We had started to use SaaS versions of our standard business applications in the 2005-2010 timeframe.
Our users were delighted with the rapid introduction of new functionality furnished by the SaaS vendors, and we were delighted with the lower support costs relative to our legacy systems. Over the past five years, we've become SaaS providers ourselves. Most of the applications that we employ in the company today are really just "mash-ups" of various business services. Most of our users don't know if a specific service is being delivered from our ERP system, our customer support system, our eCommerce system, etc. They merely subscribe to the services they need to do their jobs. We don't try to push functionality at them anymore. They just pull what they want and need, and then they share it more broadly across different functional teams and geographic groups than we ever had before.
Big payoffs of cloud computing
One of the big payoffs of cloud computing for our organisation is that it freed up a lot of the time we used to spend managing hardware. We redirected that time to managing the data and information that feeds our business applications, and this has had a much bigger impact on the effectiveness of our day-to-day business operations.
We live in a world today that is quite radically different from the world that existed just five years ago.
We no longer spend 60 cents of every IT dollar on application maintenance, data centre operations, facility expenses, etc. Instead, we spend 60 cents of our IT dollars on delivering new application services and new forms of "clean data" to our end-users. The IT staff is actually a lot happier - they realise that we are generating real value for our business partners and not just running around frantically trying to maintain a bunch of under-utilised hardware and software. We're also a lot closer to achieving the mythical state of "IT and Business Alignment" that still shows up on Gartner's Top Research Topics for 2015.
Now if they could just build a coffee cup warmer into my tablet ...
Mark Settle, chief information officer for BMC Software, joined the company in 2008. He has served as the CIO of four Fortune 300 companies: Corporate Express, Arrow Electronics, Visa International, and Occidental Petroleum. Settle has worked in a variety of industries including consumer products, high-tech distribution, financial services, and oil and gas. He received his bachelor and master's degrees from MIT and a PhD from Brown University. He is also a former Air Force officer and NASA Program Scientist.
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