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Harnessing the potential and avoiding the pitfall of the cloud

As cloud computing continues to come of age, it is playing a foundational role in many organizations’ digital transformation efforts. In this article, we outline the potential opportunities presented by the cloud and pose a series of questions that CFOs should ask to avoid the pitfalls.

As cloud computing continues to come of age, it is playing a foundational role in the digital transformation efforts of many organizations. CFOs who still regard moving to the cloud as primarily an information technology (IT) opportunity, however, may miss out on the chance to help their companies leverage cloud’s many advantages.

To some extent, senior financial executives understand that cloud has serious momentum: In the Q3 2016 CFO Signals™ survey of 122 North American CFOs, cloud computing easily outpaced other emerging digital technologies in terms of its deployment, with 80 percent of respondents saying they use cloud in some form, and 30 percent saying they use it broadly.1

But as cloud moves from the cutting edge to the mainstream, from applications that primarily augment core systems to cloud-based applications that replace core systems, it is important that CFOs move beyond a basic conceptual understanding and take a closer look at the cloud’s nuances. One reason: financial applications--which, by and large, were not a major part of early cloud migration—are quickly becoming common. In fact, according to one estimate, by 2025 cloud-based solutions will account for 65 percent of total market spend on financial management applications.2

While cloud computing offers many advantages, it is not a panacea. Although large organizations may have had success in pilots and smaller scale adoption, they may nonetheless encounter both unpleasant surprises and missed opportunities if they do not proceed with adequate caution. In this issue of CFO Insights, we will outline the potential opportunities presented by the cloud and pose a series of questions that CFOs should ask to avoid the pitfalls.

Digital finance: Avoiding the pitfalls of moving to the cloud

Endnotes

1 North American CFO Signals, Q3 2016, US CFO Program, Deloitte LLP.
2 “Finance Moving to the Cloud: The Steps to Take and the Benefits You Can Expect, ” Gartner, Inc., August 2016.