CFO Research and Google recently collaborated to create a survey to examine the attitudes of senior financial executives (CFO’s) in large U.S companies towards cloud computing. This research is not specific to insurance companies, but shows how cloud computing is affecting all businesses in some shape or form. Even though some businesses are reluctant to adopt cloud technology themselves, they anticipate that it will affect them through partnerships, suppliers, and others in the supply chain. The benefits of cloud technology are regularly discussed topics, and it is interesting to see attitudes changing, although barriers to adoption remain.

When looking at technology systems, 40% of CFOs stated that when evaluating different solutions internally, both cloud-based and on-premise solutions are considered alongside each other, and 12% already prefer cloud-based systems. There are various reasons for the preference with cost-savings, flexibility, and improved productivity being cited as the main reasons.

Benefits of cloud technology

Often there are conflicting opinions on the actual cost saving ability of cloud technology. In this survey a number of CFOs have adopted cloud-based systems, confirming that they have experienced costs savings, with the majority reporting that their actual savings met or exceeded their expectations. Sixty-four percent of CFO’s reported that implementing cloud technology would reduce their company’s operational costs by up to 20%, with an additional 15% of respondents anticipating costs savings in excess of 20%.

Other than the cost savings, digital collaboration is often cited as being a key benefit to organizations looking to improve productivity. In fact, the primary motivation for adopting cloud technology for the CFOs surveyed was to improve productivity and increase flexibility within the organization. These improvements affect organizations on two levels, improving employee collaboration, and improving overall business objectives.

Employees are more easily able to collaborate using file sharing applications, access data from anywhere, and communicate online, using Internet-enabled devices. Thirty percent of CFOs state that their expectations for greater mobility were exceeded following implementation.

The overall business is positively affected by employee productivity; with 81% of respondents stating that complete implementation of cloud-based systems would improve overall employee productivity. Financial executives cited business continuity and the ability for employees to access emails and data from outside the organization as a key benefit of cloud technology.

The flexibility of cloud systems positively affects the overall business. As technology evolves and new products come onto the market, businesses can respond more quickly to bring new products and services to market. There is also greater flexibility in adjusting requirements as the business grows or shrinks.

With 76% of CFO’s believing that cloud computing will be important for their companies success in the next 12-18 months, it is clear that cloud technology is here to stay. Cloud technology has value added benefits for insurance carriers as identified in this previous blog post.