If it seems like people have been talking about "the cloud" for the past decade, that's probably because that's actually what's been happening—a lot of talk but very little action. But all of that is starting to change—and change rapidly.
There are a few reasons for this:
1. Businesses are being pushed by customers—whether B2C or B2B—to be more attuned to what those customers want and need, to offer new and more-flexible ways for customers to engage with those businesses, and to move more aggressively into the digital world. And cloud computing's the best approach for that transformation.
2. The cost savings for businesses are no longer theoretical—they're real, and they've been proven in thousands and thousands of cases across every industry and in every region on the globe. Why should a retailer or a bank or a specialized manufacturing company have to devote huge chunks of their budgets to creating big, sprawling, complex and constantly changing IT factories? The cloud relieves customers of these unmanageable burdens.
3. Cybersecurity has become a strategic issue for every business, and cloud vendors that devote all of their time and effort and people to creating ultra-secure IT environments are able to devote much more money and expertise to that effort than any one business could possibly hope to deploy against increasingly sophisticated, dangerous, and damaging cyber security threats.
4. The social/mobile lifestyles of people today require that businesses be able to engage with individuals in very different ways than in the past. And, quite simply, the traditional on-premises computer systems that businesses have used for the past 30-40 years are simply incapable of automating these new-age digital processes and capabilities that today's digital lifestyles demand. But, the cloud was built precisely to handle all of these digital demands.
5. Financial capital has always been the currency that powers business, but today a second currency is rapidly emerging: data. Companies today are using data as strategic assets and as building blocks for new products and services; as competitive differentiators in existing markets; and as innovative engines of opportunity for new markets. Traditional systems are able to handle only the data residing within them, whereas the cloud was built to allow businesses to gather, see, analyze and act upon data from almost-unlimited sources.
6. The original cloud products and services that came out 5-10 years ago were the equivalent of "first drafts"—good ideas here and there but pretty rough in spots, and definitely in need of lots more work. But today, the products are much more mature and have been designed and developed to be not just easy to use but simpler, faster, and more-secure than ever before.
7. In the early days of the cloud, only a few options were available to customers, and in most cases the burden of making this new stuff work fell on the shoulders of those customers. But today, the cloud vendors understand that to win new or expanding business from customers, those cloud vendors must ensure customer success at every step of the way: from up-front strategic planning about where and when and how the cloud offers the best option; to where and when to use public cloud versus private cloud and vice versa; and perhaps most importantly of all, how to ensure that a company's traditional on-premise systems work in perfect harmony with the new cloud systems.
8. Businesses today have huge numbers of cloud vendors to choose from, which means that each of those cloud vendors is doing everything in its power to create the best types of services for business customers and to deliver them at the best possible prices.
9. Many of the leading cloud vendors have realized that they can offer more business value to customers by entering into partnerships with each other. For businesses, this means that more and more of the complex and costly burdens of integration and maintenance are being handled by these partnerships. And in some cases, such as IBM and Salesforce.com pairing up to offer businesses new AI capabilities that bring together the very different approaches taken by IBM and Salesforce, these partnerships can accelerate customers' journey to innovative new business opportunities using advanced technologies such as AI, machine learning, and blockchain.
10. Finally, businesses in every industry must compete more aggressively than ever before for excellent new talent—and the plain truth is that here in the back half of 2017, great talent will simply not want to work in companies that deploy only traditional technology. These digitally focused workers—regardless of their age—expect employers to have modern systems that allow the companies the best chance of success while also offering people the best chance to learn new skills, to work in a sophisticated environment, and to explore and build dynamic new skills.
So overall, the time for talking about the cloud is over—customers expect it and demand it, your competitors are already making the leap, and the digital lifestyle and digital expectations of customers and employees alike require it.
Here at Tier1, we're experts in Oracle on-premise systems and are also experts in helping you map your journey to the cloud—please contact us at 412.381.9201 so we can help you get on your way, or accelerate the cloud journey you've already started.