The convergence of industries with technology has shaped our lives and our businesses and offered a number of ways of doing things differently and, hopefully, more effectively. I am a strategist and former practicing product development engineer who has worked in both large multinationals and small, startup environments. Critical to these two disciplines is the need to make good decisions about the company vision, direction and innovation based on foresight and trends, customer needs and wants, regional dynamics and competitive positioning.

Building a wishlist

“This is indeed the age of technology and disruption, and cloud is certainly among movers and shakers of this dynamic shift.”

Any good decision maker’s wishlist also includes the desire to make those decisions in as close to real time as possible, to anticipate market dynamics and to shape markets using these aforementioned decision support requirements. In order to do this, good, actionable intelligence and insight that is grounded in a solid, synthesized, viable data set is one of the most important elements.

When referring to a viable data set, I mean real-time data with trending capabilities — a data set that is derived from a variety of global sources, validated and resides in a secure collection, analysis and dissemination environment. All of this is underpinned by a cost structure that is in line with company budgets, but doesn’t sacrifice quality results that provide a solid foundation to support organizational decision makers. Sound impossible?

Cloud-based disruption

In the past, coming close to this laundry list of demands was difficult, but certainly more realistic for big corporations with large budgets. Cloud technology has changed the game, enabling better decision capabilities while creating a more even playing field for small, innovative organizations that compete against the giants of industry.

This is indeed the age of technology and disruption, and cloud is certainly among movers and shakers of this dynamic shift. In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute rates cloud among the top 12 technologies that are predicted to collectively contribute economic output value of $33 trillion in revenue by 2025. Not only will cloud support businesses, it will create opportunities for suppliers that help to build those infrastructures for organizations of all kinds.

The advantages, while still being developed and improved upon, are many. While I make no claims to expertise in cloud infrastructure implementation, I can make the case, as a strategist, for cloud infrastructure as an enabler of robust intelligence, insight and analytics-supported decisions and a strategy that drives competitive advantage, regardless of industry.

Cloud benefits

Here are a few elements to help you drive your small to midsize business case.

Cloud is scalable and flexible. If your organization needs robust analytics with large data sets and limited analyst resource requirements, cloud infrastructure offers full-scale data collection to support analytical capabilities that can be expanded and reduced as needed.

Cloud offers cost structure transfer of risk from CAPEX to operational spend. This frees up funds if your organization needs competitive, expert analytical capabilities on a limited budget.

Cloud offers productivity capabilities improvement, in which multiple users work simultaneously on the same data sets. Robust analysis relies on collection and analysis from a variety of contributors and the integration and synthesis of that data. Collaboration tools enabled by cloud technology have created multilayered, internal and external strategic insights.

Cloud offers collection and storage of data. If your organization is required to develop actionable intelligence that is derived from multiple data points that are vetted and secure, cloud allows for secure access and storage of critical data sets and drives to more real-time, early warnings.

At the end of the day, what every strategist cares about is making good decisions that help their organization build a vision for the future and not breaking the bank trying to do it. While cloud technology itself is a disruptor, it is also an enabler of disruption for the organizations that implement a cloud infrastructure today.