By Allie Philpin
The digital age is upon us; organisations are adapting to the demands that a digital environment requires, providing access to their latest products and services online and via digital channels. Many of these digitally-inspired organisations have also adopted the cloud, with some believing that their progression into the digital business world would not have been possible without cloud computing. So, is there a case for the argument that you can’t have one without the other?
According to recent reports from Saugatuck Technology that delved into the connection between cloud computing and the digital enterprise, “the foundation of digital business is the boundary-free enterprise, which is made possible by an array of time – and location – independent computing capabilities – cloud, mobile, social and data analytics plus sensors and APIS.” This suggests that there is an element of truth in that one can’t live without the other; but it is also worth adding that if you think this is a quick way to mobilising your way into a digital environment, it isn’t.
But the cloud does deliver the scalable, on-demand, immediate access required to deliver your company’s latest product, solution or service digitally; promoting innovative business strategies and creative approaches that are essential parts of a digital enterprise. And companies are certainly working hard to achieve this enhanced, forward-thinking way of working to gain that all-important technical advantage. A survey conducted by Saugatuck found that 60% of 203 organisations are developing and delivering new digital services and products to their customers; almost 70% of those surveyed are currently updating or improving their existing services and products in order to promote them to customers as a digital experience – and this trend is set to grow.
As more and more consumers and business suppliers demand instant access to services and products in a format that is quicker and easier to adopt, and use, organisations are expected to deploy the right solutions to enable this delivery. The rise of cloud computing and the adoption of the cloud’s capabilities can certainly enhance the digital age, but it does depend on the flexibility and power of the cloud solution, how it is delivered and adapted to your existing technology and business services, and how it is deployed within your organisation. As IT managers and developers become more knowledgeable and confident with the cloud’s capabilities, it will lead to encouraging and helping organisations become more digitally enhanced, and eventually to a digital enterprise. As companies learn what can be achieved by leveraging the cloud, such as creating new revenue streams through new offerings, we start to move away from using the cloud as a SaaS project, and more as an asset to develop the whole digital business.
But organisations still have a way to go; just 29% of organisations in Saugatuck’s survey confirmed that their applications and IT infrastructure are within a cloud. But as the drive to go digital really starts to take hold, the prediction is that this figure will more than double over the next few years as confidence in cloud computing takes its place in the next technological innovation to enhance and improve your business.
Bruce Guptill at Saugatuck says: “Enterprises are still very early in the lifecycle of digital business, with much left to learn and experience regarding how it is accomplished, and how its success is measured.”
Cloud computing certainly has a head start over the digital enterprise as organisations are becoming more cloud-acceptable and deploying hybrid cloud solutions. But this technology naturally draws an organisation into the digital environment as they discover that they can meet customers’ more effectively, productively and at less of a cost using a digital channel.
Whether one can live without the other remains to be seen; that said, there is certainly a case for this argument.