Businesses tie cloud use to greater engagement with employees and customers


By Neil Amato

Businesses are far more likely to use cloud technology to enable a flexible and mobile workforce than they were two years ago, and that’s leading to higher employee satisfaction and productivity, according to a new report.

KPMG surveyed 539 business executives around the world and found that half cite intellectual property theft as the top challenge in using cloud technology. But that’s not stopping organisations from using the cloud as a way to better connect workers and improve alignment and interaction with customers, suppliers, and business partners, KPMG found.

The top use of cloud technology remains driving cost efficiencies, an advantage cited by 49% of executives in 2014 and 48% in 2012. Enabling a flexible and mobile workforce was cited as a driver of cloud usage by 42% in the most recent survey, compared with 15% who cited that in the 2012 survey.

“Employees today demand the same access, experience, and richness on their work computers and mobile devices as they have on their personal devices,” Mark Shank, managing director of the digital and mobile practice at KPMG, said in a news release. “Cloud is making that possible, and organisations are turning to it to enable a more flexible and mobile workforce.”

The survey said that executives cite increased employee productivity (54%) and higher employee satisfaction and flexibility (48%) as the top two benefits of using cloud technology to improve workforce mobility.

The percentage of executives concerned about theft of intellectual property has dropped since the 2012 survey, from 78% to 50%. Also on the decline: concern about data loss and privacy risks (53% in 2014, down from 83% in 2012).

The KPMG report offered five tips for companies to maximise success in cloud transformation initiatives:

  1. Make cloud transformation a continuous process. Cloud adoption should not be viewed as another project but instead as a journey that spans from strategy through execution.
  2. Drive cloud transformation from the top. A centralised, senior-level team should manage the transformation and guide strategic decisions.
  3. Focus on strong leadership and engagement. Cultural alignment is important to managing the change. Executives should first focus on getting buy-in and support of cross-functional business leaders.
  4. Avoid silos. Businesses and IT should collaborate to help embed change into every aspect of an organisation. Cloud transformations are successful when everyone is working side by side.
  5. Measure success. Develop realistic and measurable outcomes for cloud projects that are linked to business objectives. “A value- and metrics-driven approach to cloud transformation enables the organisation to know when milestones are reached and stay focused on achieving strategic goals,” KPMG said.

Related CGMA Magazine content:

Companies Aware of, but Not Acting on, Need to Alter Engagement Strategies”: Most companies are aware of the need to focus more on employee engagement, but few say they are doing enough to adapt to coming changes, according to a global report by Hay Group.

Four Tips for Managing Remote Workers”: Good communication with employees in other buildings or other continents is the biggest difficulty CIOs face in managing those workers. A 2014 survey of US CIOs also lists four tips to better manage remote workers.

Neil Amato (namato@aicpa.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.

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