Cloud is rapidly becoming the core platform for adding innovation and business value to an organisation. We are often overlooking some of the more obvious places where cloud can have a much bigger and immediate impact on IT productivity. Areas such as mobile solutions, the Internet of Things and cognitive computing can revolutionise the business processes.

[easy-tweet tweet=”#Cloud is rapidly becoming the core platform for adding innovation and business value to an organisation.”]

So where is the cloud likely to have the biggest impact on IT productivity in 2016? We have identified the following business cases where cloud can provide a step change in efficiency and effectiveness, enabling business and IT leaders to not only improve IT productivity but seize the opportunity to progress their enterprise capabilities and their personal careers.

1. Making mergers and acquisitions seamless

In the intense negotiations around mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, cloud services might not be top of mind. However, they can make these processes much more painless in a number of ways.

They can help organisations to realise synergy benefits more quickly, simplify integration while accelerating the change programme, reduce costs through efficiencies, mitigate costly migration investments and encourage financial flexibility.

Any merger or acquisition is a critical business moment with complex processes to be negotiated, so it’s worth looking at how these can be simplified.

2. Preparing for the unexpected

A systems failure or security breach could hit at any time and while preparing for the unexpected may seem an impossible task, a lack of sufficient testing is often to blame.

Testing via the cloud has a range of benefits including rapid access to resources, cloning and provisioning, shared access to testing resources and an expanded range of tests that can be covered, which can be useful for simulating the unexpected demands created by a malicious attack.

Leaders should start by assessing their current test practices and services against the cloud testing possibilities available – which could help the business to be better prepared in the event of an incident.

3. Building an agile edge

Customer expectations are ever-growing and as such, businesses are under constant pressure to provide continually improved customer experiences. This requires a systematic and iterative approach to leveraging a range of technologies – meaning fast, agile development is required, as well as rapid access to new innovations.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Business leaders are coming to realise that cloud enables a culture change to design-first thinking” hashtags=”cloud, tech”]

Business leaders are coming to realise that cloud enables a culture change to design-first thinking and agile practices – enabling them to better manage unpredictable demands.

4. Increasing IT efficiency

Business leaders responsible for IT are launching cloud-based transformation programmes to make a step change in IT productivity and increase the velocity of new function delivery.

Cloud technology models provide well documented and ready to use, standardised IT services which allow organisations to focus on the service rather than the technology details. Increasingly, IT leaders are starting to review their existing systems to assess which can be moved to cloud technologies unchanged, and which require re-platforming, reworking or replacement.

5. Addressing privacy concerns

With the proliferation of data and increasingly connected systems, today’s business leaders are faced with mounting regulatory requirements, putting growing pressure on IT systems. Failure to meet these requirements can have critical business impact.

[easy-tweet tweet=”One solution business leaders are looking to in order to manage this is moving to a private #cloud” hashtags=”tech”]

One solution business leaders are looking to in order to manage this is moving to a private cloud – dedicated solely to their organisation to enable greater control and privacy.

6. Implementing business transformation  

Whether the business is responding to a perceived competitive threat, implementing a major new programme, or appointing a new executive, business change is an ideal time to consider the value of cloud services.

Cloud services simplify collaboration with partners, provide a framework for developing and enabling innovative ideas to be rapidly deployed and scaled up in response to changes in demand – making business change a far more seamless, painless process.

As these business cases demonstrate, business leaders are already recognising the power of the cloud and the opportunities it provides across various disparate functions. As we look forward to 2016, the cloud will only become more vital to organisations looking to revolutionise their IT operations, providing the IT department the opportunity to demonstrate its value beyond a support function to a driver of business change.

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Sebastian leads IBM’s strategic growth initiative and cloud computing organisation in Europe. He is directing a team of sales, services, channel, technical and marketing professionals across the geography to deliver value to thousands of clients through IBM’s cloud offerings and integrated solutions. Sebastian is also a member of IBM’s Growth and Transformation Team which consists of IBM's top 300 senior executives, designed to lead growth and transformation efforts across the entire company. Sebastian has held various senior leadership roles in IBM. Most recently, he served as Vice President, Global Storage Sales, in IBM’s Systems Group, based in New York (USA). In this role, he successfully transformed and led IBM’s world-wide storage sales organisation. Prior to that, Sebastian was Vice President, Software Group, Northeast Europe, based in IBM’s Zurich (Switzerland) office. He was responsible for all sales, marketing and the technical professionals supporting IBM’s software portfolio across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Past assignments include Vice President, Software Group, Germany, and Director of Sales Operations for Software Group in Europe, Middle East, Africa out of IBM's office in Paris (France). Sebastian started his career as a student trainee at IBM in 1991 and earned a degree in Business Economics and Information Technology from the Technische Fachhochschule in Berlin (Germany). He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Henley Management College in London (United Kingdom). Sebastian is a results-oriented business leader, with extensive leadership experience in multiple business areas and a proven track record focusing on and delivering client value. Sebastian is a well sought after keynote speaker on business and leadership topics. His personal leadership philosophy is based on the conviction that success relies on a leader’s ability to assess and understand the operating environment, build rapport, clearly communicate a strong vision and motivate for engagement and execution.