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Many of the benefits of adopting cloud technology and establishing strong working relationships with cloud providers are by now well known: They can boost efficiency, increase collaboration and drive up cost savings. Indeed, cloud's importance isn't strikingly apparent to just CIOs and IT executives. An IBM study published last year, which surveyed 802 cloud decision makers and users, predicted that 72% of business leaders will grow to realize cloud's strategic advantage -- 14% more than their IT counterparts. These cloud-enabled organizations reported almost double the revenue and about 2.5% higher gross profit than their more cautious peers, according to the study.
As the technology continues to mature and cloud services providers learn to align ever more closely with their customers' needs, companies capitalizing on the cloud are recognizing that its benefits, such as flexibility, agility and creativity, translate to a competitive advantage.
In SearchCIO's recent #CIOChat on cloud services provider management, which featured our tweet jam expert, Aquent CIO Larry Bolick, sharing his expertise, we asked participants how better partnerships could spell strategic gain.
Can improving relationships with cloud providers boost competitive advantage?
Bolick readily acknowledged that, in addition to the more overt perks, solid relationships with cloud providers also encourage innovation, particularly due to the agility it provides IT shops and the speed at which cloud technology is evolving. With the right mindset, enterprise customers can reap these benefits:
But also more subtly. Creativity in cloud space can push clients more than they push themselves. #CIOChat— Larry Bolick (@lbolick) July 30, 2014
Interesting thing about cloud space, though, is that it is changing rapidly. Clients can ride the wave with the right mindset. #CIOChat— Larry Bolick (@lbolick) July 30, 2014
But bettering these relationships means plenty more than just one-sided communication with your cloud services provider -- not exactly a piece of cake, according to Tim Crawford:
Indeed, cost savings are no longer the sole driver for moving to the cloud. "In almost all cases, if speed matters, cloud is going to win. If it's going to be about the ongoing cost of supporting this solution, on-premise is going to win," Forrester Analyst James Staten told SearchCIO in a recent interview. Cloud technology simply moves too fast.
Participant Brian Katz continued on the same vein, noting that treating cloud providers less as suppliers and more as strategic partners that enable creativity can make for more substantial relationships:
A1. It's not just about improving relationships but partnering with cloud providers to improve competitive advantages #CIOchat— Brian Katz (@bmkatz) July 30, 2014
Are strategic partnerships with cloud providers still far off?
Cloud technology is a different paradigm from traditional outsourcing, and thus requires a distinct, up-to-date approach to provider management. But many tweet jam participants, including Damon Edwards, feared that viewing cloud relationships in a strategic rather than transactional light might be several years off:
Crawford and Don MacVittie concurred, noting that today's generation of cloud providers needs to expand its focus outside of just technology needs:
How do you approach your relationship with cloud providers? Let us know in the comments section below.
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