The circle of digital life: From data to the cloud and back

Agility has been an industry buzzword for years but has now emerged as an existential litmus test for organisations the world over. Amidst widespread disruption and economic uncertainty, time to respond to change has determined whether the business was destined for a boom or a doom.

During the 1950s, Japan embarked on a remarkable economic boom to become the world’s second largest economy. Experts credit Dr. W. Edwards Deming and his lessons in statistics process control as an influencer in this growth story. Deming is credited for coining the modern adage, “In God we trust, all others must bring data.” Deming and other greats have a singular approach – apply data to optimise for efficiency.

Decades later, companies that trusted the role data plays and adopted the cloud, for instance, B2B Software as a Service (SaaS) continued to thrive even in challenging times. In fact, many who leveraged cloud to rewrite the rules of efficiency and optimisation saw an exponential rise in their business prospects and valuations.

Decision making in the industry

Data drives efficiency in operations across industries – automotive, chemicals, construction, manufacturing, food, even services – generating insights to propel strategic decision-making.

In the early years of digitalisation, the industry relied on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to capture data. These systems captured data that eventually found its way to decision-making by the leadership after weeks, or months. Today with smartphones and data explosion, business heads have an opportunity to lean on real time data across the business landscape from customers to competitors.

The role of data in swift decision making

As industry evolved from a static to dynamic world, these ERP and CRM systems have evolved to now include interactional systems (such as social platforms, chat bots, mobile applications, etc.) and build informed go-to-market strategies. Today, organisations are leveraging data and digital traces created only from exploratory experiences much before consumption happens.

These systems are producing data in the order of multitudes. Today each factory produces anywhere between 5 to 10 times more data than it produced a few years ago. Large FMCG corporations use real-time consumer sentiment to modify product design or modify customer experience by implementing real time insights. What used to take years to define actionable insight now happens in near real time and at low cost – all because of the cloud.

The cloud – the secret sauce for unrestrained growth

Key components such as databases have witnessed change as well. Structured databases systems have such as given way to big data systems The cloud with its pay-as-you-go model, scalable computing, real time load and resource balancing as well as the offering of real-time analytics has changed the rules of business.

As the most popular platforms of choice, Big Tech companies that offer cloud services have made it easy for products to address vast markets almost instantly. The growing demand has also created a steady supply of talent that makes it the obvious choice for growing businesses. This level of agility offered by the cloud helps build businesses that survive turbulent times. Unfortunately, the failure of business leaders to identify this opportunity could also result in redundancy.

In the past, businesses were limited by the element of complexity, volume, and doubts around veracity of data, making it difficult to manage with regular tools and platforms. Businesses invested in on-premises IT infrastructure to gain better control of business outcomes, only to realise the relative uncertain ROI on the money spent. Cloud however, has transformed the very nature of business and innovation.

What lies ahead

In the true sense, prolonged years of data generation and the need for scalability gave birth to the cloud. We now look at the complete cycle of digital life. From the initial seeds of data in early day manufacturing plants that sprouted productivity, we are now experiencing the cloud that generates granular data and actionable insights that enrich business performance.

The interplay of AI and machine learning simplifies tasks for blue-collar and white-collar workers to make data gathering more intuitive. Based on historic performance and statistical data, algorithms can accurately predict future performance. These new technology avenues are business enablers and must be leveraged to fuel growth for the future.

Key takeaway

As the most influential business enabler in our time, the world’s leading cloud service providers have a critical responsibility in ensuring they continue to co-innovate at scale to satisfy the voracious appetite of the industry. The agility that shaped businesses for over a century is now the most significant metric in ensuring future-readiness and success of a business today. If you are responsible for driving innovation, growth and business in your organisation, are you sure you are ensuring swift customer impact?

On the business side, it’s imperative for companies to use the cloud and real-time analytics to drive business decision making.

The role of the cloud in driving innovation, offering agility, and fostering a culture of experimentation is unmatched by any level of local technology investment. This goes a long way in ensuring future readiness of the business, and professional growth of every leader credited for driving growth at scale.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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