By now, it’s obvious that investing in a cloud strategy can put companies in a different competitive space. Today, the transformative power of cloud has been realized by many — it offers a cost effective, flexible, scalable, and reliable alternative for infrastructure. We know cloud helps companies improve customer satisfaction and maintain happier employees who can work efficiently from any location with an internet connection. However, what enterprise companies are not yet considering is the potential posed by cloud to create amazing new architectures and totally new use cases they previously would have only dreamed possible. In the past for enterprise, upfront costs would have made certain ventures prohibitive – or at least too risky, especially considering internal battles for budget.
With cloud, new businesses are not only forming but also disrupting the status quo across all industries. Netflix is the go-to example of this phenomenon. Netflix completely disrupted Blockbuster’s business, not to mention the entire video rental industry. Other examples are Mailbox, Instagram, Foursquare, and Tumblr – these companies grew on the top of cloud platforms and are now worth millions or billions of dollars. The question becomes: why are these new companies achieving such great success using cloud while large enterprise companies remain reticent to adopt and use cloud to transform their business?
For the enterprise world, cloud computing can create differentiation and promote innovation inside your company. There comes a time for enterprise companies to move beyond their previous success and develop future growth from new lines of business. How can you focus on innovation and build amazing things if you spend all our focus and energy just keeping the lights on? Using cloud, enterprise companies can immediately focus on innovation and not worry about headaches like buying thousands of servers, setting them up, configuring security, etc. Let’s explore the key advantages of cloud and what it can enable enterprise companies to do as never before, especially in the content management and sharing arena:
Right content to the right people
Nowadays, it’s quite common to hear the challenge: “how can we deliver the right content to the right people.” In fact, everybody knows that data is increasing, and exponentially, outgrowing our ability to process and understand all the information out there. This is making a huge impact on businesses like marketing and publishing. To stay competitive, several companies understand that they need to put in place a user-centric approach, truly understanding who is their target and being able to laser-focus messages to this audience. In order to understand the user journey, you have to consider gathering data from several different datasources (internal, external, public, private, social etc), then immediately crunch and analyze all this data and be able to answer real-time questions in a few seconds. For example: which specific content makes your potential customer buy more of your products based on what you know from him and from other people with a similar profile? What can you do automatically to accelerate a deal or to prevent churn? What is the best approach to use an e-Detailing mobile app to close more deals when visiting customers, based on previous feedback? Does cloud computing ring a bell to you here? Well, it does for innovative companies who are deploying predictive and prescriptive analytics to improve their brand awareness and content services so they can deliver what their customers really want.
When you use cloud, you have access to many data centers around the world, from California to Japan. For example, Amazon has two data centers on the West Coast, one on the East Coast, one in Europe, one in Japan, and one in Australia. An enterprise company using Google or Amazon Cloud Services can easily deliver content worldwide using all data centers without any expectation of delays. Let’s consider a user in Australia. The nearest data center will host the content for him, offering optimal performance and response time, as compared to the potential for lag if the data center were in another part of the world.
The Content Ecosystem
Cloud platforms are creating a new ecosystem of information that can be easily shared among all the channels and social networks using ready-to-use services and APIs. Those who can work effectively inside this ecosystem and figure out how to optimize these channels, will definitely prevail against their competitors. And it’s not only about posting content on social networks to be relevant, up-to-date, and reliable. It’s about understanding how your customer consumes this information to then provide them a great user experience taking into consideration several variables such as devices, subjects, sources, on-line vs off-line reading, sharing, etc. Again, enterprise companies are just scratching the surface here. Startups and companies such as Google and Facebook are dictating the rules in this game.
Bottom-line: you can create really amazing new things using all those services that are available in the cloud, just putting them together, creating an API-based architecture and taking advantage of this content ecosystem.
Now, more and more startups are using cloud to create entirely new business models. If they weren’t perceived as competition to enterprise before they are now simply because they are able to take risks. Netflix disrupted Blockbuster. Spotify is putting the iTunes store in jeopardy. Not all risks pay off but new start ups are there and can can quickly interrupt an enterprise business model. If smaller start ups couldn’t pose a threat to enterprise businesses, large companies could just stay in their comfort zone without taking risks. Now everyone has to take risks just to stay competitive.
The time has come for enterprise to use cloud to really transform how we work and live. Geoffrey Moore’s book Escape Velocity explored large companies’ gravitational power compared to smaller companies without this pull. Without this force working against them, the smaller companies could fly. Similarly, it’s time for enterprise to start thinking about how to use cloud as an escape velocity towards their own innovation.