Disruptive companies, and companies with long-term success exhibit creativity and innovation when providing value to their consumer. However, the level of business creativity required to compete can’t flourish if a business’s technology infrastructure is unable to expand and adjust with the business.
This is where cloud computing comes in – it frees organizations from the complex management of IT infrastructure and operations in order to focus on creativity and innovation. Consider the example of a pharmaceutical researcher who recently needed 50 servers for crucial data analysis in order to bring a new treatment to market. The IT department presented him with two options – wait three months to bring on-prem servers online, or leverage a public cloud provider to order a cluster of servers immediately. With no hesitation, the researcher went to the public cloud and was processing his analysis the very same day.
Changing the game
Why is cloud such a gamechanger? For starters, the cloud offers pay-as-you-go flexibility, limitless scalability and performance and lessens or eliminates the need to maintain legacy on-premise systems. Enterprises are benefitting from unprecedented access to new tools and resources they probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
Beyond the traditional Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service, public cloud providers are constantly churning out the hottest new applications and technologies and offering them as a service. This includes everything from security and advanced storage, to analytics, machine learning, customer engagement, management tools and more.
Businesses across the spectrum are using cloud computing to improve efficiencies and drive better customer service at the same time. According to Forrester, more than 50% of global enterprises will rely on at least one public cloud platform to drive their digital transformation and ramp up unmatched business outcomes.
All of these benefits are driving revolutionary changes in industries that touch everyone every day - cloud infrastructure is driving disruptive, revolutionary changes across healthcare, financial service, retail and food and beverage. Creative minds in these industries have delivered stunning innovations that improve quality of life, safety and efficiency.
In healthcare, providers are leveraging cloud-based computing because it offers distinct advantages to in-house client-server systems amid increased expectations and demands for better medical experiences and outcomes. That means more reliance on digitization of care as providers seek to handle a surge in electronic medical records as well as manage, store and protect data from devices such as MRIs and bedside monitors.
In the growing field of telemedicine, cloud computing and video-collaboration technologies enable remote diagnosis and treatment of patients. The technology is being expanded to remote non-clinical services, such as provider training, administrative meetings and continual medical education. This helps improve productivity, drive cost savings and enhance positive and flexible experiences for both patients and employees.
Cloud-based technologies are gaining steam in retail, with industry investments in IoT forecast to reach $30 billion by 2024 from $9 billion in 2016. Cloud infrastructures help retailers process large amounts of IoT data and deliver improved in-store customer experiences and better understand shopper preferences, while providing cost-saving insights into inventory management at the same time.
For example, beacons placed in retail stores that connect via Bluetooth to consumers’ smartphones can send out real-time promotions and discounts through push notifications. In addition, stores can track customer behavior such as what areas receive the most traffic.
Food and Beverage
From grocery to restaurants, cloud computing also is proving fruitful for the food and beverage industry.
In groceries, “smart shelves” are also transforming inventory management for retailers. By placing RFID tags on goods that connect to in-store IoT technologies that then send data to the cloud, stores can be informed immediately when an item is low on stock or overstocked. Allowing retailers to track inventory in real time through connected technology results in a more efficient supply-management system. That translates to reduced operational costs.
From the crop fields to warehouses, the cloud and its data-analytics capabilities let businesses get a more sophisticated handle on supply-line management. By using the power of cloud-based sensors that provide information on their products along the chain, organizations also can track products at every stage to help address any potential food-safety concerns. That’s not all. By using the cloud to mine data, firms can also gain a deeper insight about their customer habits so that they can develop more effective product and marketing strategies.
The financial services industry, which is heavily regulated and requires strict security and privacy controls, also is rapidly embracing the cloud and moving away from bulky on-premise IT infrastructures. That’s because it allows businesses such as banks and insurers to save costs and focus on improving their services and core functions as they leave complicated and expensive IT issues to outsourced experts. The cloud is making new products and services easier to develop and launch, which is important in an industry known for its slow response to evolving customer needs. At the same time, having a cloud infrastructure means having a reliable data-security environment that provides additional layers of encrypted security such as permission-based access.
This is good news for banking customers that want access to banking services and solutions online, using the device they want with the time frames they need. The convergence of cloud computing with FinTech, for example, is addressing customer needs by offering enhanced accessibility, convenience and tailored products. FinTech leaders like Affirm in San Francisco are riding the wave of disruption by offering alternative lending with instant three-, six- and 12-month loans for purchases from 1,500 online merchants. The company says its machine-learning technology allows it to lend to customers who might not qualify for credit cards and that repayment helps them build credit histories.
Making the leap
It’s clear that the cloud is playing a major role in revolutionizing industries—big and small. As the cloud drives a more connected future, free creative thinking within your own organization to better understand your customers and delight them with innovation.
With cloud, the sky is the limit.