Today, cloud and mobile technologies have driven a status change in IT. IT is still expected to provide excellent infrastructure services to their internal stakeholders but technology is now key to business transformation, with cloud and mobile apps being a key facilitator in that change.
Carolyn Fairbairn is UK Director-General for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), a UK business organisation which speaks for 190,000 businesses. She says, “Businesses globally are in the throes of an extraordinary digital revolution that is transforming productivity and creating a new generation of winning companies.”
The CBI recommends appointing a Chief Digital or Technology Officer to the senior executive team to drive digital strategy and execution. Many successful digital pioneers across the sectors have done this and experienced transformation – with the CIO 100 awards showcasing one hundred inspiring leaders.
They are the sort of people who have utilised cloud and mobile apps to address the changing competitive nature of the digital landscape: the emergence of a fast, always-on marketplace; a global, web-enabled customer base; and customers and partners who are highly interactive, responsive and demanding.
Companies that are leveraging a ‘cloud and mobile first’ strategy to meet the challenges of the new digital economy are gaining significant advantage.
New technology models allow organisations to be far more agile than in the past, responding swiftly to changing customer demands and business events. They ultimately enable them to be far more competitive.
Employees can also work more efficiently than in the past: tailoring workflows and process and replacing manual operations with integrated digital ones.
Today’s customer and employee-facing apps have intuitive mobile interfaces, meaning user input can be captured anywhere. As a result, business process is being transformed by automated workflow and the ability for the user to make business decisions wherever they are.
Cloud and mobile also make good use of data analytics. Social and mobile computing, IoT sensors, and high levels of customer interaction are generating a lot of useful business information that can be mined and analysed to gain competitive edge.
Salesforce Research surveyed more than 2,200 global IT leaders and CIOs for its 2016 State of IT Report, which says, “IT leaders are leveraging new tech solutions to manage the back end while freeing up their teams to focus on innovation and delivering business results. IT leaders across all performance levels list cloud migration as their top priority.”
The report adds, “Nearly two-thirds of companies that operate in the cloud rate their ability to digitally scale as above average. Cloud services allow companies to off-load data management, operating system development, and even design, so they can produce higher-quality apps as fast as consumers expect them.”
“73% of cloud-enabled companies say their executive team is leading the business in a digital transformation,” states the report.
As well as leading their businesses strategically, forward-thinking IT leaders are also empowering their workforces to build their own customised apps, giving them the tools to transform the business themselves. Salesforce App Cloud is an example of a Platform-as-a-Service ecosystem that can be used to build, discover and run all your apps. The platform allows you to develop and scale apps quickly, with the apps themselves enabling workers to act fast, whether that means on-boarding new employees; fulfilling orders; or responding to customer service requests.
With App Cloud, apps can be built by anyone in days and weeks, not months or years – even by non-technical users – with drag-and-drop tools such as, Lightning App Builder and Lightning Process Builder.
As for more technical developers, they can create their own apps in their language of choice. IT organisations can also access prebuilt apps on the App Exchange, Salesforce’s enterprise app global marketplace.
Apps can listen to event data from anything, like your products, mobile devices, web sites, customers or sensors and take smart actions based on the criteria you specify. As a result, the business can be more efficient and competitive.
We’re in the middle of an app revolution and the implications for businesses are huge, even if they don’t think of themselves as an app business. The reality is, new business processes are improved by cloud computing every single day, and the technology is becoming easier to master.
The beauty of a platform like App Cloud is that the IT organisation can lead the business and show it the way, demonstrating how technologies such as cloud, mobile and analytics can be a catalyst for business transformation. Consequently, the potential impact the CIO has on the business is bigger than ever before.