Organisations are looking to the cloud to change not only how they buy and consume IT, but also how the cloud actually impacts the business.
In fact, one of the main drivers for organisations deploying cloud applications is to improve operational agility and effectiveness.
To determine if cloud applications are delivering on this promise, Oracle partnered with market research firm Dynamic Markets to survey 1 355 executives from companies across the world, with revenues of $65-million or more.
The results showed that operational silos are often preventing organisations from realising the promise of improved business performance and highlighted the need for a broad set of integrated cloud applications.
Cloud for Business Managers: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly finds that the majority of businesses around the world have not yet adequately integrated their cloud applications across their business functions.
Due to this, many have reported operational inefficiencies and challenges around innovation.
More than half of respondents (54%) say their department has experienced staff downtime in the last six months due to cloud integration problems. In fact, departments not even using cloud apps have been affected by their colleagues that are.
More than half of businesses (52%) have suffered from missed deadlines and three quarters of respondents (75%) have had their ability to innovate impaired by poor integration of their cloud applications, which has left applications isolated from the rest of their business functions.
This is despite the fact that for the majority of businesses one of the main drivers for deploying cloud applications is to improve operational agility and effectiveness.
The survey also found that poor cloud integration impacts on business productivity. More than half (54%) of businesses stated that their department has experienced staff downtime over the past six months due to cloud application integration problems, with departments not even using cloud applications among those affected.
A further 54% say project deadlines had been missed in the past six months due to similar problems around the lack of application integration.
Application silos are proving a challenge for innovation. The vast majority (83%) of businesses have been prevented from getting the best out of their departmental cloud applications, with one in four blaming poor integration with other applications.
Importantly, 75% say their ability to innovate using cloud applications has also been hindered, with one in two (53%) citing a lack of integration. Being unable to integrate the cloud application with other software owned by the company (36%) was highlighted as a particular issue, followed by being unable to customise the cloud application to meet company specific needs (33%).
The promise of the cloud has failed to materialise due to business process silos. Over three quarters (76%) of businesses stated that their motivation behind deploying cloud applications was to get quick access to software, while 47% did it to get access to more appropriate software for their department.
This contrasts dramatically with the reality of their experience and highlights the importance of getting business processes and applications out of organisational silos.
Businesses are aiming for better application integration, and most have recognised the need to better integrate business functions and applications. The vast majority (81%) of companies stated that it is important that cloud applications are fully integrated with each other and with other software in the organisation.
While 50% claim to have integrated cloud apps where they are able to access cloud data in other departments directly from within their departmental business application, one in two departments are still unable to do this.
“Cloud applications have the power to dramatically improve business performance while reducing costs, but only if they can work across the business,” says Rex Wang, VP of product marketing at Oracle.
“For example, sales managers need to have their territory planning and quota management tools integrated with the human resource and compensation applications in order to better drive behaviour and achieve sales goals.
“Subscribing to a cloud service may be relatively straightforward, but how this application fits in with the rest of the enterprise, including on-premise systems and other cloud applications must be thought through.”