Expert insight: First the cloud, now the sky’s the limit

By Greig Schofield
Greig Schofield, Technical Director at Netmetix, discusses how the use of cloud computing has moved beyond the tipping point after the slow-burner years...

Greig Schofield, Technical Director at Netmetix, discusses how the use of cloud computing has moved beyond the tipping point after the slow-burner years of incremental adoption.

The use of cloud computing has moved beyond the tipping point.

In 2016, a global survey of IT professionals predicted that 80% of all IT budgets would be committed to cloud solutions by 2018, with 93% of organisations already relying on cloud services. In 2017, Gartner declared that cloud was becoming the mainstream, forecasting a boom in the use of both Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

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What’s more, it suggested that, as businesses identified cloud as an enabler for future innovation, an emergent ‘Platform-as-a-Service’ (PaaS) model was about to take off too. The analysis makes encouraging reading. After the slow-burner years of incremental adoption, businesses have finally poked their heads in the cloud and realised that the sky really is the limit.

Our experiences back up the numbers. As organisations increasingly adopt a cloud-first approach, the conversation has moved on; it’s progressed beyond ‘should we?’ to become ‘what could we?’ Companies are exploring the art of the possible – and they’re finding that those possibilities are endless.

The PaaS model, facilitated by the cloud, is giving organisations secure access to bundled tools that allow them to apply innovation such as automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to their business operations. And, as the world makes the journey from Big Data to smart data, organisations are leveraging cloud-based solutions to store and analyse huge, complex datasets in just fractions of a second – and using that analysis to fuel new ideas for customer-centre services and brands.

Crucially, these powerful solutions – which provide agility and scalability – are no longer the sole preserve of big business. The combination of PaaS, SaaS and IaaS models has levelled the playing field and is giving small and medium-sized businesses cost-effective access to enterprise-grade tools. It’s no surprise that progressive companies are seizing the opportunity – exploiting technologies such as IoT, Data Lake and Blockchain to differentiate their services, unlock new models and transform business value.

So how do you join them? It isn’t easy. As Gartner says, despite its deployment rapidly becoming the mainstream, many organisations are still trying to work out where the cloud fits into their overall IT strategy.

Businesses need help. A good technology partner will work with you to understand your business – both your current needs and your long-term goals – and identify the technologies that can help you maximise business value. The best partners will be specialists in cloud deployment and will be able to design, build and deliver a futureproof infrastructure that can flex as the needs of your business change.

The full capabilities of cloud technology are still to be discovered – we have not yet reached the limit of its potential. But the opportunities to build a modern digital workplace – where mobility and connectivity can combine with human and artificial intelligence to transform organisations – are right in front of us.

Technology is giving everyone the chance to be tomorrow’s business, today. All that’s required is a bold vision and the right partner to help take you there. Because ultimately, the message is simple: jump on the cloud and the sky’s the limit.

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