Last week we gathered with more than 20k people on site, and more than 125k online to share, listen and learn (www.sapphirenow.com). Needless to say it was 5 packed days of intensive interaction, lots of meetings, presentations and also some quality time to discuss more profoundly where we see Clod Computing going forward.
What would be my executive summary for cloud? I stick with what I kept hearing, what we kept saying: cloud stands for simple and faster time to value.
Also we see that it is not a simple equation if you look at the realities of the customers and the co-system. No doubt, cloud will be the pre-dominant model of delivery and the respective technology will be first choice – but the cloud comes in several flavors – and we need to manage this complexity – to keep it simple.
Customers don’t´ buy into the simplistic pitch of “only” cloud vendors – I call them cloud 1.0 vendors – “cloud good, on-premise bad” , because this rip-and-replace approach serves the vendor, not the customer. There are more sustainable ways of leveraging cloud, and the current situation should define the path to cloud.
Companies are more calculated in their cloud purchase decisions, demanding greater flexibility and choice in their cloud portfolio. And they aren’t going to rip and replace everything they’ve already got.
Instead, they are looking to extend their existing technology investments with cloud applications and infrastructure to enable new processes and unlock new insights or reach new markets that are not possible or efficient at scale in on-premise environments.
But lets see what most analysts, customers and partners expressed as their key objective and what I found on the top of every wish list – no matter if the line of business was e.g. HR, Procurement, marketing and the alike or the line of business was IT (yes, IT is a line of business as well – if managed right a very innovative one):
For most of the attendees I spoke with innovation is a game-changer. There’s a new sense of urgency. We can see an accelerating the pace of change and innovation for us and for our customers. Cloud is at the heart of this change
Cloud computing is having a massive influence on every service and product, and ultimately the end user in a big way. What the cloud enables B2B and B2C companies to do is really put customer and the end user at the center of their business. Cloud customers have full flexibility to consume what they need when they need it and on a simplified, unified and real-time platform.
The distance between the engineer and the end user of the product is now dramatically reduced. The result is unmatched speed of innovation, simplicity and reduced time to value. The cloud has enabled businesses, whether they are using public, private or hybrid cloud, with the simplification of processes and time of value that trumps any other technology.
When businesses today want to outpace the disruption happening in the market, they need the adequate technology that will help them adapt to change quickly —cloud is the spearhead of that.
And it’s not just cloud computing technology that is the driving force for business innovation. It is the advent of multiple disruptive technologies, like mobile, in-memory computing and predictive analytics, coming together thanks to the cloud.
And they are beginning to scrutinize the bigger picture IT environment and drive towards simplification across all layers of the stack. That means they are not only looking for broader cloud business process suites as described above, but they expect these applications to look and perform similarly, and interact with one another seamlessly.
There is a lot of hype around the cloud, but what it really comes down is delivering tangible business outcomes, fast – and simplify what we have today.
Whether you choose to ignore it at your own risk, the cloud is real and it is here now. It doesn’t matter what date you put on innovation because it is a constant task, you need to embrace cloud now.
Also see a nice summary in this interview by the anchorman of Americas SAP User Group – great questions that show where the industry is at and what they need to know:
A Conversation on SAP's Cloud Conversion (Tom Wailgum featuring Sven Denecken, ASUGNews June 11, 2014).