Industry clouds: Tailored platforms next big evolution

Industry clouds
Industry clouds

Cloud adoption has been rising over the past few years, driven in part by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to research by Gartner, enterprise IT spending on public cloud computing will overtake spending on traditional IT in 2025.

However, as the demand for more scalable and affordable computing systems increase, so does the pressure on suppliers to deliver viable options that meet their specific needs. That is where industry cloud comes in.

When cloud technology was first popularised, there were an abundance of public cloud providers. That is, until the market was taken over by the big three: Google, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services. Therefore, players that could not keep up often merged to create a vertically oriented cloud, aka an industry cloud.

Last year, Forrester declared that industry clouds would be a key technology trend for 2022. But what are industry clouds, why do they matter, and why are they growing so quickly?

What is an industry cloud?

Industry clouds are collections of cloud services, tools, and applications that are optimised to fit a specific industry. Solutions from major public cloud providers also typically offer a variety of software and services. For instance, the partnership between Microsoft and SAP allows them to deliver SAP supply chain solutions through Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing.

Industry clouds come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of approaches and strategies. And each provider will have a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Making it important to do your research before jumping in.

Why are industry clouds growing?

The aim used to be simply migrating to the cloud. Though as businesses start to see the potential benefits of having industry-specific or industry-compliant features, public cloud providers must adapt.

Because industry clouds are purpose-built for a specific industry, such as retail, insurance, banking, healthcare, manufacturing, and so forth. This means the cloud can deal with vertical-specific issues such as the rules and regulations of how an enterprise in a certain market sector and/or geographic location must process, store, audit, or secure its data and operations.

Cloud services are available on demand and they fit within the many vertically oriented applications that companies build. This allows companies to move faster and relegate the headaches of ever-changing and complex industry-specific services to someone else’s problem domain.

Industry clouds are made up of multiple solutions built on, or fully connected to a single platform. They provide a single source of data that is quickly and easily found, analysed and acted upon. Creating the perfect environment for businesses to grow.

What’s more, they can completely transform a company’s core business model. With easier and quicker access to data, manufacturers can be more responsive to market conditions, allowing them to engage deeper with customers and suppliers.

With industry clouds you can start small and expand later – if and when needed. They offer the flexibility to easily update configurations as their needs evolve. Plus there is no need to worry about compatibility across different solutions.

What does the future hold for industry cloud?

We are only in the beginning of the industry cloud evolution. Though, they can be adapted to companies new and old across a variety of industries. Therefore, industry clouds will likely become a mainstream offering over the next few years.

But, as with any new technology, what is today a competitive advantage, tomorrow will be industry standard. Even if you are currently not in need of a full solution, it would be wise to choose a platform that will benefit you in the future.

However, it is still early days for industry clouds. So, when you are comparing industry clouds from public cloud providers, make sure you compare not just the industry cloud offerings from different providers but also the industry cloud of each provider to their general-purpose solution. There might not yet be that much of a difference.

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