The COVID-19 crisis once again clearly shows how cloud and digitization are doing in many countries. Companies that opted for the cloud early on were able to respond spontaneously to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Despite many advantages, cloud services offer one thing above all: flexibility. This allows companies to design their IT landscape more dynamic, which has a positive effect on the productivity of employees, since home office can be quickly enabled. On the other hand, the flexibility of cloud services has an impact on the responsiveness of companies. In the context of increasing requests and growth, cloud infrastructures offer automatic scalability of requested resources. In uncertain times like the COVID-19 crisis, however, it has been shown that in the event of falling demand, scalability in the opposite direction can also be beneficial by quickly shutting down unused IT resources to reduce ongoing costs.
The Cloud Is the Starting Point, Not the Destination of the Digital Journey
Many service providers consider the cloud as the destination of the digital journey. However, this is a false assumption. The cloud is the starting point to help companies with their digital initiatives. Hence, the approach to the cloud must be reconsidered. To this end, it is important to determine which digital initiatives are in demand, which solutions are required and how the cloud can support this.
Two main areas of digital initiatives must be distinguished:
- Enterprise IT – the internal IT (internal digitization)
- Digital Business – the external IT (external digitization)
Many companies are currently implementing digital enterprise IT initiatives. This means that they use the cloud, for example, to increase the degree of employee collaboration and thus improve productivity. This includes more flexibility such as home office or globally distributed working as well as faster access to new applications via SaaS or the development of new internal applications. These and other themes fall under the keyword “Digital Workplace”. There is no question that enterprise IT is important, and it will remain important for organizations to be able to work. After all, emails must still be sent and received. And we also want to receive our salary on time. However, the pure cloud focus on enterprise IT does not deliver real business value for companies. This is simply the “must-have” exercise in cloud deployment.
Going the extra mile, however, is to use the cloud for digital business initiatives. For example, to use digital touchpoints. to interact more effectively with customers, to better reach and understand them. Digital touchpoints are ubiquitous for the digital economy. The digital touchpoint is defined by the environment where end consumers directly interact with the services of a digital business. A touchpoint can be any kind of interaction with a digital device, product or service. The digital touchpoint is the place where the value creation of digital companies takes place and where they generate their revenues – either directly or indirectly by collecting data. In the context of digital touchpoint solutions, the true strength of the cloud as a foundation for new technologies – such as Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, edge computing, VR, AR or blockchain – becomes apparent as they are required for digital touchpoints. Service providers looking for new opportunities and growth for their customers should therefore begin their journey by defining a digital touchpoint and then evaluate what opportunities the cloud offers as a technical starting point for implementation.
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