How to Use the Cloud to Become a High-Velocity Business

Five years ago was a pivotal moment in business. It’s what Al Sargent, senior director, Product, at OneLogin, calls the “cloud awakening,” and it’s when Marc Andreessen wrote a seminal article in the Wall Street Journal on Why Software Is Eating the World. To be clear, Andreessen wasn’t the first person to understand this; he cited a number of businesses that intrinsically understood this and made it a central part of their corporate cultures, including Google, Netflix and Amazon.

What made this article pivotal was that it led business leaders at companies outside of the technology sector to begin to embrace the idea of competing through software. Maybe it was the clarity of Andreessen’s writing, or the fact that he published it in a preeminent business publication, but after the article, Sargent started talking to many senior business leaders at mainstream firms asking about the article and what next steps they should take.

These business leaders realized that they need to affect change, and fast. They saw that their internal IT departments were hamstrung from implementing this change, since roughly 80 percent of their budgets were focused on simply maintaining existing systems — a situation that had been in place for years. So, what were they to do?

Cloud computing emerged as a way out of this dilemma. Companies could bypass their deadlocked IT departments to subscribe to SaaS applications running in the cloud. These SaaS providers provided functionality as quickly as someone could type in a corporate Amex number, delivering corporate agility faster than internal IT could ever hope to.

Fast forward five years, and Sargent states that we now see five trends that are critical to embrace when shifting to cloud computing to increase business productivity.