In 2018, we find ourselves in an era where digital technology continues to rapidly alter every aspect of our lives. Technology such as virtual reality, blockchain, the internet of things, and big data is changing how we live and how we work.
The underlying platform behind this technology is cloud computing, which continues to play a critical role in technical innovation. Today’s cloud technology goes beyond storage and scalability and provides the bedrock for advanced capabilities to flourish; such as real-time data crunching, prediction and AI, continuous learning and machine learning.
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From new retail initiatives like Amazon Go, a completely automated shopping experience, to virtual assistants guiding our everyday lives, and to self-driving cars and trucks, we are living in the future, and it’s a cloud-first future!
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The advent of these new technologies, otherwise known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (or Industry 4.0), will modernise everything from factories to customer experience.
No matter what the industry, cloud technology will act as a critical enabler by providing the means for businesses to innovate around new technologies.
Last year, Oracle likened the relationship the cloud has with the fourth industrial revolution to that of the steam engine during the industrial revolution – put simply, the advances we’re experiencing today wouldn’t be possible without the recent advances in cloud technology. In support of this, IDC predicts the annual global spend on public cloud services will grow by 23.2% this year alone – reaching $160 billion.
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Adoption of cloud computing is becoming a more strategic decision. CIOs indicated in a 2016 survey by KPMG, the top two reasons of adopting cloud computing were to improve agility and responsiveness, and accelerate product development and innovation. Saving money came in third, indicating that rather than looking for immediate cost savings, CIOs are now taking a longer term and more strategic perspective.
This mass investment in cloud technologies will see businesses transform their processes to operate much more efficiently and compete much better. Companies will also have the means to develop new applications and services that will enable them to prosper, and even leapfrog rivals in innovation.
SMEs in particular have a special role to play in driving cloud adoption and are exceptionally well-placed to take advantage.
As more enterprises are breaking down barriers to adopt cloud technologies, so too are SMEs. Cloud delivers innovation, agility, speed, and the customisation needed to generate a competitive advantage. The same reasons large enterprises migrate to the cloud.
SMEs especially have a unique opportunity to harness the benefits of the cloud. Unlike their much larger, more incumbent competitors, most don’t have large complicated legacy IT systems. Meaning they can integrate and harness new technologies much easier.
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Even more advanced technologies like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and predictive analytics are coming within reach of SMEs. Whether it is by adopting new platforms and tools offered by the bigger players, which are now tailored specifically to SMEs, or building out their own solutions in the cloud – technology that was once only accessible and affordable to enterprises are now in the hands of SMEs.
In June last year, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported over a third (36%) of SMEs are currently using industrial robots, compared to as many as two thirds (74%) of large companies.
As SMEs continue to break down barriers and serve as digital pioneers, we won’t be surprised to see this number growing, especially as new technologies level the playing field between SMEs and their larger counterparts.
Marketing in a cloud-first future
As many new innovations are built on cloud technology, or incorporate business models such as SaaS, it’s no surprise that many companies choose a brand to signify that cloud is at the heart of their innovation.
Some of them also choose to reinforce the brand by choosing innovative domain names such as .Cloud. In 2016, Samsung launched their new IoT platform Artik Cloud with the domain artik.cloud. Late last year, Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group launched RIO – the first open and transparent cloud-based platform in the transport and logistics industry, independent of manufacturers. They chose rio.cloud as the home for their new platform.
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When companies do proactively use the cloud, it signifies what is at the core of their company and their identity. It shows an eagerness to grow and to bring business into the future.
The fact is, the cloud now underpins virtually every piece of technology that is coming about, as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For this reason, it will be imperative for businesses of all sizes to invest in digitisation and cloud technologies in their efforts to adapt and remain competitive. Companies that continue to move to the cloud will be able to arm themselves with a rich feature set, which will be necessary if they are to survive and thrive in this new age of rapid development and innovation and cloud-first future.
Sourced by Mou Mukherjee, the Head of Registry Services at .Cloud