Every company can soon become a cloud company

In recent years, many businesses have viewed the cloud as an important technology platform. There are clear attractions to replacing in-house data centers with delivered-as-a-service, on-demand IT, with billing tied to actual usage rather than a fixed cost. determined.

But what happens when the cloud moves from the platform that a business runs, to the product itself? How should companies outside of the tech industry adjust when much of the value inherent in their own operations can be delivered as a cloud service, rather than packaged into a product and service category services they sold in the traditional way?

For companies in the information and communication industries, these questions are not just academic concerns. And as more and more companies see data collection, data commercialisation, analysis, and communication as a core part of how they create value in their businesses, the range of companies and industries affected will increase. more developed. The ability to deliver some of this value as a cloud service to their own customers presents a business opportunity – and potential risk to those who are late.

Amazon Web Services’ annual re:Invent conference this week provided the latest glimpse into the clear future for this business. As the computing backbone for many organizations, AWS is on its way to becoming the world’s computer, so its annual event is always accompanied by a series of technical announcements. But it’s the way these new IT resources are being used that really grabs attention.

Two examples of “cloud as a product” stand out this week. It is not only in operational flexibility or cost that technology is having an impact, but also in the nature of the services themselves, and how they are delivered.

One example is how Goldman Sachs is now opening up more of its internal data and technology to its investment clients. NS co-branded service it announced this week – Goldman Sachs Financial Cloud for Data with Amazon Web Services – is something quite interesting. However, the name says it all: providing customers with data and analytics to invest in making more complex decisions for themselves or shaping the services they can sell to clients. own goods.

In this partnership, Goldman provides extensive market data and front-end analytics tools, and Amazon runs back-end data integration to bring it all together, including helping You can get data from other sources. Investment banking has long liked to talk about itself as a technology company as much as a financial institution: ideas like these point to new ways in which it can provide investment services, as well as new avenues to generate revenue.

The second example of how the cloud is changing both the nature of other services and the way they are delivered concerns 5G communications. AWS surprised the wireless world this week with the news that it would begin selling private 5G networks directly to businesses — allowing any company to run a high-speed wireless network, in fact. own high.

One factor behind this is the ability to run mobile network operations in the cloud. By eliminating the need for a wireless carrier to build its own proprietary network, cloud-delivered 5G service lowers barriers to entry for newcomers. break. Dish Network, working with AWS, hopes to use this to use three US national wireless networks with a rival mobile service.

Private 5G networks open up new use cases for the technology as well as new business opportunities. If 5G becomes easy and cheap for businesses, it could become a super-fast alternative to today’s corporate WiFi, beyond the confines of existing short-range office networks and providing higher reliability and higher capacity.

A corporate private network service like this can be set up and maintained by the customer’s existing IT vendors. Or companies can buy private 5G directly from Amazon, bypassing the middlemen entirely. Thanks to the cloud, a service that once had to be acquired from a narrow group of providers operating on specialized infrastructure – mobile communications companies – is about to become more widely available.

Wider adoption of cloud services like this will prompt more companies to examine the nature of their current business and where their competitive advantage lies. As software changes the way businesses operate, it is often said that every company is now a technology company. In the future, that could be replaced by a new chorus: every company is a cloud company.

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