In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business world innovation is not just a differentiator – it’s fast becoming the new normal. Businesses are looking to disrupt the markets they operate in before they find themselves on the receiving end of disruption and so have made innovation a top priority.
Equally, innovation on its own is no guarantee of success, it must be done quickly. Each company is in a race against its competitors to come up with – and launch – the product, service or idea that rewrites the rules of their industry and leads to market dominance.
Examples are all around us. From taxis to banks, digital newcomers are redefining the expectations of customers and are attracting them in their millions from established, slow-moving analogue competitors.
As we find ourselves talking to our phones, tablets and desktop computers, artificial intelligence and machine learning is finding its way into everyday life. It’s no surprise then that 56% of businesses we surveyed see the use of an integrated cloud platform as an opportunity to capitalise on AI’s potential.
Announcements from Oracle OpenWorld around the launch of Intelligent Applications and Cloud Platforms with built-in machine learning capabilities will stand to make it easier and faster for forward thinking companies to start exploring these exciting new avenues in a range of operational and customer-facing functions.
However, not all businesses are set up to take advantage of the opportunities presented by these breakthroughs. Some that have the desire to innovate are finding themselves stifled – locked in by traditional, inflexible, IT infrastructures. This is making them slow to react at a time when they need to be nimble and respond almost immediately to customer needs.
What’s the hold up?
Recent research by Oracle found that 60% of businesses were held back by rigid IT infrastructure, and almost as many said that while their business had implemented new technologies, a fragmented approach was hampering innovation efforts. The solution is moving from traditional IT to the cloud, but this cannot be done in a slapdash and ad-hoc manner. Rather, cloud capabilities should be fully integrated.
In fact, Oracle found that 60% of businesses see an integrated approach to cloud as a way to unlock the potential of disruptive technologies.
A company’s developers can be likened to painters, and the cloud, or specifically a cloud platform (platform as a service), is the canvas on which they paint. The canvas needs a solid backing however, and compute services (infrastructure as a service) is the foundation on which the cloud platform can reliably rest.
Integrate for success
Using cloud platform tools, combined with compute services, businesses have the opportunity to innovate at speed and take an entrepreneurial approach to testing and development.
Developer tools that sit on a cloud platform can also be enhanced and updated without the time and expense of proprietary applications.
Thanks to the tight integration with compute services, workloads can be efficiently moved between environments, such as on-premise and the cloud, depending on business needs. If greater resources are needed for development, or to support an on-rush of demand for a successful product, these can be brought online instantly thanks to the elastic ‘hyperscaling’ capabilities of compute services.
The flexible nature of compute services and cloud platforms means that smaller companies can take on larger enterprises. They can exploit the power of an integrated cloud as and when they need, and scale back as necessary, without having to take on the huge investments of purchasing and managing a large IT infrastructure. Indeed, the lack of legacy IT means they are able to innovate more quickly and effectively than their larger rivals.
An integrated cloud platform then can level the playing field between large enterprises and SMEs. With such powerful tools at their disposal, the only differentiator is the willingness of the company to innovate.
If a company is moving forwards without an integrated cloud strategy, the reality is that it will be moving backwards as companies ready to embrace the power and flexibility provided by integrated cloud services are placing themselves firmly in the innovation fast lane.