While the case for the cloud has always been compelling, perceptions over complexity have remained a persistent deterrent for businesses preferring the security blanket of their on-premise solution.
We’re well versed in the dialogue that has long surrounded the subject: how the detractors routine countered the promise of greater efficiencies and cost savings with concerns over privacy and security, fearful of the lack of physical control.
But perhaps most prevailing of all, was how the technical know-how needed for successful deployment and integration continued to preclude many from reaping the benefits, leaving business process management on premise and the heavy lifting firmly with IT. As a result, this innovative and shapeshifting technology all too often remained divorced and siloed from wider business operations and teams, unable to reach its full transformative potential.
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Fortunately, 2017 was a year of more meaningful change in this area, as the hype and predictions finally came to fruition, and the cloud became a more mainstream reality. A number of factors conspired, notably innovation that made its integration and deployment simpler and accessible to more people within an organisation. Additionally, the starring role the technology has played in the rising trend for mergers and acquisitions has driven even wider use.
Indeed, the number of these transactions snowballed this year with $52.4 billion (£31.60 billion) in deals conducted across the globe between April and June, representing a 57 per cent year-over-year increase, according to professional services firm EY (formerly Ernst and Young). Amid intense competition, businesses have looked to consolidate their core strengths and focus on their most profitable activities, offloading some of the less well-performing facets of the operation onto other businesses through global deals.
Cloud cemented its status as a ‘go to’ platform for underpinning these transactions. It provided the kind of speed, flexibility and easily scalable infrastructure needed when contending with the challenge of consolidating disparate systems, users and infrastructure, particularly during the post deal transition period. In doing so, the technology helped to shift the perception of IT as a hindrance in the process of mergers and acquisitions, to one that can drive and facilitate the seamless convergence of cultures and operating systems.
Amid soaring application needs, solution developers have responded by offering low-code development platforms, better suited to a business operating environment. An environment that demands pace and agility to solve problems and respond to opportunities with minimum disruption.
Here, the game changer has been the new wave of solutions which harness visual, intuitive instructions for app building, as opposed to pure programming. This empowers a far wider range of business users to get involved, from a click from a mobile or laptop.
The move translates to greater efficiencies and productivity benefits, as applications are built quicker, changes are made more easily for a faster and cheaper operating environment, while organisational culture is improved through better alignment between business and IT.