Software-as-a-Service, through the Cloud, is also changing the way enterprises work. Mission critical processes, like finance and HR, can now be done easily through subscription-based services. These allow enterprises to let their IT departments focus on value-adding or core activities, and not be bogged down by administration concerns and enabling IT for other departments/divisions. In addition, enterprises do not have to employ additional specialists for IT management, which is a huge concern for many in Hong Kong. Besides, they also benefit from best practices and global expertise from service providers.
Overall, the cost of doing business using IT has reduced considerably. Storing data and email can now be provisioned as a service, as well as other mission critical processes right up to disaster recovery. This has flattened the playing field, allowing medium enterprises and smaller peers to challenge established incumbents. In addition, it has allowed other enterprise functions, such as the COO and CMO, to change the way they work with the CIO to meet business goals.
Q: How should enterprises in Hong Kong use cloud for innovation?
Chong: Innovation has become a strategic consideration for many. In the past, operational effectiveness has been the main focus for large businesses. However with IT flattening the playing field, innovation has become the key focus. Clouds can be great engines of innovation.
Clouds automate deployment
In a constantly evolving organisation, deployment can be a serious drain on resources. A cloud solution that uses of pre-packaged integration, standards-based application programming interfaces and unique application delivery templates can alleviate this headache. The result: higher efficiency and lower risks because CIOs no longer have to orchestrate these complex operational processes. Vendors like F5 Networks have taken a step beyond by integrating network management capabilities to server virtualization. This reduces deployment complexity and increases efficiency and productivity.
Clouds remove administration burden
With clouds onboard, CIOs can look to further reduce their operational burden by outsourcing part of their infrastructure. Some organisations have even outsourced their entire infrastructure, alleviating worries about talent shortage or managing the infrastructure. All CIOs have to do is manage these outsourcing relationships, so that they are constantly aligned with your business goals. This unshackles their IT teams from administration tasks, allowing them to focus on enabling innovation.
Clouds enables collaboration
Innovation is often a result of collaboration. According to the Forbes Insight survey, a majority of cloud proponents have experienced great opportunities for innovation due to better collaboration. By enabling collaboration across various devices and locations, clouds improve innovation by several folds.
Clouds blurs the line between CIO and other CXOs
By democratising IT, clouds have allowed the IT burden to be shared among different departments. CIOs are no longer the only IT experts, with CMOs and COOs now able to subscribe to new Cloud services. This has changed the way CXOs work with CIOs, and has enabled IT innovation to occur across the organisation. It has also allowed CIOs to become forward-thinking IT strategists who focus on core processes and competitive differentiators that align with long-term business goals.