Reaching for the Cloud News BlockCompanies are utilizing cloud services for multiple reasons. In some cases, cloud services are more cost-effective than the cost of providing comparable services in-house using premise-based software.

In other instances, cloud services are allowing companies to obtain greater agility for scaling resources, accelerating time to market, and in other ways.

As cloud and other technologies have advanced and converged, there are increasingly new opportunities for companies to exploit cloud services to deliver value to the enterprise.

And business leaders have come to expect it. According to a 2015 study by Cisco and IDC which canvassed more than 3,600 enterprise executives about their current and future cloud usage, 53% expect the cloud to drive increased revenue over the next two years.

For instance, Google recently introduced a new cloud service for understanding human language. The launch of Google’s Cloud Natural Language API is aimed at helping software developers to create applications that can be used to understand human language. Sample applications may include chat bots and other apps that draw off artificial intelligence to understand what a person is saying and then generate an intelligent response (“What’s the nearest Chinese restaurant to Maple Avenue and Main St.?”).

One of the clear benefits of such cloud services is that it can help a client company to offer new products and services to its customers without having to build out its technological arsenal in areas where it lacks resources or expertise, such as AI or voice recognition. As the CEO of technology for the company, the CIO is expected to identify third-party cloud services that can deliver new waves of value to the organization.

Other types of emerging cloud services that can offer companies value include cloud services for blockchain security. IBM recently introduced blockchain cloud services that allow companies to test and run blockchain projects that handle private data securely. Potential blockchain projects include data on consumer loans held by a bank, millions of parts used by the participants in the shipping industry that can be tracked or digital assets that are exchanged between media companies. Such services can allow companies to certify the origin of high-value goods between business partners while protecting against counterfeiting and other types of security breaches.

Although they’ve been available for a few years now, cloud-based business intelligence and data visualization capabilities also offer tremendous value to the enterprise. Company executives and line-of-business leaders can access on-demand dashboards, analytics, and visualization tools that can be used to pinpoint revenue-generating opportunities such as the ability to spot a subtle customer behavioral change or market shift ahead of competitors to gain a competitive advantage.

Meanwhile, companies such as Verizon and AWS are jumping into hosted IoT services that could deliver value to companies in healthcare, energy, or consumer packaged goods (CPG). For instance, an energy company could leverage a hosted IoT network or even manage a private network to monitor lighting and HVAC systems used by commercial clients to help customers identify opportunity to slash energy usage and drive cost savings.

Successful CIOs understand that managing change is part of their jobs. As Bill VanCuren, VP and CIO at NCR recently pointed out in an HMG Strategy Transformational CIO blog post, “Innovation is a journey, not a ‘one-and-done’ event. The role of the CIO is critical in the process.” This includes the CIO’s capacity to identify emerging cloud services that can help take the enterprise to the next level.

Key Takeaways

  • Executives not only expect the cloud to reduce costs and improve agility, they also expect cloud services to help drive growth.
  • New opportunities continue to arise for companies to exploit cloud services to deliver value to the enterprise, including cloud-based BI and natural language capabilities.
  • As the CEO of technology for the company, the CIO is expected to identify third-party cloud services that can deliver new waves of value to the organization.