No matter how you slice it, the cloud has engendered enormous changes in business. It has enabled companies in all stages of maturity the ability to scale operations, provided the flexibility to rollout of new products and services, and has offered new (and better) ways to support internal functions such as HR, sales, and marketing.

Arguably the most dramatic impact that the cloud has generated is the disruption of entire industries. Companies like Uber, Lending Club, and Airbnb have introduced cloud-enabled business models that have completely overturned the transportation, financial services, and hospitality industries. The business transformations that have been provoked by the use of the cloud present a pivotal opportunity for CIOs to identify new ways for leading the business ahead of competitors.

One of the ways that CIOs can leverage the cloud is by identifying how the cloud might be used by a company to expand its product and services lines to reach a fresh set of consumers. This includes how the cloud can be leveraged to provide consumers with a direct path to products or services as well as a means of providing consumers with greater value than what’s currently being offered within a particular market.

For instance, an automaker can utilize a combination of the cloud and telematics capabilities to provide innovative, predictive diagnostic services to customers on their vehicles to help prevent breakdowns before they occur.

CIOs can also apply their business savvy to help identify opportunities for their companies to develop new business models. For instance, Zopa is a U.K.-based lender that uses the cloud to provide consumers with peer-to-peer loans which cut out the middleman while enabling the company to wrest market share from traditional lenders.

The cloud is also enabling established companies to support its customers more effectively. For example, SunTrust Banks now utilizes the cloud to simplify back-end services such as underwriting and loan origination for both employees and customers.

Meanwhile, forward-looking CIOs can evaluate ways that the cloud can be used to enable a company to expand revenue opportunities outside of its industry. For instance, SDL started out as a language translation company in the early 1990s but has since used the cloud to expand into other markets such as helping companies to gather and analyze social intelligence to deliver personalized and relevant ads on a consumer’s mobile device at the right time and location.

Ultimately for CIOs who are looking to deliver increased value to the enterprise, it’s about exploiting the cloud and other technologies to provide the organization with a level of agility that it previously didn’t possess. “How do we develop a next-gen infrastructure, one that services today’s workloads and tomorrow’s and gives customers the greatest likelihood of success?” says Vaughn Stewart, Vice President, Enterprise Architecture at Pure Storage in an HMG Strategy video. “That means it has to be scalable, affordable, and most importantly, it has to be able to reverse the operational overhead that is just burdening staffs everywhere. CIOs aren’t going to be able to take on new initiatives unless they can drive some agility out of their workforce.”

The cloud offers CIOs incredible opportunities to obtain the kind of business agility that’s needed for their companies to succeed in today’s fast-changing business environment.

Key Takeaways

  • Companies like Uber, Lending Club, and Airbnb have introduced cloud-enabled business models that have completely disrupted industries.
  • CIOs can exploit the cloud to identify opportunities to deliver products and services to reach a new set of consumers.
  • Forward-looking CIOs can also evaluate ways that the cloud can be used to enable a company to expand revenue opportunities outside of its existing industry.