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Author's profile photo David Sweetman

Cloud: The Innovation Platform for the Digital Age

     Opportunities in the digital economy are everywhere. To effectively seize them, companies are powering their business strategy by placing the technology framework at the heart of it. No longer is technology relegated to initiatives for improving operational effectiveness and managing internal processes more efficiently. It is now considered a tool for capturing and relaying information that can help deepen relationships with customers, vendors, employees, products, and partners. Simply put, technology is the engine that drives increased loyalty, faster feedback mechanisms, and differentiated service.

There are a variety of ways digital strategies are influencing how companies learn about their customers. Take, for instance, driverless cars. This innovation is moving cars beyond efficiency and towards consistent connectivity with traffic events. As a result, deep sensor data is collected and shared to manage preventative maintenance, driving patterns, and immediate controls. As driverless cars continue to evolve, companies will most likely gain data and insights needed to understand car operations and the customer’s movement needs – optimizing the driving experience while easing traffic congestions and reducing pollution.

Adopting the cloud: Moving beyond deployment for real advantage

As everything customers say and do become more interconnected, companies are increasing their reliance on cloud technology. Although reasons for adopting the cloud vary, core business needs stay the same: Accelerated development, greater differentiation, and faster innovation.

Certainly, I agree that the benefits of rapid deployment, reduced support, improved flexibility, and lower costs are key for business growth. However, I would personally add rapid differentiation through innovation to the list. Consider the NFL’s mobile strategies when creating its fan engagement tool. By using Big Data and scenario modeling, fans can assess player performance models to predict game-day outcomes more accurately.

To succeed in today’s hyperconnected market, companies require a framework that can be easily expanded as products and services are tracked beyond
the point of sale. And thanks to technology supporting the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0, this is now possible.

10 reasons why every business should consider the cloud

As new systems are integrated and additional vendors are incorporated, the technology infrastructure becomes more complex and the risk of disruption
grows. By choosing the best-possible vendor to manage the technology stack in the cloud, including business applications and standard extensions, companies can innovate applications all managed by a single service and support group.

Here are the top 10 ways the right vendor can help your company grow and simplify:

  1. Predictable costs and lower total cost of ownership. The bottom line drives nearly every business decision. With the cloud, companies of all sizes and industries save money – no big up-front costs, no upgrade or third-party license costs, and no maintenance costs or per-user subscriptions. Simple and predictable is the ultimate goal.
  2. Automatic updates. By entrusting a vendor with the responsibility of managing applications and administering reliable and secure updates, companies are free from worrying about the impact of installations or updates.
  3. Reliability. Concerns about speed, downtime, and disaster recovery become the vendor’s responsibility.
  4. Time to value. Cloud-based applications can be up and running within weeks, instead of months. No longer does your IT team need to build a complicated infrastructure of middleware, applications, and continuous requests for new installations. On the contrary, standardized applications can be quickly rolled out and extended globally.
  5. Adoption. Cloud applications simplify relationships. This is true whether you are managing or supporting a new business model. With simplified access to applications, training and feedback are embedded in the process, and the notion of always-on operations leads to engaged users and higher business value.
  6. Security. Nowadays, the highest-possible level of security is a must-have. This includes physical premises as well as technical concerns on access, application, and network levels. Cloud vendors can provide a level of security that most companies cannot achieve on their own. SAP, for example, provides comprehensive controls across data centers and personnel, as well as application-level security.
  7. Compliance. Adhering to industry- and country-specific standards and laws is critical, especially when you consider the huge financial risks of noncompliance carries huge financial risks. Cloud applications should include some level of updated compliance with each new version of the software. With the global reach of SAP, we hold every solution to rigorous standards to help ensure compliance is always up to date.
  8. Extensibility. Having the technology and a standardized support and services across the cloud application stack provides a platform for innovation. This requires the use of integrated tools for enterprise mobility, social media, Big Data, and collaboration. This approach enables companies to configure and customize applications to create an infrastructure that meets their needs.
  9. Scalability. When assessing scalability, consider operations, capacity, and load balancing. With some of the largest deployments of business software in the cloud, SAP provides the scale needed to protect capital investments and reduce obsolescent technology purchases.
  10. Integration. There are so many levels of integration – data, processes, and user interfaces – that need to be addressed. Cloud applications from SAP enable close integration, support, and accountability across the entire technology, application, and service and support package.

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