just a little nostalgic about David Letterman retiring, but recently I felt inspired to pull together a “top ten” list that illustrates how companies are using cloud to spur innovation. Our research at the IBM Center for Applied Insights shows that leading companies are turning to cloud for business innovation, competitive advantage and growth—not just IT efficiencies. So, if your innovation plans don’t already include a hefty dose of cloud, here are ten reasons they should:

10. Leading companies are 71% more likely to use cloud to collaborate across the organization and ecosystem. Cloud enables connections. Businesses can collaborate and share knowledge and expertise on a global scale. That’s laying the foundation for innovative serendipity.

cloud innovation9. 65% of leading companies use cloud to make evidence-based decisions. Cloud helps companies provide insights at the point when decisions are made. It can also supply the computing horsepower needed to generate new ideas from more expansive and sophisticated analytics.

8. Leading companies are 128% more likely to have increased innovation through software as a service. SaaS offers speed. Having the ability to bring in new capabilities and functionality quickly allows companies to more rapidly transform business processes and deliver new services.

(Related: When it comes to SaaS, don’t let security scare you)

7. Leading companies are 79% more likely to use cloud to locate and leverage expertise. Cloud can help companies benefit from both scale and specialization. It can bring together crowds to draw on their collective wisdom. But it also allows businesses to tap niches of specialized skill or knowledge that were previously too difficult to find or engage.

6. 63% of leading companies say cloud is a key part of their integration and application of mobile technologies. Today, mobile is a major avenue of innovation – impacting both customers and employees. Cloud not only helps companies integrate their mobile apps with existing transactional systems; it also provides the scalable infrastructure these new apps require.

5. Leading companies are 74% more likely to use cloud to improve integration between IT development and operations (DevOps). Application development is often core to bringing innovation to market. And breaking down barriers between dev and ops means companies can design, test and deploy new capabilities faster.

cloud innovation 24. Leading companies are 170% more likely to use cloud-based analytics extensively to derive insights. As big data grows bigger, companies are turning to cloud for access to new and different sources of data – and for better ways to manage their own swelling data stores. Cloud-based analytics can also make it easier to tap multiple, disparate datasets within the same analysis process, generating new insights from these non-traditional data mash-ups.

3. Leading companies are 73% more likely to rapidly innovate products and services via cloud. In some companies, cloud helps improve the innovation process – enabling better communication and collaboration and ultimately faster development of new products and services. For others, cloud becomes an integral part of the new product or service itself.

(Related: Why do business leaders have their heads stuck in the clouds?)

2. Leading companies are 136% more likely to use cloud to reinvent customer relationships. Cloud enables companies to listen more broadly, dig through big data to learn customer preferences and deliver more relevant offers, products and services. It can also help integrate processes and systems to serve customers better or engage them in new social or mobile ways that weren’t feasible before.

1. 71% of leading companies have used SaaS to change their organization’s business model. With access to a constantly growing menu of cloud-based digital services, companies can imagine and build entirely new value propositions and revenue streams. And the cherry on top is having the ability to easily scale those models as their business grows.

That’s my list, but how are you using cloud to innovate?

For more information, visit IBM Center for Applied Insights or follow us on our blog, Pinterest, Twitter and hashtag #IBMCAI.

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