White Paper: Global Cloud Perspectives
To help us understand what business leaders think about ‘the cloud’ and the impact of cloud collaboration to their businesses, we asked Forbes Insights to conduct research. In response, Forbes surveyed over 500 senior executives from global companies with sales ranging from $250 million to over $20 billion, and interviewed 15 executives. The study examined the ways business leaders increasingly look at cloud collaboration as a way to increase productivity, accelerate business results, and enhance innovation and collaboration across borders and functions.
The Collaborative Revolution
A collaborative revolution has been brewing for well over a decade. It began with surging traffic on the Internet and the overwhelming embrace of message boards, wikis, newsfeeds and email but has since expanded to include even more collaboration-focused enablers such as mobile and broadband, as well as applications such as business-oriented social media and video-conferencing. Today the revolution is reaching fever pitch, as a comparatively new crop of cloud-delivered, collaboration-focused strategies and applications is achieving broader adoption and delivering remarkable results
Companies today are taking more steps to enable an ever more intimate degree of collaboration between internal groups as far-ranging as finance, R&D, supply chain, production, marketing, logistics and IT. Moreover, the
most advanced among these are now pursuing competitive advantage beyond enterprise borders, seeking closer collaboration with customers, suppliers and other external groups.
Within this epoch, cloud is surfacing as the medium most capable of successfully managing the revolution: quickly, efficiently, and in ways that can manifest dramatic benefits.
Consider the ways cloud-based collaboration can:
• Accelerate business results. Business initiatives are implemented faster when the business is infused with cloud-based collaborative agility. So much so that nearly two out of three executives, 64%, say that cloud-based collaboration tools accelerate business results—a figure that rises to 82% among so-called “leaders” (see below: “Leaders vs. Laggards”).
• Revolutionize collaboration across time zones and functional boundaries. Over half—55%—say that cloud-based solutions are no mere evolution but rather represent a true revolution in collaborative effectiveness. This figure rises to 87% among “leaders.”All manner of companies are in fact using cloud-based collaborative tools to transcend not only geographies but also functional specializations. Interviewees and supporting statistics show that this is one of the key drivers behind the cloud’s ability to accelerate business results.
• Enable more-efficient business processes. 58% percent of total respondents—and 90% of “leaders”—say that cloud-based collaboration has the potential to improve virtually any set of processes.
Sometimes the improvements are emphatic, such as in cases where through collaboration, greater understanding is achieved and a process is refined. In other cases, the benefit is more indirect, such as where efficiency
accrues from a more connected, and therefore more closely aligned, cooperative and motivated workforce.
• Generate profound—or even disruptive—innovation. 95% of executives—93% of “leaders”—believe cloud-based collaboration stimulates innovation. Think of enhanced collaboration as a means of harnessing an ever wider range of functional and geographic resources. Thanks to cloud delivery, collaborative tools are now more ubiquitous. So more pure innovators are now more connected to others who may be more process-oriented, and so on. As more connections are established and nurtured, as greater understanding is achieved, better ideas germinate, with greater chances of reaching those in the best position to make things happen.