Today’s economy operates at a fast pace with Innovations often being disruptive and  changing companies Business models.   For the software industry one of the current disruptive technologies is Cloud computing which sees a faster than anticipated adoption rate.

     Why is the move to the Cloud becoming so popular and what changes it will drive in the way we deliver Analytics and Big Data.

What drives the move to the Cloud:

  • It starts with financial reasons; Cloud means reduced TCO thanks to better resource sharing and economy of scale. Massive standardization around computing farms and multi tenancy software drive this change.  Cloud also means a move of spending from Capital Expenditure, to Operational Expenditure. Most Companies are big fan of this move which also fits with new “usage based” business model.
  • IT buying power is moving from CIO to CxO (CFO, CMO, head of sales, …). They want ready to run, easy to use, “Google fast / Apple easy” applications like the one they use in their personal world where many applications like Facebook, Youtube, .. are already Cloudified.  They are looking for agility, on the shelf, ready to buy applications. They are not ready for lengthy IT project and tailored made applications.

Other benefits from the Cloud:

  • Faster innovation, more agility and better time to market since Cloud allows Software Editors to perform incremental upgrade and for all customers at once. In the Cloud you are always running the latest version.
  • Scalability at the best cost and minimized deployment risks. The best Cloud implementation provide elasticity which means that the landscape you use will grow or decrease based on your actual needs.
  • Cloud is the best fit for mobility, another big trend of the IT industry, since by essence Cloud is location independent.

New constraints linked to the Cloud:

  • Cloud often means standardized software with fewer parametrization and customization capabilities.
  • As the move to the Cloud does not happen at once for the full landscape and as LoB owners are buying best of breed Cloud applications there is a significant risk that some companies will end with data and product integration issues together with different User experiences.   In other words there is a risk that Cloud destroys the benefit of process integration brought by ERP in the last 2 decades.
  • Obviously Cloud also means new Security and network constraints

Analytics And Big Data are a front runner in the journey to the Cloud:

     Research shows that the vast majorities of companies start their journey to the Cloud either with dedicated processes (CRM,  HR, expense management, ..) or with Analytics. Starting with Analytics provides several advantages:

  • Your Cloud Analytics platform will provide easier integration between your future Cloud applications and avoid the drawbacks mentioned earlier.
  • Analytics applications are less vital than other companies processes, even if crucial for the management, hence a better fit for a start.
  • Data Integration has always be at the heart of Analytics project, hence hybrid approach or coexistence between on premise applications, Cloud Analytics and
    other Cloud applications will be  easier
  • Specifically as you move from Datawarehousing to Big Data and include external data(facebook, twitter, weather data, …) integration will be easier
  • SAP HANA platform which is at the heart of SAP Cloud strategy is a perfect fit for Analytics thanks to its in memory performance and capability to aggregate on the fly. It also allows to share on one platform Analytics and transactional applications, hence providing real-time Analytics.

Cloud will be a game changer for services:

  

     So far we haven’t seen significant changes in the way we deliver services, including Analytic services, for the Cloud but we can envision that it will be actually a game changer:

  • As mentioned earlier Cloud products will be more standardized and will require less parametrization. You can expect a shift to different services and a
    stronger split between customer facing, functional services and remote, more technical, services.
  • Overall the share of services performed remotely will significantly increase.
  • Customer will have more appetite for advisory services as they need to understand how to manage their journey to the Cloud. This is specifically true when the buyer is not IT. Note that SAP has already made available Cloud Analytics Advisory Services.
  • With Cloud customers are already paying on a subscription basis for software, hardware and some “run services”. There is a strong likelihood that this will also reach “build services” which will be paid on a subscription base that could even be embedded in an overall subscription.
  • Cloud requires a new methodology approach, SAP has recently published a new methodology designed specifically for Cloud implementation, SAP Launch.
  • Last but not least we can envision that services could be delivered through a web application that will be a one single interface between the Customer and the consulting team.  This web application will be structured according to the Cloud specific methodology and will also serve as a repository for all deliverables.

As we can see with the strong move of the Software Industry toward Cloud we are at the edge of significant mutations that will change the way we plan, architecture and deliver Analytics and Big data applications and make them even more user friendly and ubiquitous to the end user.

               Thierry Donnadieu

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