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Cloud adoption is rising at spectacular rates. There is no need to wait to work with IT to address a needed solution, just buy a cloud-based app out of you department’s budget. But, what good is agile if you are an island in your own company?

The typical good-sized enterprise uses an average of 755 cloud-based applications. If you are in technology or healthcare, it is over 1000. In just the top four categories the average company deploys 72 in marketing, 53 in collaboration, 45 in finance and accounting and 41 in human resources. Why so many in a particular function? Could it be that the same solution was chosen from different vendors’ apps because of a local or department’s preference?

Are we repeating the mistakes of the past when different applications would not or could not “talk” to another? The flow of information is critical to an organization functioning effectively. Do your cloud-based tools enable or inhibit?

Cloud empowers users but it has the potential to balkanize your enterprise with lots of little fiefdoms unwittingly creating barriers between them. Does your in-bound marketing system talk to your sales force administration tool? Or, do you have to employ spreadsheets to feed the data output of one into the other?

How about between the same departments but in different locations? Do your cloud based tools in Geography A work with the ones adopted in Geography B so that you look and feel like one company to your customers, employees and future employees? Sound familiar? How many chat, storage, and collaboration tools do you need to access to effectively communicate with your colleagues?

So what do you do? Actually, there are a number of ways to address this. Some vendors claim their suite of cloud apps will integrate through all the steps of a process. System Integrators assert they can stich it together for you. There are even cloud applications that will integrate other cloud applications. You have quite a bit of choice but what do you choose?

The key here is not “what” but “how”. It is the “how” you organize the process and people to arrive at the right solution for your firm that determines success. The growth of cloud silos results from your folks adopting new tools to meet their needs. This “from the ground up” agility and creativity needs preserving and nurturing while avoiding the potential unintended consequences. Some organizations have tried to mandate what is “approved” for use – making the C.I.O. into the C.I.No. In today’s world that has proved largely ineffective.

Information Technology, especially enabled in the cloud, is no longer a “technical” decision that can be just left to the IT department. As your business continues to become increasingly digital, and the number of cloud-based solutions proliferates, the challenge and opportunity of these new tools will continue to grow. They are becoming woven into all aspects of your enterprise and you need to address it like any other critical enterprise wide impacting asset.

As a start, why not consider the processes you have developed to address managing one of your other key resources like money – i.e. capital. After all, we know you don’t leave all that up to just the finance department.

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