09/25
Emerging Trends and Promise of Cloud in the Post Covid era (Part 2)

(Part 1 covering “Why Cloud and Why now” was published here . This is part 2 of a point of view by the authors to give an overview of the cloud market and emerging opportunities in this second  article of a  multi  part series on cloud computing and application modernization as we explore and reason what has changed in the past 18 months and what does the post-pandemic era have in store for the cloud vendors and customers. )


Regulatory hurdles and concerns dissolve when you adopt Privacy and Security by design

In our experience, the biggest roadblocks for enterprises to accelerate cloud consumption are runaway costs and compliance/security concerns. Survey by IDG Cloud Computing (referred in part 1) validates this as well. 

Compliance and security concerns: One of the key concerns raised is the inability to protect sensitive data in the cloud. To overcome this concern, in addition to encryption of data in transit or at rest cloud providers have also started providing the ability to encrypt data even while it is in use i.e. while it’s being processed. There is no one-size-fits-all solution but cloud providers are working hard to provide “engineered-in, invisible security” that protects even the most sensitive data in the cloud. Public cloud providers are also providing offerings based on a zero-trust framework that will help governments be in compliance with President Joe Biden’s recent executive order on improving cybersecurity.

Cost: While the pay per use cost model and ease of provisioning is a great advantage of the public cloud model, it also means  that organizations that do not have a robust cost management practice are unable to build accurate cost estimates and are often faced with runaway charges in their monthly invoice.  The complexity of pricing, billing & cost attribution for public cloud services adds to this challenge.  However, public cloud providers have cost management tools that provide a holistic overview of costs with the cloud provider,  cost savings/right sizing recommendations, ability to set budget alerts and much more. By building a FinOps practice around them, enterprises can  derive cost savings that directly contribute to their bottom line.   

 

Industry matters  - Industry segments that are bullish on the cloud

 

Cloud computing is now intrinsic to businesses across almost all sectors. We will highlight some industry segments which have shown a lot of momentum and  continue to hold promise for the future:

 

Digital Native companies that exist primarily online and are “"born in the cloud", naturally lead in the adoption of ever evolving cloud technologies. Their infrastructures are already cloud-based, they are usually the first to adopt emerging cloud technologies and are able to derive maximum benefits from the cloud. This is much harder for traditional enterprises owing to their legacy technology, slower processes, staff skill mix and longer technology learning curves etc. Below is an example of how Box is leveraging Google Cloud’s advanced capabilities to enhance the scale, performance, and the intelligence of its cloud content management platform globally.

 

Retailers across the board are playing catch up to meet the evolving consumer needs for next-generation personalized experiences that blend the physical & virtual worlds and cloud is a critical enabler to make this happen. Retailers also need to be agile to adapt to sudden changes in demand especially during “surge demand periods” such as traditional holiday driven or seasonal fashion swings. To be able to do this, moving IT systems for retailers to the cloud is critical. Here’s an example of how retailer Kroger adopted Cloud to gain deeper insights into their business rapidly in a scalable fashion.

 

Public sector adoption has been relatively sporadic and low but is slowly picking up with government agencies in the US and across the world. Cloud providers continue to add to their certifications and compliance standards to meet needs of governments. Public health agencies at state and local government level have awakened and the need for quick and nimble apps such as covid contact detection, notification and vaccine distribution and post covid campus reopening led them to believe the transformational nature of cloud. Here’s an example of such solutions SpringML team has implemented  with Google Cloud technologies across the US Public sector and has even been recognized for a vast variety of impactful implementations.

 

In the case of the manufacturing industry, driven by early adopters of Industry 4.0 frameworks and now data-driven organizations embracing predictive technologies,  cloud is enabling new use cases across the value chain. Following are a few examples - 

 

Operational insights to invent more efficient ways of working on the shop floor

Resilient supply chain that can adapt to whatever uncertainty and disruption  is thrown at it, experts collaborating across factories

Engineers solving complex problems using large scale simulations

Solutions predicting machine failure and much more. 

This is being made possible by the access to innovation that hyperscalers are providing in their platforms in areas such as AI/ML, IoT, Analytics, Speech recognition, optimized computing resources on demand etc. 

 

Organizations in the Healthcare and Life Science industry are also adopting cloud technologies rapidly across the value chain. For example, they are leveraging cloud technology for real time collaboration to accelerate research efforts, sharing health data seamlessly across authorized providers & unlocking value from the data in real time to enhance patient care, deriving operational efficiency through pay per use models enabling them to reduce cost of care etc. As an example,  pharmaceutical and health care company McKesson migrated siloed legacy infrastructure to use high-performing Google Cloud databases to get the most out of their data and ultimately deliver a better healthcare experience to patients.

 

Wrapping up

Human species haven't stopped innovating since the early days of human civilization. The need for automation has been increasing historically since the Renaissance and days of the industrial revolution when the printing press replaced handwritten manuscripts. We are said to be in the fourth wave of industrial revolution since 2010 but the post Covid-era could be labelled Industry 5.0 ! The remarkable  pace of adoption of innovation and automation across industries especially with a customer service component can certainly be attributed to COVID induced lockdowns and fresh thinking and introspection when almost within weeks companies digitally transformed and  devised strategies to enable remote work for most of their employees without missing a beat. That would not have been possible without the progress in Internet, cloud computing and automation technologies in the past two decades. Since  2020  we increasingly come across exciting real life success stories  of Customer Service Innovation (e.g. Call Center AI ), Voice based user experience interfaces (e.g. Chatbots) and a plethora of AI/ML use case adoption (predictive maintenance, autonomous driving, advanced robotics etc to name a few). The common denominator is advancement in cloud technologies and its rapid adoption. The cloud market is growing fast and as various analyst reports have stated and is already huge but we are just getting started and may only have touched  less than 10% of its potential. We will deep dive further in subsequent articles in this series. 

 

About the Authors:

Himanshu Kapoor is a Customer Success & Professional Services Executive with extensive background in leading technology led transformation for clients and client facing teams at leading organizations like IBM, Cisco Infosys and currently Google. In addition to his expertise in Go To Market Strategy, he brings a deep understanding of public cloud platforms like Google Cloud & AWS. 

Piyush Malik is a veteran of data-driven  business transformations across multiple industry domains having served customers worldwide & leading multicultural teams spread over 40 countries and  helping with digital transformation, cloud adoption and applied data science/AI/ML journeys. Having served in strategy, management consulting and application software leadership roles at PWC,IBM, Cadence Design in US as well as product management with Tata group in India, he is currently a SVP at  SpringML,  a Premier Google Partner, besides being active with several industry bodies and non-profits including ASEI.

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