Cloud at the Core: Driving Breakthrough Innovation
By Arijit Banerjee
Driving speed to market and differentiation is becoming a top priority for CXOs as they grapple with intense competition and customer demand for hyper personalized products and services. Cloud offers the capability, flexibility and extensibility to achieve the twin mandates by driving rapid innovation. Gartner predicts the spending on cloud infrastructure to grow from $39.5 billion in 2019 to $63 billion through 2021 as organizations no longer view cloud as an isolated delivery option. They are increasingly using cloud as the foundation for delivering breakthrough innovation leveraging disruptive technologies such as advanced automation, IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Here’s how.
Keeping customers connected: The importance of contextual interactions
Modern customers expect seamless and hyper personalized experiences across channels, making it critical for organizations to develop a deep understanding of the customer at every stage of the customer journey – from awareness to purchase, retention and advocacy. Cloud systems that manage customer interactions ensure consistent, seamless and contextual experiences as customers navigate across a variety of touchpoints such as websites, mobile apps and email. Such systems collect customer interaction data across touchpoints to develop holistic customer profiles and personalize experiences.
In early 2017, Paytm launched the Paytm Mall app that allows consumers to shop from nearly 2 lakh registered sellers, including enterprises like Samsung, Redtape and Lenovo whose strength lay in their massive offline distribution network. The app leverages the cloud to deliver uniform experiences across channels - whether it is the brands’ own store, affiliate or ecommerce sites such as Amazon or Flipkart.
Driving collaboration on the cloud: The rise of the Scagile enterprise
Businesses continue to use legacy processes and systems on cloud infrastructure. While this brings in some economic benefits, it keeps them from realizing the full potential of cloud. Forward looking enterprises such as Uber are deploying new platforms and solutions to take advantage of the scalability, agility and synchronization capabilities of a multi cloud environment in order to drive competitive advantage. Since its inception, Uber has leveraged CI/CD and DevOps to deliver their software platform in the cloud that supports 5.5 lakh drivers across more than 100 Indian cities and several lakh customers. The company leverages data visualization to understand how Indian cities move, and rapid prototyping to determine dynamic pricing and predict future demand.
Powering expansion and growth at the speed of business
With the rapid growth in the as-a-service market, cloud offers organizations the freedom to seamlessly scale up or down, making it easier to drive innovation and break into new markets. Uber, for instance has launched different apps using the cloud such as Uber Assist for differently abled people, Uber Lite for areas where data connectivity is a big issue, and Uber Boat to book speedboats at the tap of a button - a first in India. This is evidence of the opportunity that exists on the cloud, enabling enterprises to power up new products and services and make giant leaps in business expansion.
The promise of the cloud to drive breakthrough innovation is real. The journey, however, can be confusing - causing CIOs to spend sleepless nights deliberating the right move. Intertwined and collaborative business ecosystems on the cloud call for in-depth planning, niche skills, and a mature view of business processes – all at a totally different scale. Success will depend on the ability of organizations to embrace risk by preparing their employees through change management programs and upskilling initiatives in relevant areas such as CI/CD and DevOps.
1 Gartner prediction
2 Paytm mall app
3 Uber Cloud