Whether you consciously recognize it or not, we are all being affected by the increasing rate of change throughout business.  One statistic is: what used to take 10 years to change now can change in one year.  While the increasing rate of business change may or may not be affecting your job specifically, there are massive changes that are affecting entire industries.  For example, the move of consumers away from traditional cable and over to Amazon, Netflix or Hulu is a full-on movement called “Cut the Cord”.  This is an example of “Disruptive Innovation” where significant changes are forced on industries that have been dominated by a certain business model.  In the recent past, this was often attributed to Apple (think the iPod or iPhone).  However, due to the advances in technology, many start-ups can disrupt an industry if they can create an innovative business model. Often times, these innovations come from “the cloud” to enable easy access by anyone and cost-effective technology.  If your organization isn’t actively formulating your cloud strategy, it is high time that it starts.  Being a company focused on effective use of data, below are some ways to get a lot more flexibility, scalability and cost-savings from your data than in the past.

In the past, using corporate data was an expensive and time-consuming proposition.  That was due to the fact that the traditional data center (which everyone was tied to), had very specific limitations.  Buying SANs were expensive and time-consuming to implement.  Business intelligence and data warehouse software (and staff to implement and support) was expensive also.  All this added up to huge projects with long implementation schedules run by the “big boys” of the IT world.  So unless an organization had a seven figure budget, the top technologies were out of reach.  Not anymore!

Fast forward a few years and disruptive innovation is affecting the industry.  Now, most major vendors have a cloud strategy.  In fact, IBM has moved to major business intelligence products to the cloud.  New vendors (e.g., Amazon Web Services, AWS) have contributed heavily to the disruption by offering flexible, scalable infrastructure at a very competitive price.  By creating the infrastructure, other business intelligence vendors are now encouraged to offer their products via the Amazon Marketplace.

The benefits of moving to the cloud are clear and indisputable.  If you’re not familiar, see this article on the value of going to the cloud.  Fortunately, the security in the cloud and with cloud vendors has progressed significantly over the last few years.  For example, Amazon Web Services has a variety of certifications to handle many different types of secure data safely.  Couple this with the advantage of being able to create new servers in minutes rather than days or weeks, it provides a huge help both for the IT group AND the CFO.  Rather than in the past where companies spent many thousands of dollars in a new implementation that may not show benefits; now cloud vendors can enable incredibly fast and low-cost prototypes…or even full-scale production-ready systems.  These can be created at a fraction of the traditional price and with no need to hire several new staff to develop and maintain the system.  By thoughtfully moving to the cloud with your data, organization can innovate at the speed of business while still maintaining high security and controlling costs.