Cloud platforms have become core to an organization’s innovation ecosystem
The journey to digital just got even lighter. Cloud technologies entered the enterprise agenda by offering a faster, smarter and lighter technology infrastructure. In recent years, organizations have harnessed cloud to address specific business imperatives like real-time customer segmentation or quicker time to market. Today, cloud platforms have become core to an organization’s innovation ecosystem delivering accelerated value by driving new business models. The global pandemic has also highlighted the role of cloud in enabling business resilience, accelerating its adoption further.
What ERP was to digitization, cloud is to digitalization. A couple of decades ago, enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions became the backbone of a digitized enterprise and reoriented business processes along the way. Cloud is doing the same today, becoming the unifying digital fabric of the enterprises.
The transformative power of cloud technologies has various dimensions:
- Cloud has modernized the entire tech value chain. Right from newly minted technologies such as blockchain to legacy mainframes, everything is now being conceptualized and enabled on the cloud.
- It has driven the entire mindset shift from ‘ownership’ of assets to ‘consumption’ through pay-as-you-go models, making it a catalyst and driver of business model innovation.
- Ecosystems are born in the cloud. The ecosystem enablement that cloud provides catapults an organization towards exponential business value.
- Cloud underpins all the recent business and technology paradigms such as agile and machine-first.
For enterprises with an innovation-led transformation mindset, the business value derived from cloud is broadly along three lines, which together drive continuous transformation:
- Scaling enterprise capability
- Driving agile innovation
- Assuring exponential business value
Scale and resilience
The flexibility that cloud enables allows businesses to achieve fit-for-purpose scale, which in turn ensures resiliency in operations as companies can expand or contract the technology capabilities to suit the market requirements at speed. With the IT infrastructure modernized through cloud-native apps, businesses can configure IT to adapt for business goals quickly.
Agility and innovation
The speed to value and configurability allow businesses to experiment with innovations at all levels - business models, operating models, products and services. From offering an add-on benefit in an insurance scheme through a third party to collaborating with a supplier for a last-mile customer connect, the agility provided by cloud gives businesses the capability to experiment with new ventures. The massive shift in operating model forced by COVID-19, where companies had to enable remote working for their employees, recalibrate supply chains and find new customer channels, was made possible through cloud.
Exponential business value
Cloud capabilities are central to unlocking the promise of artificial intelligence. Right from embedding and gathering data from every function and application to using IoT and edge computing, cloud provides the basis for latest innovations in human-machine collaboration, enabling business value realization at various levels.
Realizing the cloud potential
Aligning business strategies with a coherent approach to a cloud implementation holds the key to deriving exponential value. The process requires:
- Contextual knowledge of business needs. The knowledge of company-specific requirements helps identify cloud resources needed, evaluate available options, and design and optimize the resulting course for a cloud implementation.
- Focus on automation-centric solutions. Minimizing manual interventions in IT systems management, including in handling of data and programming code, optimizes cloud processes.
- Agile implementation approach. Agile development approaches, coupled with outcome-focused coordinated efforts of multiple teams, guide cloud best practices.
While digital accelerators optimize the journey to cloud and ensure a cloud-native infrastructure and approach, it is important to customize cloud solutions to business requirements specific to an industry for a close alignment with business goals. An automation-first or a Machine FirstTM approach ensures maximizing the digital opportunity inherent in Industry 4.0.
The current wave of cloud sets the stage for continuous transformation that is set to take businesses to new heights.
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