Five years ago, only the most open-minded companies would have used cloud to drive innovation as a core business strategy. Today, cloud is the mainstream choice for business-critical applications within the vast majority of enterprises, and the C-suite is certainly no stranger to the topic.
IT departments are now enjoying cheaper and more scalable services. While this is significant in its own right, importantly, it has set the stage for the cloud’s next phase as an enabler of business modernization. After all, the question now for many CIOs is not “should we move to the cloud?”, but “now that we’re in the cloud, how can we innovate?”
CIOs have a tall order ahead of them – under pressure to innovate at the same pace as industry disruption, all the while battling the complexities of hundreds of legacy applications, trying to keep the lights, and guaranteeing security and compliance. So what are the options available for CIOs innovating in the cloud, and moreover, how can they innovate efficiently?
Data on the cloud
Data is a good place to start. It’s at the heart of today’s business landscape – an ubiquitous resource that companies can leverage for innovations and insights. It’s all around us, and with the cloud, it can be mined very easily. Years ago, with highly structured data feeds, the process of collecting and analyzing data was laborious. Nowadays, provisioning is fast, and there’s a vast catalog of cloud services available to businesses which enables them to gain insights into data. These services, in turn, empower businesses to make smarter, faster, and more accurate decisions.
In the retail industry, for example, cloud is already a valuable instrument in determining event correlation. Businesses are able to feed in data relating to anything, from sales, to IoT devices, to the weather, to market sentiment – all of which can be aggregated and analyses in order to provide better understanding about customers and their needs.
When combined with machine learning and AI, further innovation is possible. AI, of course, has been around for a while, but it used to be expensive and complex if done on-premise. Now that barrier to entry has vanished, with out-of-the-box offerings from most public clouds, customers are able to attain quicker return on investments with this technology. This is shaping up to be the next battleground for public cloud providers and each are making significant investments in this space – all of which ends up benefiting customers. The technology is also becoming more simple meaning you no longer need PHD level data scientists to gain unique insights into your data.