The COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting economic crisis have upended how companies work and operate. The massive shift to work-from-home triggered multiple business challenges such as the need for better communication and data security tools, the revamp of business continuity planning (BCP) strategy, and onboarding of scalable cloud models. In fact, the challenges posed by this global disruption acted as a critical catalyst for many companies to accelerate their cloud computing and overall cloud adoption plans. And this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Research from Gartner projects that enterprise IT spending on public cloud computing will increase 18.4% to $304.9 billion in 2021, up from $257.5 billion in 2020. It’s fair to say that the increased use of public cloud services has made cloud adoption a “new normal” for businesses.
The Evolution of Global Business Ops
As this trend continues to evolve, business leaders are paying close attention to the new possibilities that cloud solutions offer beyond the obvious. As a result, companies need to increase their investments in cloud technologies, particularly as a key driver of global business services (GBS), in order to ensure greater productivity and growth by enabling tighter collaboration with data engagement platforms and other systems. And while initial GBS cloud investments targeted back-office and middle-office operations, it covers the full spectrum of business processes today. The GBS function now helps enterprises to address multiple operational needs across these very business processes and areas, including IT, finance, human resources, procurement, marketing, and sales.
At present, GBS leverages digital technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, and machine learning (ML) to gather insights about customers, suppliers, employees, and others to drive superior customer experiences and unveil continuous learning opportunities. In this “new normal”, cloud-based GBS solutions can not only improve a company’s cost structure but also accelerate new business model innovation, ensure seamless remote working, support greater operational efficiency, and deliver better customer experience. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how new and emerging challenges such as distributed workforce, connected devices, big data and analytics, cost concerns, and network security and safety can all be addressed by fully leveraging the power of a future-ready enterprise cloud ecosystem.
Insights Driven Business Decision-Making
Insights-driven organizations are usually better equipped than other organizations to create more value for their business and customers. According to a pre-pandemic research report by Forrester, insights-driven businesses were already growing eight times faster than the global GDP and were on track to be worth $1.8 trillion by the end of 2021. These agile organizations are continuously trying to gather actionable insights to emerge stronger and more profitable. Therefore, to remain competitive, businesses need to make substantial investments in enterprise Internet of things (IoT) and big data. The combination of these two technologies can enable them to gain foothold in leveraging insights, which will contribute toward attracting and retaining more customers.
According to estimates, the global big data analytics market is poised to reach $105.08 billion by 2027, up from $37.34 billion in 2018. More than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is generated on a daily basis. The increase in data can be contributed to the rapid adoption of technologies, including IoT, AI, and even cloud technologies. This is accelerating the growth of the big data analytics market. Meanwhile, many experts believe that IoT big data analysis is the key to a company’s digital transformation initiatives. It analyzes data gathered from connected devices and structures it into actionable data sets. These data sets can help the company improve its work processes, boost staff productivity, optimize operations, improve security, and enhance customer experience.
Evolving to an Integrated Operations Model
The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the transition from monolithic architectures to integrated operations, which combines different business-aligned support functions to create a single operating model. The integrated operations approach can empower real-time, next-generation decision-making and result in positive business outcomes and exceptional customer experiences. Some of its main features includes using the cloud and people involved in operations to achieve end-to-end visibility, process-based automation, alignment and optimization of business processes, enhanced digitization, and persona-based customer experience.
The shift from a traditional model to an integrated model entails the digitalizing of order-to-cash and procurement processes. Using digital platforms to automate the end-to-end order-to-cash process can help companies to reduce costs by 15-30%, result in up to 30% shorter day’s sales outstanding, improve customer satisfaction, and boost sales by 1-3%. As for procurement processes, companies can use procure-to-pay software solutions to strengthen compliance and gain greater control over among vendors, contracts, and accounts payable.
The integrating order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes can help companies add more resilience to their supply chain operations. Coupled with cloud-based supply chain management solutions, these integrated processes can offer a holistic view of their supply chain. This will not only improve productivity but also positively impact sales and customer satisfaction.
The Way Forward
Needless to say, the pandemic has validated the value proposition of cloud services and cloud technologies. With the sudden switch to remote working, companies had to move their on-premises services and technology to the cloud under the function of business continuity planning. This made shifting from a CAPEX (capital expenditure) model to an OPEX (operational expenditure) model a lucrative and logical option.
The pay-as-you-go model for cloud services can ensure business continuity even during unforeseen circumstances. For example, the ongoing social distancing rules and government restrictions on social gatherings and travels pushed companies to adopt a cloud environment that enables seamless integration of applications and facilitates remote/virtual working. Cloud-based communication and collaboration tools also ensures secure enterprise-wide communication.
And finally, cloud IT transformation helps companies reduce their CAPEX, easily up-scale or de-scale their cloud infrastructure on demand, and improve their IT security. But while all these benefits make it appear like an obvious choice, it’s never as simple as it first appears. Ensuring that such a transformation is done effectively, with business-aligned outcomes and a roadmap, requires companies to select the right service partners.
With a shift as essential as cloud, businesses need value-driven partnerships with solutions providers that go beyond the contract to offer an end-to-end service experience. This is the only way to ensure that whether it’s cloud migration or full implementation, the cloud solution is informed by business thinking and powered by a future-ready technology expertise. It’s this partnership that can make or break a successful transformation, and is the critical first step toward embracing the full potential of the cloud for global business services.