A recent comment on twitter encapsulated 21st century working: ‘work is something you do, not somewhere you go’. Of course this does not mean that work is no longer location-dependent: many business-critical activities require individuals and teams to work in specific facilities and locations. But cloud computing has transformed how we interact with data – and each other.
Cloud is a driver of agility. This is not just about mobile and remote access to data, although cloud provides the ability to sync between devices and access data from different locations, agility is about working differently to achieve desired results and outcomes better and faster – and cloud is universal. Even businesses that would not describe themselves as digital rely on email and online resources.
A ‘cloud first’ world
For a long time, business technology focused on processing power and data storage capacity. But now it has shifted to a ‘cloud first’ world. It is 51 years since Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted that processing power would double every two years. Moore’s law has powered the growth in mobile capability, but as mobile apps, big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) engines rely on data processing power that is accessed remotely via the cloud, the capacity of the device becomes irrelevant, as does the location of data and services. In a ‘cloud first’ world, the device becomes the gateway and cloud is the platform.
Outsourcing systems to the cloud frees up IT resources to develop bespoke services that differentiate the business. This relates both to internal DevOps and business agility, in terms of combining different products and services. This is about putting IT at the centre of innovation.
Of course, there are a number of reasons to outsource to the cloud, from flexibility, scalability, business continuity and disaster recovery.
A platform for agility
Cloud is the platform for co-ordination and innovation. Gartner’s key strategic technologies for 2016 referred to ‘the device mesh’ or the ‘expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information and interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses’. The device mesh is the foundation for ‘a new continuous and ambient user experience’ across channels and devices. Coordinating the device mesh in a seamless way depends on reliable, seamless cloud services.
Cloud allows businesses to quickly launch scalable, adjustable projects involving different collaboration partners at different stages, and enabling ideas and installations to expand and evolve – and be adjusted and replaced.
A ‘cloud first’ world is the gateway to progress. For example, most businesses do not have the in-house capability to develop complex artificial intelligence (AI) applications. And most AI providers realise this. As well as commoditising core systems and providing a platform for bespoke innovation, cloud computing enables businesses to deploy state-of-the-art products and services quickly and easily – and the freedom to explore different options, learn from best practices and find the best fit.