Cloud Transformations, Looking Forward
A recent survey of global business and technology executives provides an interesting snapshot of the cloud.
First of all—and this is no surprise—nearly 75% of the nearly 600 leaders surveyed indicated that their companies had piloted, adopted or substantially implemented the cloud in their organizations, a percentage expected to rise to 90% within the next three years. Yet, the report notes, the cloud’s potential for driving business innovation remains virtually untapped.
This is what Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Chairman Emeritus of the IBM Academy of Technology and Visiting Lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management and Engineering Systems Division (among other distinguished positions), calls “the true power of the cloud”—its potential for game-changing business innovation.
In a recent blog that discusses the report from the survey, conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value and the Economist Intelligence Unit, Wladawsky-Berger notes that “over the next decade, advances in cloud computing will enable critical societal and business applications in a number of industries, including health care, learning and finance.”
The report cites six specific game-changing business enablers empowered by the cloud:
(1) Cost flexibility. Reducing fixed IT costs by shifting from capital expenses to operational, pay-per-use expenses.
(2) Business scalability. Provisioning IT resources as needed and, thus, easily scaling business operations without limits.
(3) Market adaptability. Enabling rapid prototyping and innovation to quickly respond to changing market conditions.
(4) Masked complexity. Allowing the introduction of sophisticated products and services, including upgrades and maintenance, while hiding the complexity from end users.
(5) Context-driven variability. Customizing products and services for a more user-centric experience based on each user’s preferences.
(6) Ecosystem connectivity. Bringing together disparate groups of people, thus facilitating collaboration with partners and customers.
In the enterprise resource planning (ERP) space, public cloud versions of on-premises ERP suites are being introduced by major vendors in what is likely to be game-changing innovation for the sector.
Epicor will make the third major release of its Internet Component Environment (ICE) architecture available on Windows Azure, using Microsoft’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to provide IaaS and platform as a service (PaaS) products that will give Epicor’s customers and hosting partners more cloud deployment options.
Analysts concur that the public cloud deployment of ERP brings the benefits of the cloud to existing applications, including simpler, faster deployment and greater scalability.
"It’s a forward-looking move," says Frank Scavo, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research. "There's not a large percentage of Epicor customers today that are demanding Epicor give them a way to leave their on-premise systems and go to the Azure cloud. But the tide is moving in that direction, especially with new customers."
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