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Cloud benefits could be maximized across business functions with C-suite collaboration

Business functions may stay within their comfort zones when applying cloud technology, thereby limiting its potential value. Cross-functional collaboration may help fix this.

Today, many C-suite leaders are investing heavily in cloud, and those investments could pay off. According to Deloitte research, 72% to 88% of surveyed respondents across industries agreed or strongly agreed that cloud investments help them gain competitive advantage. But these benefits are not equally realized across business functions.1 Deloitte’s data shows that each function outperforms the respondents overall (upward arrows) in those cloud benefits where they can leverage their expertise with cloud deployments, but they tend to fall behind in other areas (downward arrows). In other words, finance respondents lead in gaining greater cost advantages from cloud such as implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that increases efficiency and lowers costs for the organization. However, the finance respondents reported that they lag in achieving cloud benefits that help expand new product or service revenue for the organization. For example, a retailer overindexing on cost optimization, instead of leveraging cloud to cross-sell and upsell new products, could represent such a missed opportunity.

Guided by Deloitte’s cloud benefit analysis, C-suite leaders can consider the following insights on benchmarking and where they can look to help build practices by collaborating with leaders from other functions:

  • For chief financial officers2 (CFOs): Finance professionals who responded to the survey saw significantly more benefits overall than other functions—in six out of nine areas. They responded that they saw value up to 8% more often than the survey average. CFOs have an opportunity to share leading practices from areas where they’re seeing strong benefits, like reducing and optimizing costs, and work with chief human resource officers (CHROs), and chief information officers (CIOs) to help their organizations build and expand new-products/-services revenue. For instance, finance, HR, and IT functions could collaborate to create cloud-enabled employee learning programs aimed at developing an innovative mindset that might allow a workforce to better identify new sales opportunities.
  • For CHROs3: HR professionals surveyed scored at above-average levels for five out of nine of the cloud benefits. They appear to have an advantage in helping to build and expand existing product/service revenue for the organization and provide better sustainability in support of environmental issues. This could be tied to HR’s function of promoting culture, values, and behaviors. However, CHROs can learn from chief operating officers (COOs) about maximizing benefits from new operational processes or workflows and from CFOs on cost and efficiency. For example, a CIO/COO could help HR install a data and analytics platform for managing processes and leveraging insights to help optimize workflows and reduce costs.
  • For CIOs: IT can guide functions like finance, operations, and procurement to help gain additional value in new-product/-service development (via technology enablement, agile approaches, etc.). While IT professionals may know how to create efficient tech solutions, many need help with business/regulatory risk where they could lag other business functions overall. Here, CIOs can help improve their cloud strategies by consulting chief procurement officers (CPOs) and COOs to establish a system to help detect and prevent risks, and embracing security by design principles.
  • For COOs: Operations professionals surveyed lead in areas like achieving efficiency and agility, creating new processes/workflows, and mitigating regulatory risk. They may lag, however, in building and expanding new-product/-services revenue for the organization, reducing/optimizing costs and developing new ideas, approaches, and methodologies. COOs could learn to excel in these areas by collaborating with CHROs, CFOs and CIOs. For example, CHROs could devise recruitment or cloud-upskilling strategies that ensure an innovative cloud operations workforce, and CFOs could advise on how to structure contracts with cloud vendors to optimize costs and returns on investment.
  • For CPOs4: CPOs could be leaders in creating new operational processes and achieving business and regulatory risk benefits with cloud. One hundred percent of procurement respondents saw positive outcomes in these areas, which is significantly higher than nearly all other functions reported. That said, the procurement function was below average for six out of nine of the cloud benefits and significantly lags all other functions—with only 63% positive responses for each cloud benefit. CIOs and CHROs could guide CPOs in replacing legacy processes with cloud procurement systems and investing in a tech-savvy workforce, thus helping to unlock potential benefits such as reduced operational costs, enhanced collaboration within the ecosystem, faster decision-making, reduced time to market for the organization’s new products, etc.

Given the variation in strengths across business functions, C-suite leaders can help broaden their benefit analysis across silos to maximize cloud benefits. Benchmarking via key performance indicators (KPIs) such as cost reduction, process improvement, efficiency, number of innovations, etc., can help prioritize areas where cloud strategy leadership may need to focus to gain more value. These issues are sometimes found after deployment when they can be expensive to fix. Thus, collaboration via dedicated cross-functional teams can be the key to harnessing the full power from cloud.

Learn more about what some cloud decision-makers say about cloud strategy, technology, innovation, and value in our recent Deloitte US Future of Cloud Survey Report.


  1. The 500 survey respondents included data from 15 different business functions, and of those, five functional areas were examined for this research.View in Article
  2. Deloitte, “Digital finance: Avoiding the pitfalls of moving to the cloud,” accessed February 10, 2023. View in Article
  3. Deloitte, “HR Cloud: Enabling a path for growth in the technology industry,” accessed February 10, 2023; Jeff Schwartz et al., HR cloud: A launch pad, not a destination—2019 Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte Insights, April 11, 2019. View in Article
  4. Deloitte, A cloud plan for planning and procurement: Reimagining your digital core and supply chain transformation, accessed February 10, 2023. View in Article


The authors would like to thank everyone who contributed to the US cloud survey report and especially the team that supported the creation of this charticle including Andy Bayiates, Blythe Hurley, Hannah Suher, Lisa Beauchamp, Prodyut Ranjan Borah, and Saurabh Rijhwani.

Cover image by: Molly Piersol

Topics in this article

Technology Management, Digital Transformation, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Cloud, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Technology, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

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