No one should be surprised that cloud continues to be a trend in 2017 and beyond. The fact is that Digital Transformation requires exactly the features that cloud provides. Forrester has a nice quote that I think summarizes the value we need:
Many I&O technology investments fail to deliver true business value through great customer experiences. A BT agenda emphasizes technology investments to deliver superior customer experiences, thus giving the business genuine competitive differentiation. Few I&O investments are as critical to that as cloud computing. I&O leaders invest in cloud because it is:
- Fast: You can use cloud services to deliver technology-enabled services in minutes, not days or weeks. You can make changes to these services just as quickly.
- Empowering: The business gets self-service solutions that don’t require the specialized skills of your technologists.
- Economical: Cloud is not always cheaper, but its transparency and flexibility can help you avoid costly, long-lasting capital expenditures. You pay only for what you need, when you need it.
So let me focus on a few examples that shed light on this.
We work with a well known hospital undertaking their own digital journey. This journey includes a need to increase the velocity of change. To that end, their strategy focuses on mobile, social, and web customer experience enhancements. They need to do that to remain relevant and because their most well known competitors aren’t slowing down either. These changes demand a variety of new systems. For each, we see a demand for either new infrastructure and services or a cloud based approach. In talking to a variety of mobile, social, and digital experience providers, each has a cloud based solution that has allowed this hospital to get their new social and analytics capabilities up and running quickly. They are looking at a much enhanced web experience where a cloud based solution will means months of time savings and will more quickly allow their business team to create the experience.
- Fast: this includes time saving across a number of systems
- Empowering: IT has gladly ceded the business elements of running these systems. The business has more information
- Economical: This is probably the least powerful element in this example because this hospital focused on the previous two. That said, our ROI analysis shows cost savings compared to having to roll their own infrastructure for each of these systems.
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We helped a transportation company relaunch several web sites and mobile applications. This included a variety
of systems over a couple years including mobile, api / integration layer, and new web content management system. While not everything went cloud, a significant percentage did move there. This helped them deliver new customer experiences much more quickly and with much more flexibility. Here’s what Victor Wolters, a colleague on our Strategic Advisors team said,
They needed a faster way to respond to their customer complaints and also to move their business operations to a more flexible platform. Azure provided a lower cost solution with increased power and flexibility.
- Fast: Like many companies, it was much faster to move to cloud for this
- Economical: The ROI proved better as a cloud solution
Not many but some companies still question the value of this but to that, I have to say that it’s hard to beat what we continue to see:
- Quicker rollout because infrastructure is already in place
- Higher uptime and support. Even rolling a system as a cloud infrastructure play can make both high availability and disaster recovery much simpler. When a cloud provider like Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM already has multiple data centers and services in place to transfer data, do backups, and push sessions to alternate sites, that’s hard to beat.
- Services, services, services. When you look at the various services provided, it’s amazing. You don’t need to install your own user repository, data storage, data base, data lake, monitoring, video streaming, etc.
- Security. I’ve only sat through or read a few of what various cloud providers give from a security standpoint but it’s impressive. I’m talking about major cloud providers and even smaller niche providers of web content management on cloud. I know many of my clients can’t come close to what they do.