The disruptive impact of cloud computing

There’s no doubt that cloud computing has had a huge impact on the way that many Australasian companies do business. In my experience we see a range of customers approaching cloud computing in a range of ways – with many of them taking different approaches to how they begin to cross the chasm.

We encounter companies which are prepared to be early adopters, the ones who want to embrace the benefits of new technologies quickly. On the other hand there are also companies that wait to see what happens before making the leap, who want a technology to go mainstream first before they take the plunge.

It seems to me that visionaries are coming in 3 flavors.

  1. First are companies who are using cloud as a way of managing costs, for IT augmentation and for boosting their IT strategy.
  2. Second is the IT innovation crowd
  3. And third are the IT disruption types.

I’ll elaborate on these types below.

Using cloud to augment IT

The first bracket of companies is taking the lead, the customers who are using cloud as IT augmentation.

Recent research showed that Australia is the second most cloud-ready nation in the world, after Japan. Australasia is quite a mature IT market, with experienced users and companies who accept outsourcing as a common practice. It’s also a service-driven economy, meaning that barriers to entry are low.

So we’re seeing IT managers using cloud to give more flexibility and agility for them and their customers.

Using cloud for innovation

The next layer of companies are the innovators, those who use the cloud to create new business models and move to market faster than through traditional methods.

In Australasia there have been some interesting examples of companies going down this route. One bank group rolled out an app for cloud-based banking that has increased customer loyalty and made it more attractive to people. CommBank has also introduced an inventive mobile money solution, named Kaching. This means that if a group of friends go out for dinner together then one person can pay by credit card and all the other guests can use the app to reimburse that friend.

Cloud computing and social thinking are driving these innovations. Another app which I’ve used myself is a supermarket one, which lets you scan the barcode of a product and find out the health qualities of that product. The app then makes recommendations for more healthy alternatives. This app is developed by Bupa, and it is interesting to see them taking this approach. It’s obviously in their interests to have more healthy customers, since as a health insurance company, this means a win win for the members and the business.

Cloud as a disruptor

The third layer of cloud usage in Australasia which is having a huge effect on the overall landscape is the disruptors. These are the startups and entrepreneurs who are transforming and disrupting whole industries. Their operations combine cloud, mobility, social and big data analytics to pretty devastating effect.

One obvious example is Apple, which has transformed the music industry with its cloud-based iTunes. In a similar way, Amazon has totally changed the book publishing and distribution industry – causing bricks-and-mortar rival Borders to cease trading in the Australian market completely.

This disruption to conventional ways of doing things can be seen everywhere. Amazon now sells more ebooks than traditional print books. Google has entered the automobile industry, with some places even changing legislation to allow auto-piloted cars.

impact of cloud computing: conclusion

There’s a lot of industry transformation taking place and IT is at the root of it. I think that we will see more of this, with established commercial giants continuing to be impacted.

IBM’s recent A Snapshot of Australia’s Digital Future report predicts that by 2020, 18 traditional industries will have been wiped out. These industries centre around tradition (non-digital) publishing and broadcasting, including book & magazine publishings as well as music publishing.

As a consequence, associated distribution and supply channels would be impacted. Other industries that would face challenges include traditional non-digital TV & radio broadcasting as digital forms of broadcasting overtake those media.

Of the three types of uses/approaches for cloud computing technology, which are your business using?

Original Publication

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