Most technology industry observers agree that cloud computing has gone mainstream. IDC predicts cloud expenditures will increase by 25 percent, sparking a dramatic increase in cloud data centers worldwide, totaling a USD $100 billion market. As the trend of using multiple devices continues to grow, Gartner forecasts a new role for cloud as data manager in an era of the personal cloud. Yet the hoopla doesn’t mean that every company automatically knows how to get the most business value from cloud computing.
Recently I spoke with Shawn Price, President of Global Cloud and Line of Business at SAP, and he shared some examples of how companies are using cloud computing for new business value.
“ConAgra Foods is using SAP technologies to do something that couldn’t be done before: they are able to understand across 4,000 products whenever a raw material price point changes and how that affects the gross margin and the potential impact on the company’s stock. They are able to actually look ahead, not in the rear view mirror, to predict an outcome with certainty and plan for its impact on the business. This will revolutionize their business and the industry.”
Price also talked about how one of the cloud’s major benefits for customers is the ability to share best practices, in this case, from SAP’s 35 million cloud subscribers. His point is that cloud-based software increases the rate of innovation for everyone in the community.
“Our customers use the anonymized big data we collect to measure company performance against industry best practices, interacting with one another in our communities. With this kind of scalability, they can also drive value from predictive data, making correlations to answer historically difficult questions like: What colleges or degrees make the most successful salespeople or procurement managers? What’s my management bench strength—who will be the most successful managers in six months or 12 months? Am I relying on the best suppliers, and will I be able to rely on them one year from now? In this way, we are providing a prescriptive blueprint that’s industry-focused for every solution we have.”
As cloud-based software becomes more prevalent, every organization is going to figure out what top performers already understand–that cloud is not just another deployment option for software applications. When cloud is done right, it fundamentally changes how companies and entire industries operate, along with how customers engage and purchase products and services. That’s when the real accelerated innovation begins.
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