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What role does cloud computing play in the agility of Information Systems?

Author: Janet Peter
by Janet Peter
Posted: May 16, 2019
cloud computing

Abstract

The competition in various business enterprises is pushing many organizations to adopt different methodologies to increase production and lower cost of operations. Influence of harsh economic environments is one of the factors that are contributing businesses to adopt alternative technology-based operations to boost their businesses. The new trends in business enterprises include outsourcing, adoption of Development Operations (DevOps), agile and lean management are some of the technologies adopted aiming at reducing costs, saving on budgets, as well as facing unexpected changes. This paper discusses the proliferation of cloud computing technology as one of the major business-friendly technology that is focusing on promoting business operations. The paper outlines the significance of cloud computing technology as a solution to high expenditure in purchasing, installing, repairing, maintaining and providing experienced human resources for running and operating different information technology infrastructures. The paper reveals the flexibility, reliability, and agility of cloud computing services in the computing environment. The main aim of the paper is to compile all attributes of computing such as automation of business operations that aid businesses to enjoy a series of benefits from cloud computing services. The paper achieves the objective of viewing cloud computing as the major solution to business needs and requirements through developing a survey that investigates the accrued benefits of cloud computing facilities. Research is based on non-probability sampling techniques that aim to select the representative sample of individuals to assist in deciding on cloud services. The research compares various benefits enjoyed by banking service providers, private, government, non-government as well as oil and gas industries who have adopted cloud computing technology. The document provides the ability of investors to measure agility of information and computing systems before after adopting cloud technology.

Introduction

The major objectives aim and target of any business enterprise are to expand, increase profit margins as well as increasing number of clients. However, the development growth and progress of many business enterprises have encountered limitations as a result of high competitions from their rivals, actuating economies as well as downturns and recession in marketing, sales, advertising, and production. The sense of the need to satisfy customers by offering their taste and references has been a challenge given that technology changes are pushing many customers to prefer automated services which are complex, expensive, and complicated to run and operate (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). The alternative approach to the current business dilemma is opting to find ways that can guarantee effective reduction of cost as well as ensure high profit margins are guaranteed within the organization. Most industries are forced to employ development operations as well as agile techniques to identify quick changes and respond to rampant changing technologies in the business world. The industries are forced to implement a comprehensive approach in the business world so that simultaneous changes can occur in the economy, customer desires, competitive environment, sales and marketing and technological advancements among other sectors.

The culture of agile practices is characterized by the ability of business enterprises to identify a particular change and respond immediately to the forces driving to the changing events. Quick decision-making responses are desirable especially in environments where competition favors one leading in a specific change. In the midst of turbulence, uncertainty, as well as complex business environments business response needs are desirable to survive in operating business activities (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). Agility culture is always in front line in ensuring short and reliable marketing goals, continuous improvement of business activities, satisfying customer needs as well as responding to market changes. The agile principles were invented by manufacturing companies in early 1990’s (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). The systems were characterized by flexible adaptation to changing market needs and leanness. The major decision making was based on leanness where non-vale adding concepts were eliminated from the organization. The flexibility culture implements the concept of taking up new market changes. The agile technology and techniques have been applied in developing projects for complex systems such as software development. The method of agile has proved worth and best in facilitating effective and efficient operation regarding facilitating quick changes, quick responses, as well as the short release of requirements. The agile approach is one of the most applicable approaches to changes within business operations. Research has revealed that adopting appropriate information system (IS) is one of the most appropriate technologies for sustaining organizations strategic alignment (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). Business enterprises should strive to implement agile Information Systems that will automate most of the business applications as well as enable the business enterprises to adapt to changing environments within the shortest time possible. Business enterprises, industries and companies that deal with commercial operations encounter serious problems such as outdated computer infrastructures, underutilized resources and capacities, and very rigid architectures. The complexity and limitations of IT flexibility make efforts towards flexible improvements difficult. Traditional IT structural designs hinder adoption of competitive measures hindering flexible responses towards better technological developments. Most of the existing technologies in information technology are costly and reduce the efficiency of serving customers with the most acceptable standards (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015).

Problem Statement

Business enterprises face problems and challenges in lacking time oriented capability of adapting swiftly to changing business environments. Most business management, company directors, and industry executives have limited ability to make the decision that can facilitate the ability to sense and respond to opportunities and threats within the appropriate time (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). The management of various firms lacks facilities and enough information to implement a change that can sustain them during volatile environments to remain competitive. Lack of capabilities of sensing and responding to appropriate capabilities has made the organizations fail to detect appropriate technological and market changes early enough to prevent any undeserved losses (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). The management systems in many business enterprises encounter problems with availability of resources that can enable them to access sources of business oriented information that can aid informed decision making. Lack of systems that can expose business decisions makers to rich data and information about market trends, demand, supply chain, distribution as well as consumer taste and references contribute to organizations failure. Most organizations have no criteria of acquiring information that can make them implement customer agility, partnering agility, and operation agility principles (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). Business enterprises lack methods and principles of utilizing ramification of information technology. Problems such as ignorance to partnership agility and customer agility have contributed to various difficulties in the business sector such as indirect failure of business instances.

Purpose of Study

The research study is focusing on implementing a framework for identifying measuring, determining, recognizing and implementing agility changes through integrating cloud computing technology in business enterprise systems. The proposed cloud computing tools and technologies preferred shall be provided through using a survey to analyze successful changes. The research paper is focusing on ensuring that business enterprises have acquired necessary information to implement most appropriate customer agility principles. Customer agility describes the enterprise management and planning team various methods and capabilities of exploring and exploiting innovation opportunities through leveraging customers (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). The study focuses on ensuring that business teams have effective and efficient ability to access knowledge, assets, as well as resources through establishing business-oriented partnership network. Research paper focuses on making the business enterprise environment managers access capabilities of operational agility (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). The knowledge and information will facilitate the management teams to have the ability to redesign business processes to identify and acquire best innovative opportunities. The modularization of business processes will enable the business processes to implement Information Technology supports for effective and efficient redesigning as well as the creation of new business processes.

Research Questions

What role does cloud computing play in the agility of Information Systems?

The following question will be answered by answering considering the following guiding questions

Which types of business processes, operations and transactions are influenced by the implementation of cloud computing technology?

How does the cloud computing infrastructure related to business processes?

How do cloud computing infrastructures contribute to operational agility, customer agility and partnership agility of an enterprise?

Hypothesis

Cloud computing technology improves Information systems agility

Null hypothesis

Cloud computing technology does not improve Information systems agility

Research Methodology

The research methodology applied to analyze the impact of cloud computing is through conceptual model derived from literature review. The three elements of conceptual research have been considered in the literature review. The concepts include fulfilling the claims, providing details concerning warrants and laying down the grounds of cloud computing technology (Pasquale, Refik, Melek, & Sergio, 2015). The session involves the provision of plausible and testable statement as claims as clearly stated by the research questions and thesis. The study research will be based on deductive derivations of models as well as confirmation of propositions. The conceptual model is applied to deductively derive categories as well as the proposition from cloud computing literature reviews (Yushi, Yale, Ling, Shaofeng, & Qian, 2014). To ensure effective and efficient linking of the claim statements with the real ground operations the study conducted inquiry research with various industries, companies, and businesses. The study investigates the operations of cloud computing technologies by defining when and how the technology is incorporated within organization system. The operational investigations are carried out through conducting a survey based on combining different stakeholders. The study incorporates the preexisting technologies as well as incorporating correlation that is identified between different cloud computing service models. The comparison analysis helps in verifying and validating agility claims and research questions. The extent of improvements using agility improvements is based on surveys implemented on longitudinal principals.

Significance of the Study

Agility is the ability to sense, identify, recognize, and respond to a particular change through implementing the most appropriate strategies in an organization. Information systems have different influences on the impact of enabling agility within business enterprises. However, the most effective and efficient technology in boosting business agility is the implementation of cloud computing technology (Bina, 2015). Cloud computing technology is associated with improving organizations by building applications in the cloud, as well as providing unlimited repository locations for storing increasing data and information from business transactions. Cloud computing attributes have led to high flexibility and elasticity of business growth and development. Cloud computing has been associated with different capabilities. Some of the operations include implementation of location independence, use of non-ubiquitous access to cloud services and facilities as well as provision of virtual environments that lead to improved business operations (Haibo, Sid, Mary, 2013). The technology has also boosted the increased provision of interactive mobile applications that aid business operations. One of the most positive advancement is the integration of business analytical applications for improving quality of business decision making data and information. The analytical tools can analyze trends, patterns, future and current demands enabling easier prediction of outcomes of business for better planning (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). Software applications within cloud have facilitated total and direct control of agility of business through the provision of consumer thin clients services.

However, with various beneficial attributes associated with cloud computing environment, several drawbacks have been associated with the same systems. The fact is moving applications, data, and information in the cloud can be fully guaranteed as the safe option. For business sectors to continually enjoy full significances promised by cloud computing facilities, several challenges require to be addressed (ChandraMani, Deepika, & Harish, 2015). Based on the fact that some applications in cloud computing environment require some changes, the research paper provides elaborate information if the cloud computing guarantee businesses agility. The research defines procedures and strategies under which the agility enhancement materializes within information technology sector (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). The research report enables individuals involved in decision making to effectively and efficiently compare agility of information systems and cloud computing by comparing the ability to transform business processes to benefit from innovated opportunities.

Literature Review

The structure of literature review implements recommendations provided by Webster and Watson in principles of identifying relevant literature as well as structuring of the literature review.

Information System Agility

Information systems are considered the most appropriate implementation and are considered as the heart of any excelling organization. Performance of an organization depends on the appropriateness and structuring of information technology assets, professionals, and operations. The enterprise strategy is influenced by its performance at various levels such as social, economic levels, legislative as well as technological changes (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). Growth and development of globalization of economy affect the business enterprises information systems by making them more complex. Levels of competition increase with the increase of globalization. Its aggressiveness determines the survival of business enterprise in the constantly changing environment in applying agile activities (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). Various enterprise policies, goals and objectives must concur with the rapidly changing global world as the organization seeks methods to guarantee fast adaptations to change scenarios. Business must be operational agile, customer agile and partnership agile. The various agility attributes are achieved by applying various tools and combining best practices and standards that promote business operations (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). An information system is becoming one of the tools applied to ensure that many business enterprises have achieved their goal is maintaining their business at peak even during unfavorable changes in the economy. From different research operations carried out through surveys, using questionnaires the criteria applied in measuring the agility of information systems revealed that combining several agility aspects contributes to the stability of enterprise during global changes (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). According to research measures of agility are determined by three dimensions namely technical infrastructure, information systems agility and human attributes. Previous surveys suggested that most appropriate ways for measuring the information system agility are using POIRE framework which comprises of five elements which include process, organization, information, resources, and environment (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). Former surveys suggest that the process of assessing the information systems agility involves the implementation of principles of urbanization and continuous improvements. The various dimensions of evaluating agility of information system included the use of fuzzy logic, and applying criteria of questions (Sabine, Roman, & Sven, 2017). The predefined dimensions were then evaluated and validated using statistical analysis to verify the reliability of measurements.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing technology emerged with various infrastructural designs aiming at satisfying business requirements based on three main categories. Cloud computing is designed to provide and meet consumer demands based on three parameters namely infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS) (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). The IaaS provides access to readymade applications to run business operations. Such applications include Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Capital Management (HCM), Financial Services (FIN), and Supply Chain Management (SCM) as part of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). The Paas service provides applications development platforms applications development interface and tool for developing and launching their applications. The development platforms include platforms such as Google app engines (GAE) among other applications (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). The Iaas platform is associated with the provision of environments for deploying, launching, running and managing virtual resources. The platform provides virtual machines, virtual storage, and virtual servers among other utilities. IaaS is associated with the enhancement of scalability, flexibility, and elasticity (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015).

According to reviewed literature, a survey comprising of 15 senior managers was conducted with the aim of collecting benefits and security risks associated with cloud computing. Recommendations as well as controls to mitigate the risks were specified comprehensive framework of risks was constructed and controls for the cloud computing. A hierarchical framework comprising features of Key Performance Indicators was developed by Cloud Services Measurement Initiative Consortium (CSMIC) with the aim of measuring and comparing different cloud computing services (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). Another framework referred to as Service Measurement Index was applied to determine performance, agility and risk levels of IaaS. Researchers developed techniques for identifying, discovering, monitoring as well as calculating service measures from different cloud service providers. They then ranked the cloud service providers based on those who offered best and essential services to consumers. Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) was used to weigh, classify and rank cloud services (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). AHP can be applied in measuring and determining the systems under which various cloud computing services can be classified. The technology can be applied for effective and efficient evaluation and benchmarking of commercial cloud computing service providers. According to reports from systematic literature review (SLR) cloud computing services provides more reliable and guarantee the high level of agility as compared to the information systems agility (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015).

Cloud computing promises effective and efficient reduction of complexity of information technology by minimizing the number of assets. Cloud computing guarantees a high level of scalability, reliability, flexibility, and elasticity. It promises the effective reduction in the cost of operations, reducing maintenance and repair costs and ensures little expenses in buying information and technology assets (Fatima, & Chia-Lun, 2012). Despite the existing challenges in cloud computing technology, business enterprises have very high hopes in developing and maintaining effective and efficient systems that will be in a position to deliver best services. The cloud computing platform is a platform that guarantees companies that they will maintain high and acceptable competitive trend since it is one of the most recent development systems. Most of the business enterprises are advancing towards cloud computing facilities to enjoy the unlimited storage space, software systems as well virtual servers and databases (Whaiduzzaman, Mohammad, Rejaul, & Abdullah, 2014). However, the migrating to cloud computing services need business enterprises to sacrifice various issues such as security, visibility as well as ability to manage and control their systems. Businesses need to understand what is happening in the cloud repository center as well as how their applications are being run in cloud repository center. Business sectors should seek to understand how traffic is being delivered across the networks. The cloud computing subscribers need to understand the provisions of agility and how they can benefit from it. The system should check to understand analytical operations to get information about trends, patterns, and future expectations. Data and information provided should enable the organization to respond quickly and precisely to changing environments. Information obtained should enable the business to deal with unexpected growing demands, market needs, taste and preferences of different customers (Li, O'Brien, Zhang, & Cai, 2013). The workload within business sector should facilitate business sector to acquire new competitive parameters to enable them to seize new opportunities as well as compete favorably. Business operators should monitor in cloud computing facilities are capable of providing agility.

Data Collection and Analysis

Sample Population

The population selected to facilitate data and information collection was composed of information and technology managers, Chief Information Officers, and database management officers. The sample comprised of information technology professionals from different selected companies, businesses, industries, government and non-government agencies who had already subscribed to the cloud computing facilities (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015).

Sampling Method

Sampling method implemented comprised of non-probability data and information sampling. It was based on the combination of convenient as well as judgment focusing at obtaining a representative sample (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015).

Selection Procedure

Selected individuals were obtained from the different organization that had already enrolled as potential users of cloud computing facilities. Most of the companies were characterized by carrying out the following activities such as operating oil and gas companies, offering banking services, and acting as private government as well as semi-government organizations. The study research surveyed with a sample size of 78 organizations (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015).

Data Collection

Data and information collection was implemented through sending emails invitations containing links to connect participants to survey questions. The online survey tool was used to distribute email invitation to target individuals (Garg, Versteeg, & Buyya, 2013). Survey methodology facilitated the collection of data and information and exported it as standard text files for future references and analysis.

Data Analysis

Data and information analysis tool applied was Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21 from IBM. The software was applied to facilitate performance of calculations such as cross-tabulations. The SPSS software was applied in performing Chi-Square, as well as using it to determine single population t-tests. Various tabulation and analysis resulting from summaries of bar charts as well as well as the cross tabulation of aggregate agility categories are computed (Nacer, 2012). The statistic software was used to perform the comparative analysis between agility of information systems software and agility of cloud computing technology. Specific tests were conducted with the aim of distinguishing the number of populations who were associated with using different services within the cloud (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). The various forms of agility recognized and achieved by different companies were evaluated to determine the various improvements experienced by different organizations.

Based statistical analysis the hypothesis was tested at 95% confidentiality. The tests involving evaluation and validation of different agility categories and association between cloud computing model and information systems model revealed the following results (Yang, Huff, & Tate, 2013). There is no association between improving the business information systems and improving the agility of information systems. According to analysis, the categories of information systems that revealed some small percentage of agility included technical infrastructure agility of information systems, information technology processing agility as well as human-oriented characteristics of agility. The agility scenarios were also characterized by various business aspects that affect transactions agility approaches.

Evaluating the cloud computing agility aspect using the statistics software the analysis revealed that the number of organizations who benefits from different services of cloud computing revealed to enjoy cloud agility (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). The high number of organizations who have seen enjoyed and used the agility of cloud computing facilities exceeded the number of organizations who have not experienced or seen the agility benefits. Among the many companies who confessed having benefited from the cloud computing agility, explained the following areas performed excellently using the agility parameters. Technical infrastructure agility, information technology processes agility, human characteristics agility, and business aspects agility (Yang, & Xiaoyu, 2013).

Conclusion

The statistics reveal that there is clear evidence that shows that the numbers of people who have enjoyed the agility of cloud computing and succeeded in improving their facilities are many. The improvements accomplished using various agility measures have been accomplished in technical infrastructure agility the number exceeded by 14 %, information technology process Agility the number exceeded by 16 %, Human Characteristics the number exceeded by 4 %, and Business Aspects the number exceeded by 35 % (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015).

Discussion and Conclusion

The research question in our discussion was based on "what role does cloud computing play in the agility of Information Systems?". The role of cloud computing facilities has been revealed as improving technical infrastructure by providing the reduction of costs in operations, purchasing physical and comprehensive information technology assets and reducing expenses associated with IT human resources, repairing, maintaining and troubleshooting (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). It improves human characteristics by providing services that relieve and solve human errors. Cloud computing technology guaranteed improved human operations by ensuring accuracy in the coordination of activities, calculations, as well as providing information that can aid decision making (Sawas, & Watfa, 2015). The research has revealed that the role of cloud computing is facilitating effective identifying, realization of opportunities that can aid change. The cloud analytical tools help business management to respond very fast to changes through being informed in advance the future trends, patterns and demand, and supply.

References

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