In its second decade, cloud computing has become a mature and reliable technology, but we still have only scratched the surface of the cloud’s full potential as an enabler of digital business transformation.
With access to core business applications, analytics, and collaboration tools, cloud computing is a reliable path for business innovation. It provides organizations the agility to scale and adapt their business model to market conditions and opportunities. Cloud computing has created the foundation for a flexible innovation infrastructure for companies’ growth strategies.
Now cloud computing is going through a growth spurt of its own. The next wave of intelligent technologies that build onto the cloud is emerging, including the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Combined with intelligent technologies and digital business services, cloud computing can catapult companies into a new dimension of competitiveness.
Here are three trends that will define the next phase of cloud computing as a business innovation force.
From emerging to mainstream adoption across industries
While cloud computing is certainly innovative, it has outgrown its classification as an emerging technology. According to Gartner’s 2018 Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, the technology has reached the slope of enlightenment. Gartner uses its Hype Cycle to track the promise and potential of emerging technologies within the context of their industry and individual appetite for risk. In 2019, as a technology in the ‘slope of enlightenment’ phase, cloud computing is broadly understood across industries and geographies and is heading towards mainstream adoption next.
In fact, Gartner predicts that the fastest-growing IT spending category will be cloud computing infrastructure and applications, out of an overall $3.77 trillion global information technology spend this year. While cloud computing’s growth varies by region, the key growth driver remains the same across geographies and industries: the need for digital transformation. 72% of companies globally across industries will adopt cloud computing by 2022 based on the latest Future of Jobs Survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Achieving a new customer experience dimension
The next frontier for cloud computing will be the creation of a new level of customer experience. Companies will apply intelligent technologies in conjunction with the cloud to upgrade their experience management for customers. With B2B and B2C companies built on the quality of the experience that customers have with their brand, experience management not only provides immediate feedback about how people perceive a company’s brand and products, it also impacts employee and customer satisfaction.
Combined with IoT, analytics, machine learning, and AI, cloud computing can not only change the way organizations operate, but it can also innovate the way customers interact with companies and vice versa. For example, with cloud computing companies have the ability to collect and process large quantities of data in real-time. They can train and execute algorithms at the large scale necessary for AI. Overall, they have the ability to analyze different types and dimensions of data, including operational data and customer experience data. The deeper understanding of the company’s operations and customers can be used to build new products and services or create a better experience for customers and partners.
The cloud plays a critical role in achieving the transformative potential of combining experience data with operational data to help organizations create breakthrough customer experiences and results.
Continuous innovation as a service
One of the most difficult challenges for companies is that innovation is perpetual. Innovation does not have a clear-cut end; it is a continuous endeavor. But that does not mean innovation and transformation cannot be measured. On the contrary, digital business transformation can be measured at every step of the way. One of the most important key performance indicators for digital business transformation is speed.
In this next phase of cloud computing, we are already seeing the rise of digital business services that go beyond support and maintenance and help companies to accelerate their business transformation. Companies are moving towards a circular innovation process, an innovation environment that provides the tools and services for continuous business innovation facilitated by the cloud. Innovation is becoming part of a company’s corporate culture.
In a world that can change in the speed of a tweet, it is not enough to tackle current market changes with innovation. Companies need to prepare for the future and transform themselves into an intelligent enterprise that can thrive on change. Remaining one step ahead of the competition is a key characteristic of an intelligent enterprise. Early adopters of the next generation of cloud technology and services will be today’s and tomorrow’s winners.
For more on this topic, see “Cloud: The Foundation For Intelligent Technologies.”