Should You Be Using An Industry Cloud?

The latest tech tool provides a way to mature your services beyond broad horizontal offerings.

It’s one of the newest buzz phrases in the IT world: industry clouds. But what exactly is it, and what can it offer you?

Nicholas Merizzi, a principal of Deloitte Consulting in the firm’s Atlanta office, breaks down how IT professionals can best take advantage of industry clouds to boost the capabilities and performance of their organizations.

There is currently a lot of buzz around industry clouds, with major hyperscalers and technology players taking to it. What exactly are industry clouds, and should organizations be interested?

Businesses continue to embrace digital transformation and strategies that require them to build new capabilities that can disrupt and reinvent their products, services and operations. As a result, cloud hyperscalers continue to mature their services to extend beyond broad horizontal offerings and instead accelerate development of complex solutions that are industry specific. Industry clouds are composable solutions that target discrete use cases or user journeys within a particular industry. 

We see organizations using industry clouds to accelerate custom development projects. Such projects may range from end-to-end solutions to more modular building blocks, on top of which organizations can build differentiated capabilities that tap into a combination of many contemporary technologies such as edge, 5G, IoT and AI/ML, among others.

How are industry clouds accelerating digital transformation and helping businesses gain a competitive edge?

Industry clouds allow organizations to stay on the cutting edge while achieving an adaptive digital core necessary to remain nimble, lean and focused on differentiation. They enable time to market for customer experience IT professionals, including customer experience officers, to realize digital capabilities at a faster rate. This is because, in essence, industry clouds serve as a model architecture for business and technology change.

For CxOs, this helps accelerate the digitization of common and undifferentiated processes by making them consumable and provides relief on the resource constraints we all face. Internal strategy and technology teams can then focus their limited resources on building the digital capabilities that differentiate their business the most. 

For example, merely offering a digital financial advisor experience will not be a differentiating capability in the future. The digital process itself is largely the same across most offerings as is the technology; cloud enabled AR/VR, voice-to-text, and analytics capabilities power the basic digital advisor.

Where financial advisors can and will differentiate is through the personalized insights one digital advisor can provide over another, for example, recommending the next best action with a customer or factoring in how the financial portfolio fits into a more complex overall view of the customer and their experience across a suite of services.

In such an example, industry clouds can accelerate getting to that baseline digital financial advisor experience while you focus your internal team on building the next best action or total customer view to differentiate you in the market.

How mature are industry cloud solutions and in what industries are they most applicable?

Industry clouds are pervasive and applicable regardless of the industry or market sector. In sports, the automatic recording and transmission of data, telemetry, is changing both the competitive and viewer experience. Players’ speeds, probability of success, optimal match-ups and more are being calculated in real-time and are being used for contract negotiations, conditioning, and real-time game adjustments. Fast-food restaurant chains are shifting to AI-enabled drive-throughs, and healthcare providers seek to change the patient experience through cloud-based telehealth services.

These examples are far from exhaustive as the set of use cases for each market sector is extensive. Industry cloud accelerators are being built to address business cases like these across every industry and sector. Those that are available already have not yet hit critical mass of adoption, and system integrators and cloud providers continue to develop new industry vertical offerings to meet new and emerging market needs.

How should an organization go about adopting industry clouds? What is the role of ecosystem partners in this journey?

As with most digital transformation recommendations, it starts with strategy. Organizations will need to continuously sense the market to choose the right areas across their enterprise to invest in digital transformation and pursue custom builds over a traditional SaaS product approach. 

When build is right, look to capitalize on the increased verticalization of industry sector process architectures and the horizontal push across more integrated technology capabilities (AI, AR/VR, etc.) that is underway by cloud providers. Adoption of industry clouds should align to one’s core business strategy and still enable differentiated capabilities.

Industry clouds require a deep understanding of the specific industry context and user trends. It is no longer enough to have deep technology expertise; rather, the limiting factor is in applying these contemporary technologies to disrupt businesses. This is the opportunity and role for ecosystem players such as the system integrators.

The opportunity for clients to innovate and co-create industry clouds with system integrators and technology providers has never been greater.

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