Cloud strategy

By Stijn Viaene, professor of Management Information Systems
(Source: Smart Business Strategies, October 2011)

  • Professor at KULeuven and Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School
  • Partner at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School
  • Deloitte Research Chair Bringing IT to Board Level

A cloud strategy is an absolute necessity. There you are: the answer to one of the questions I’m most often asked these days. Even by consultants. Cloud is not a question of participating or not. Is it technologically feasible? Then you can bet your boots it’ll be coming your way. How and when you best utilise the technological possibilities are still very pertinent questions. That’s why you need a strategy.

Hope springs eternal. Fear too. Certainly in technology land. The hope of innovation and the fear of falling behind are powerful motives for adopting technology. But caution is indispensable. Place your hope within a clearly defined ambition. Allay your fear with sound risk management. This is the only way to elude the vale of disillusion on your way to using the technology successfully.

Consider the big picture

Without a doubt, what complicates cloud discussions is the complex nature of the topic: there is the obvious ‘make or buy’ decision, but there is also the question concerning internal reorganisation. We’ve known for a while now that technological innovation in a business context can only really generate benefits when it’s provided with the necessary organisational complements like innovative business processes and capable workers and management. So, look at the big picture when you’re hoping to draw value from cloud.

You can go ahead and be ambitious – cloud brings more and better ‘business process sourcing’ possibilities than ever before. Many of our SMEs have understood this well and are taking full advantage of this opportunity for ‘smart growth’. Cloud is an unqualified boon for Belgian entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, larger organisations all too often restrict their discussion to exploiting their current business model. In that case, they need not expect dramatic improvement.

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