Cloud Services – What Do They Mean for Leadership?

Cloud services are becoming more and more common in large companies. Gartner has analyzed that in North America more than 50 percent of new 2017 large-enterprise applications adaptation will be comprised of SaaS or other forms of cloud-based services. Smaller companies are even further when it comes to adopting cloud.[1]

There are many reasons why cloud services are becoming so popular. They are e.g. easy to deploy, safe, cost-effective and efficient. Studies have shown that more than 74% of the companies feel that they are getting competitive advantage from cloud services.  Moreover, collaboration services have increased productivity by as much as 400%.[2]  Although most implications make you think about new technologies and positive things associated with them, the cloud services are changing company leadership in many ways. 

Cloud services are becoming more and more common in large companies. Leadership should reflect the new technology and expectations employees have for their leaders.

Leadership style should reflect new kind of technology and expectations

Cloud services make it easier and faster for the employers to offer their employees tools for collaboration, communication and document management. To function this requires building a culture of experimentation and a courage to try new things that are not yet commonplace in other companies. The company leadership has a great role here in showing an example and creating a culture.

Other noteworthy thing for leadership is that when everything functions in the cloud, employees or leaders are no longer bound to a specific place. Data can be accessed anywhere at anytime and opportunities for remote work increase. This requires the leader to change, since the employees  must be managed also in situations where not everyone is physically at the same location. Generally 91% of remote workers feel that they can be more productive remotely, but they still expect their supervisors to communicate regularly and help them to collaborate with their colleagues better.[3]

Thirdly, one must understand that the expectations towards the company leadership and management are changing when the tools are. This issue is further covered in one of our previous blogs: How to Lead Employees in the Digital World. For example, nowadays these qualities are increasingly expected from a supervisor:

  • Agility – Leaders are required to have a readiness for trying new things and to support them. But they also must have courage to cut those things that do not work.
  • Continuously updating know-how – Leaders must know how to use the new softwares and to adjust their leadership style for them. They also must understand how different tools are used for different needs and they must provide their employees up-to-date solutions.
  • Better reactivity –In the digital world people are used to getting messages and feedback more quickly than before. The leader must be able to do everything faster. Thus, they must react to issues speedily and give feedback and encouragement more often than in an annual performance appraisal.
  • Transparency – The more leadership is done in a digital world, the more traces it leaves. Leadership must become more transparent and open. The employees are expecting to get more information related to company issues than ever before.

To conclude, it is not only important to understand the new tools technically, but to understand and respond to the prevailing needs and to adjust the leadership style to fit different situations. A smart leader also knows that the cloud services will not change absolutely everything. For example, the SaaS services for collaboration increase productivity, but collaboration itself still stays the same and abides by the same basic rules. Therefore, leaders should not forget everything they have learned before, but to keep them in mind when using the new tools.


[1] Stamford, C. (2017) Gartner Says Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market to Grow 18 Percent in 2017.

[2] Ripton, JT. (2017) 8 Ways Cloud Computing Can Increase Productivity and Profits.

[3] TINYpulse. (2016) What Leaders Need to Know About Remote Workers.


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