Anyone that’s ordered products from Amazon, a ride from Uber, or a night’s stay through Airbnb knows the joy of cloud computing. According to four industry experts on a recent SAP’s Coffee Break with Game-Changers Radio show, this transformation is coming to the B2B realm in 2015. The consensus is that companies in every industry will be disrupted as two trends emerge: the next phase of cloud computing and the networked economy. These visionaries predict a fundamental shake-up of operating models as companies scramble to meet the voracious expectations of empowered and demanding customers. In this new era, cloud is a platform for innovation bringing new customer engagement and business models. Here are their four primary predictions.
Prediction 1: Cloud showers business with a consumer-like experience
Tim Minahan, Chief Marketing Officer of SAP Cloud, finds cloud emblematic to the virtual organization that prizes speed and flexibility.
“Companies have outsourced everything from customer service to the supply chain and fulfillment. A growing portion of their workforce is not on their full-time payroll,” he said. “They need to rapidly assemble and disassemble resources on a project basis aligned with the challenges of the moment to keep the business more agile and profitable.”
Prediction 2: Cloud delivers unprecedented insights ‒ the platform wins
Panelists agreed that in the cloud-based, networked economy, businesses gain access to not only best practices, but the ability to measure themselves against peers and industry standards, essentially mining a dynamic network of resources for continuous improvement
“Executives and end-user are becoming attuned to the fact that we live in a data-driven world, whether it’s the Fitbit on your wrist or the dashboard in your company to track business effectiveness,” said Jeff Kaplan, Founder and Managing Director of THINKStrategies.
Prediction 3: Top-performers won’t do the same old thing in the cloud
Experts believe this will be the year that organizations tap into the cloud for new business processes and insights that transform business models and industries in ways previously unimaginable. In fact, they say savvy companies need to view the cloud as far more valuable than a software delivery model.
“Don’t get mired in the TCO debate. While cloud certainly offers a cost-advantage, you should be moving to the cloud for ways to achieve better business outcomes, enable new engagement and possibly new business models,” said Minahan.
Kaplan foresees new opportunities from the internet of things and its access to big data. “The connectedness we hear about from the consumer aspects of cloud is going to be exponentially greater in the industrial world, and it will be the cloud fueling that transformation,” he said.
Predication 4: Hybrid rules – networked businesses prosper
While cloud’s shared resource model is an unprecedented boon for startups in terms of lowering entry barriers, it’s equally compelling to established companies. Nobody has to rip and replace to take advantage of cloud. “Cloud adoption will accelerate in a much more hybrid fashion than companies originally thought,” said Minahan. “The cloud extends the systems of record with new systems of engagement to effectively manage business processes in much more agile ways.”
Paul Greenberg, Managing Principal of The 56 Group, sees a transition to virtual operations as digital prevails, and people of all ages demand to work differently. “There’s a seismic change going on that’s creating a networked economy. It’s inevitable we’ll get to a fully networked, virtual operations world.”
There’s much more at stake this year as companies tap the collective intelligence of dynamic digital communities and radical disruption becomes the norm. Hear the full story on the complete radio broadcast entitled, “Business Trends 2015, Strategic Disruption in the Cloud and the Networked Economy.”
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