The use of the cloud is almost ubiquitous in business today, however as we move beyond the cloud there are five trends worth considering:
1. Death of the corporate network
The corporate network has dominated much of IT in the past. However, in these enterprise cloud enabled times it has no further purpose. The pandemic has accelerated this trend as many of us are now working from home and accessing corporate IT remotely via a VPN. This means running a complex network for a few legacy use cases can no longer be justified.
2. Software as a Service (SaaS) is the end game
The move to SaaS will continue to transform the market over time. Early demand for the cloud was based on storage and compute. SaaS changes this thinking as storage and compute is no longer relevant.
The future will see all software packages delivered as a SaaS. Those that don’t will have such a high marginal cost to provide separate storage and compute that they will be uneconomic.
3. The cloud is becoming the end-to-end ecosystem
Cloud providers are moving towards providing a single solution for the enterprise. Microsoft is very much leading the way. With Azure, Dynamics and 365 products it is now able to offer an end-to-end corporate solution including finance, people management, e-commerce and CRM. Where it goes, others will follow.
For many customers, buying decisions will need to be based on choosing a platform, not just a product. This is being made easier as software vendors consolidate to provide the solution required.
4. The IT industry will de-skill
There is no doubt that IT is becoming simpler and easier to understand, meaning the specific skills required to use and maintain IT are lessening. The earliest computers were programmed by PHD students in binary code. As technology moved on, more accessible computer languages were developed so that instructions could be written in English.
Today there are very few applications that cannot be bought off the shelf ready to use. This has driven organisations to adapt their process to the application rather than the other way round.
In my view, the corporate IT function will transform over time to reflect this change further as the cloud reaches critical mass with the future skills based on service managers and user experience.
5. The IT supply chain is being rewritten
As with all disruptive business models, the cloud will impact the supply chain. A new breed of suppliers is growing. Those that were born in the cloud so are not constrained by a legacy business model. They understand the demands of the cloud, how to make it work effectively and how to service the customer. They do not have distributed centres of excellence that cannot function together, or a suite of bespoke tools, because they are able to operate natively within the cloud with the tools provided to offer an integrated service.