5 Technology Priorities in the As-a-Service Era

By: Prabhakar Jayakumar
Cloud is the most efficient platform to achieve digital transformation at scale, since it provides businesses with flexible and immediate access to digital resources. In India, the cloud computing market is predicted to touch $4 billion by 2020 at an annual growth rate of over 30%. As one of the most rapidly digitizing economies globally, this should come as no surprise. Digital transformation is expected to add $154 billion to India’s GDP by 2021 and is indispensable to any enterprise, not only to support existing operations and ensure customer satisfaction, but also to gain competitive advantage.
With businesses increasingly looking to move their business operations to the cloud, here are five priorities that they must keep in mind to prepare for the as-a-service (XaaS) era:
Control over the data explosion 
With deep technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and internet of things (IoT) permeating more business operations, few enterprises can hope to stay afloat with legacy systems. Data fuels the world in 2019 and the use of AI and ML to enhance customer experience is gradually evolving into standard practice. The efficiency provided by these technologies has consequently raised the bar for customer satisfaction. The amount of data required to ensure this is massive, and it takes a highly efficient cloud platform to crunch these huge chunks of data in near-real time to help businesses stay ahead of the game.
Secure and seamless day-to-day operations
Although digitization has enabled greater operations efficiency and more enhanced customer experience, excessive reliance on data has its concerns. Just last year, an estimated five billion records were exposed as a result of data breaches. Business leaders must be wary of security, compliance, and privacy when they choose a cloud provider. They need to invest in platforms that provide tools to monitor the health of their IT infrastructure, robust firewalls, and continuous data backup. Not only is this necessary to curb attacks on privacy but it can also help them save much time and effort.
Collaboration and integration 
Rapid advancements in internet technology over the last several years have greatly transformed the traditional workplace. It is no longer uncommon to find entire teams working together from multiple locations and even different time zones. Most companies today also use several software applications to run their operations. While some of these may need to be stored on-premises, others can be managed on the cloud. As business increasingly goes online, SMBs can successfully adapt by investing in cloud infrastructure to drive seamless and flexible collaboration while also successfully integrating end-to-end operations.
Agility to hit the ground running 
A joint study by ASSOCHAM and PwC published last year predicted that the number of smartphone users in India would touch 859 million by 2022, rising from 468 million users in 2017. The spurt in cheap data plans has further enabled the spread of smartphone usage across social strata. Big businesses have recognized the huge potential of mobile apps in mediating relationships with potential and existing customers. India has a thriving app economy. As customers increasingly come to depend on apps to access services across industries, SMBs must rise to the occasion and be able to flexibly scale up or scale down operations and deploy new apps within minutes. To this end, it is vital for cloud providers not only to provide one-click app deployments but also provide the infrastructure to ensure 24/7 uptime.
Simplicity of usage
Cloud management can significantly reduce the investment of time and money required to manage data. However, it still demands considerable technical expertise. As innovation becomes the main priority for businesses everywhere, enterprises must be able to invest greater attention to innovation in order to stay ahead of the game, which can be difficult with complex cloud infrastructure. Simple and effective cloud management is the need of the hour for businesses to maintain a competitive edge.
As customers embrace digital channels and devices at increasing speeds, SMBs need to mold their IT infrastructure for increasing digitalization. With so many to-dos, entrepreneurs can sometimes get confused about their priorities. As the cloud becomes a priority, small and medium businesses should partner with cloud service providers who offer the best price, comprehensive functionality, simplicity, and agility. Ensuring that SMBs spend less time managing cloud infrastructure and more time in enhancing productivity and innovation is the only way for cloud services to remain viable in the future.
(Disclaimer: The author is Country Director, DigitalOcean India and the views expressed in this article are his own and may not necessarily be those of the publication)

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