RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Cloud is much more than scalable infrastructure—it’s a catalyst for business innovation, reinvention and growth.
  • When your data, platforms and applications are in the cloud, you can share information in real time, reimagining how value is created.
  • Key opportunities for reinvention in the cloud include data and machine learning, edge computing and collaborative innovation.


Take innovation higher

The extraordinary pace of change means businesses need to be nimbler and more agile than ever. Acting quickly in response to new opportunities and disruptions, unencumbered by legacy constraints, is essential. And innovation is a core part of that agility. But it’s also a trigger for a more fundamental reinvention, one where a business transforms what it does and how it does it to find new growth in a digital world.

Cloud is not simply a source of cheaper and better IT infrastructure. It’s also the primary enabler of business reinvention today. Why? Because it brings together everything you need to innovate—your data, your people, your partners, your processes, your technology—on one streamlined platform.

It allows you to analyze your data on a bigger scale and generate insights much faster. It lets your own teams create new products, services and experiences, while simultaneously benefiting from others’ creativity. It’s also the source of countless new hyperscaler and third-party services from some of the brightest minds on the planet.

Cloud = agility: Cloud’s flexibility enables business experimentation. It lets you spin up new environments instantly, try out several ideas at once, and see what’s working quickly and securely. It reduces or eliminates technical debt, freeing your organization from the shackles of your legacy estate. It means you can iterate faster, test out prototypes on demand and get real-time information to inform business decisions. And when the business needs to pivot quickly—such as in response to a global pandemic—it’s cloud that enables the necessary responsiveness, enabling you to push out new or updated products, services and experiences with unprecedented speed.

Cloud = business collaboration: Cloud facilitates coworking, cocreation and co-innovation both inside and outside the organization. It enables your own people to work together from different places and in more effective ways, as well as creating a closer connection with suppliers and partners. It means you can share data securely, apply AI models more effectively, streamline supply chains and create entirely new business models with your partners.

Cloud = transformation: The way a business creates value is about far more than its IT—it’s about people, process, partners and technology working in unison. However, the agility and flexibility of the cloud makes it the ideal platform for rethinking how the organization operates and what kind of value it creates for its customers. A cloud journey can expose and eliminate legacy inefficiencies, duplication, excessive customization and siloed ways of working—enabling the business to refocus on customer outcomes.

Put simply, cloud is how you get from where you are now to where you want to be tomorrow.



Capture cloud capabilities: Data and AI

Data is the fuel that powers nearly all business innovation today. And cloud is the perfect platform to quickly tap into your data and create new insights using advanced data science. Because advanced analytics and machine learning are available as a service in the cloud, virtually any business can now access these capabilities.

Cloud also lets you bring much more data together, including highly valuable unstructured or unlabeled data that was previously locked away or hard to use (such as unstructured notes from call center interactions). Then, when it comes to mining that data for insights, cloud’s ability to scale up and down means it’s much more efficient to run AI models that require intense bursts of compute power.

The secret to a data-driven reinvention in the cloud? Ensuring it’s one and the same with the business strategy. You should focus on the critical data elements and priority use cases that will deliver the greatest impact to the business and align with the overall goals of the organization.

The secret to a data-driven reinvention in the cloud? Ensuring it’s one and the same with the business strategy. Focus on the elements that will deliver the greatest impact to the business and align with the overall goals of the organization.

Capture cloud capabilities: Connected devices

Connected devices—known as the Internet of Things or “IoT”—create huge potential for cloud-based innovation. Whether your business includes machinery components, manufacturing production lines, medical devices, logistics and supply chain nodes, or retail stores, if you have devices continuously sending data to the cloud for advanced analysis, you can instantly generate transformative insights.

What’s more, the cloud itself is continuously being adapted, evolved and expanded through hyperscaler innovation. And edge computing promises unparalleled data control and security, with lower latency and cost. That’s especially valuable for situations where data privacy requirements or data transmission costs previously made cloud innovation impossible or too expensive to consider.

Capture cloud capabilities: The business ecosystem

Innovation in the cloud isn’t only about what your own organization does, it’s also about opening up new worlds by innovating with others. The ease with which new services can be adopted in the cloud—from your chosen hyperscaler as well as third parties—means you have a fast and low-risk way to benefit from others’ innovation with cutting-edge technology. Just look at the vast array of industry-specific services the hyperscalers are releasing every month to get a sense of the opportunity.

But cloud also enables you to collaborate and co-innovate far more easily with your peers and partners. That includes much more than holding meetings with videoconferencing software. When your data, platforms and applications are in the cloud, you can share information in real time and completely reimagine how the business operates and how value is created.

Take supply chain and shipping processes: On average, you need 20 different documents to get a product from the point of manufacture to the point of consumption. Each of these documents needs to be reconciled as it passes between different parties—manufacturer to logistics and distribution to retailer—creating delay and adding cost. When all the parties’ data is in a cloud environment, with appropriate security and access control, every part of the supply chain can access it, creating the potential for a radical streamlining of supply chain management.

How to get the most out of cloud

Know where you’re going

For a sense of drive and purpose in a cloud innovation initiative, it’s essential to see the bigger picture—to have a north star vision.

Innovation is everyone’s opportunity

To get the most value from cloud innovation, it needs to be a core objective for the whole organization, not just an IT project.

Don’t try to get there in one leap

That north star can seem a long way off. Consider breaking the innovation journey into a series of smaller and more manageable initiatives.

Piggyback on hyperscaler innovation

Hyperscalers pour huge sums into new services, industrializing traditional capabilities like networking and cutting-edge ones like quantum computing.

Innovation is not a side project

If you view innovation as something that happens outside the core organization, you risk your initiatives getting sidelined—and failing to scale.

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Cloud: The mother of business reinvention

Today, every leader in every industry shares a similar set of objectives: to build up resilience, outmaneuver uncertainty, create new experiences and products, enhance trust, increase speed and reduce structural costs.

To do that, the business needs to be able to capitalize on opportunities for reinvention and growth as soon as they arise. Your people need the time, space and tools to innovate, experiment and scale up the ideas that will drive growth tomorrow, not just today.

That’s why cloud is so vital. With the speed provided by the cloud, and by working with cloud hyperscalers and other service providers, enterprises can shift away from “keep the lights on” operations, freeing up their budgets and their teams’ time to fundamentally rethink how the business operates and how it creates value.

This is the ultimate objective of a cloud journey—to create a platform for innovation, for agility and for future business reinvention.

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