Enabling real innovation with cloud platforms

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Innovation Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.It isn’t surprising that cloud adoption is top of mind for many. Organizations of all sizes are looking to increase their cloud usage in 2016.

Much of the motivation is based on the financial benefits that cloud computing models provide. This includes:

  • virtualizing workloads to improve efficiency
  • automating elements to decrease time to market and
  • shifting long-term capital expenditures to operational costs based on consumption.

While these are great reasons for looking at cloud computing models, the innovation and culture change made possible by cloud is often lost with this limited perspective.

Implementing a cloud strategy alone is not truly innovative. Cloud is the platform which allows for business transformation. This is no different than mobile phones being introduced as an enabler for applications. On their own, mobile phones enabled always-on connectivity, but the true value of these phones is in serving as a platform where applications can be downloaded and run by users. This same scenario is happening within enterprises as cloud platforms are being introduced, enabling developers to build disruptive solutions. The key is in making the platform easily available to users.

Availability has traditionally been a problem within IT, but that can be addressed using cloud-based service management.

Consider a supply-chain-management example using a “push-versus-pull” inventory. “Push” means that a central distribution center pushes out inventory to retailers as it is received and approved. This ensures greater consistency and quality, but also requires a thorough understanding of retailer demand.

In a “pull” inventory model, retailers tell the central distribution center what they need. This approach enables greater flexibility for the retailers, since they have greater control of their own demands. It creates a desired “just in time” culture, but also incurs risks involving lead time and quality control.

This is similar to IT procurement in many enterprises. Technology services are pushed once they are thoroughly reviewed and approved for use, but that system is not fast enough for today’s agile business environment (motivating the emergence of shadow IT).

Cloud technologies enable organizations to shift to a pull model for technology while addressing the key risk of lead time because provisioning is less of a concern. Additionally, by offering a brokered marketplace, organizations are able to address quality issues (since vendors within the marketplace are vetted). This enables users to control what they want and when they get it. Ultimately, these types of strategies allow IT departments to transform how they approach service delivery and create an environment in which the latest tools are always available.

Cloud platforms enable the creation of disruptive tools that fit into new business models, increase customer engagement, and enable better social experiences. Each organization will have a different journey to this pull-based IT service destination, but understanding what each user needs to start becoming innovative can help frame the first steps. Learn more about the use of cloud platforms for faster service management at IBM Cloud.

IBM Cloud Advisor

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