Cloud is a key contributor to the emerging digital economy
Cloud computing has had an enormous impact on the IT industry over the last five years - both on the vendor and customer side. With an increasing number of businesses and organisations ditching on-premise IT in favour of the hosted services model, the role of the cloud continues to increase. It has become fundamental to the way many firms operate, and is vital to 21st century trade and commerce.
But the cloud is yet to reach its full potential - whatever that may be. Technology innovation is continuing apace, with new solutions emerging all the time, helping to build confidence in the service delivery model, and at the same time, highlight the inadequacies of traditional ways of working. Spending on cloud-based services is soaring and business leaders are naturally excited about the next stage of development.
Digital world 'is upon us'
Peter Sondergaard, senior vice-president at Gartner and global head of research, told attendees at the recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo that "the digital world is here". And the importance of cloud-based solutions to evolving business models cannot be underestimated. All of a sudden, every budget is an IT budget, and every company is becoming a technology company, Mr Sondergaard stated. In his view, this is resulting in the beginning of an era: the Digital Industrial Economy.
Mr Sondergaard commented that the Digital Industrial Economy will be built on the foundations of the 'Nexus of Forces' - the confluence and integration of cloud, social collaboration, mobile and information - and the 'Internet of Everything'. It will do so by combining the physical world and the virtual, he claimed - something that is being made possible by the evolution of advanced connectivity solutions and the cloud.
"Digitalisation exposes every part of your business and its operations to these forces," Mr Sondergaard stated. "It is how you reach customers and constituents; how you run your physical plant; and how you generate revenue or deliver services. Enterprises doing this today are setting themselves apart and will collectively lead the new Digital Industrial Economy."
Cloud causing industry shifts
Gartner believes the evolving business landscape - facilitated by technology innovation - can be a game-changer in the IT industry. Rather than the top vendors reigning over the sector for long periods of time, it is easier to gain - and potentially lose - market share quickly. The analyst noted that the leaders in areas such as cloud and mobile "were not on many chief information officers' radar five years ago".
"What many traditional IT vendors sold you in the past is often not what you need for the digital future," Mr Sondergaard said. "Their channel strategy, sales force, partner ecosystem is challenged by different competitors, new buying centres, and changed customer business model." He claimed that digitalisation creates an accelerated technology-driven start up environment across the globe, which is helping to fuel innovation.
Microsoft is staying on the cusp of innovation by making the cloud fundamental to its IT service offering. Solutions such as Office 365, SkyDrive, Windows Azure and Dynamics CRM Online are helping the firm to maintain and grow its market share in the cloud-focused digital age. They are adding value to end users by enabling them to achieve greater returns on their IT investments.
Find out more about Microsoft cloud services by clicking here.