Cloud computing has come a long way in recent years as business leaders have overcome initial concerns about the security of storing and transmitting sensitive data in the cloud. Fully three-quarters of business leaders today are engaged in a cloud strategy, according to PwC’s inaugural US Cloud Business Survey, while nine out of 10 say they are “all-in” on cloud or have adopted it many parts of the business.
In addition, more than half (56%) of executives see the cloud as a strategic platform for growth and innovation. Unfortunately, nearly as many business leaders (53%) say they have yet to realize substantial value from their cloud investments. In other words, there’s a substantial value realization gap when it comes to recognizing and realizing the potential of cloud computing.
What Executives Want from Cloud Computing
The main business outcomes executives who responded to the PwC survey said they seek are improved resiliency and agility, better decision-making, and product and service innovation. Each was listed by about a third of the survey respondents. However, only about half of them said they have achieved these cloud objectives.
So what can business leaders and executives do to try to close the value realization gap with cloud computing? The PwC survey suggests four potential strategies:
1. Get in alignment on strategy and value. The survey found disconnects among executives when it comes to defining and quantifying the value of cloud computing. About a quarter of them define value as achieving faster innovation, while 20% define it as improved resilience and 19% define it as increased revenue. These differing views are symptomatic of the fact that some companies haven’t made clear strategic choices when it comes to their cloud investments.
The key is to make your cloud strategy part of your overall business strategy. To do so, you must make specific choices about how cloud computing can differentiate your business. For example, what digital and technology capabilities will cloud computing allow you to develop? What customer problems will it help you solve? And how can you embed cloud computing to enable end-to-end digital transformation?
2. Bridge the digital talent divide. The shift to the cloud has intensified the talent challenges many businesses today are facing. More than half (52%) of respondents to the PwC survey say that a lack of technology talent (such as cloud architecture and cybersecurity) is a barrier to their companies realizing full value from their cloud investments.
One way to solve this problem is to implement digital upskilling for all employees, not just technology employees. A digital upskilling program should focus not only on enhancing technical skills, but also on teaching new ways of working and creating new learning pathways. It should also develop programs designed to cultivate cloud computing skills.
3. Address risk concerns and build trust. Half of the PwC survey respondents view security and business risks as a significant barrier to realizing the value of cloud computing. In particular, they’re concerned that relying on third-party cloud service providers could increase their vulnerabilities and erode trust with customers, employees and other stakeholders.
To overcome these concerns, strive to build trust in cloud-based services. For example, some cloud services providers issue trust-based attestation reports assuring customers that their products and services have been thoroughly reviewed and certified by a third party. Addressing risk concerns early on provides an opportunity to build trust with customers and differentiate a company’s product and services.
4. Use cloud computing to advance ESG goals. Cloud computing can play an instrumental role in corporate efforts to achieve goals related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. One-third of the PwC survey respondents said that they understand the impact of the cloud on governance aspects of ESG and they have implemented a plan to leverage the cloud to improve their ESG strategy and reporting.
Cloud computing can support companies’ ESG efforts in several different ways, including through cloud-based data management and reporting. This helps automate the reporting process while standardizing data and increasing transparency. Moving data to a third-party cloud service provider can also help reduce a company’s carbon footprint, since emissions from a data storage facility are usually considered scope 1 or scope 2 emissions.
Managing Finance and Accounting in the Cloud
Finance as a Service, or FaaS, has emerged a service offering with one of the most popular cloud applications today. With FaaS, all aspects of finance and accounting are managed by a third-party SOC 1 certified service provider.
Consero offers a fully managed software platform that’s equipped with pre-integrated, enterprise-grade finance and accounting software, featuring digital processes and workflows. This platform provides access to a comprehensive set of finance and accounting tools including:
- Cloud accounting software
- Customer invoicing and vendor billing
- Employee expense approvals and payments
- Statutory and management financial reporting
- Task management and workflow software
- Graphical metrics and KPIs
With Consero’s cloud-based finance and accounting solution, you can complete a full digital transformation in 30 to 90 days — much less time than it would take to build an in-house finance and accounting function.
To learn more about the benefits of FaaS and Consero’s integrated finance and accounting platform, please request your complimentary consultation today.