A great deal has been written over the past few years about the financial benefit of migrating to the public or hybrid cloud for enterprises around the world. For enterprise looking for economic benefits of moving to the cloud, the main points have always been the ability to only pay for what you need, reduced operational cost, agility, availability, and elasticity.
The naysayers continue to point to the risks and the considerable labour involved in an enterprise-wide cloud migration. I will not delve into either of those topics here – there is enough to read about that as it is. But looking further ahead, a question comes to mind: is there a global economic impact due to the adoption of cloud computing?
While I am not an economist, I believe that there is a case to be made that, given the valid risks, the global economy does benefit from large scale cloud adoption. Here are some technical areas to contemplate.
New business models
Writing for this publication last year, Louis Columbus argued that enterprises are discovering new models for doing business based on their transition to the cloud. Individual enterprises are developing these new models and, as will be discussed below, finding new means of collaboration with partners and even former competitors. This can lead to major shifts in global industries’ business models as well as the individual enterprise.
Data sharing and collaboration between entities
As business models shift based on cloud technologies and collaboration, and data sharing becomes the norm, an atmosphere of cooperation/competition can emerge. This is as opposed to the strictly competitive atmosphere that exists today.
The best example of a leading indicator – note the economic reference – is the air of cooperation, at the cloud orchestration and container support layers, between public cloud providers. Imagine if, for instance, a group of global insurance companies utilised cloud technologies to share basic liability data. Instead of expending resources to develop their own methodologies, creating barriers for themselves and their competitors, the cloud’s inherent data sharing capabilities can securely share information that eventually all the entities involved would have anyway. This type of collaboration could change the face of major industries.
Better coordination of efforts between international entities
In a world where international security entities are scrambling to ‘know’ where the next threat is coming from, information is paramount. Instead of taking years in creating complex interfaces between nation based systems, placing common information in a highly-secured, globally distributed, continuously updated, cloud-based service would be of greater benefit.
Increased speed of international transactions
The basic concept of time value of money (TVM) is just as valid today in the digital world as it was years ago. The speed at which international financial transactions are carried out, and the volume of those transactions, are critical in today’s global economy. The rise of cloud-based technologies, such as microservices architectures and automated sending of cloud-based resources, are playing a major role in the speed and volume aspects of global transactions.
I have not attempted to present hard economic data to show that cloud technology is having an impact globally – instead, I have hopefully stated the conversation around the global uses of cloud technologies and the impact that they can have – and are possibly already having – at a global rather than enterprise scale. Cloud technologies have the potential to change not only the way enterprises do business, but possibly whole industries – thus shifting the global economy.