By Amit Gupta, Founder and CEO, Rapyder Cloud Solutions
When the pandemic struck and the world shifted to virtual operations, businesses, notwithstanding their size, were forced to find solutions that would improve digital experiences for their staffers and customers alike. Suddenly words like remote working and cloud services, which they had heard about before but had not paid attention to, gained greater significance.
Three years down the line, cloud services have gone beyond plugging the then-urgent need to meet evolving customer demands; it has become a mainstay in a company’s digital transformation roadmap.
The reasons for this ramp-up are myriad. However, primarily it is because cloud services offer businesses a scalable and manageable on-demand computing infrastructure, which makes it ideal for a wide range of entities, from fledging startups to large enterprises.
According to the ‘Next-Generation Cloud Strategy in Asia’ survey, commissioned by Alibaba Cloud, 84% of existing cloud services users are expected to increase their investment in cloud technology in 2023. A similar number are also planning a complete cloud migration in two years.
These figures are unsurprising as some sectors reaped the benefits of the cloud more than others. Here’s a look at some of them and how this technology proved to be advantageous to their business:
According to an IBM report, approximately 91% of banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) companies were using or planning to use the cloud before the pandemic. However, stakeholders from this sector became strong advocates of the technology during the lockdown.
A Harris Poll commissioned by Google Cloud found that between December 2020 and January 2021, 83% of financial services institutions were using cloud technology. However, they continued to retain some core financial workloads on-premise. Another Gartner analysis reported that 70% of banking leaders expected their cloud spending to increase in 2022.
These figures highlight two things. Firstly, cloud computing helped the BFSI sector to weather COVID-19 better by storing data that kept pace with their capacity and speed requirements. Secondly, they could enjoy the benefits of improved customer insights, efficiency and cost-effective innovation.
Additionally, advanced cloud analytics can sift through the mountains of customer data generated by BFSI companies in real time to offer customer personalization and proactive engagement across all channels. They can also streamline, automate and link back-office activities to front-end activities, which was always among legacy operations’ biggest challenges.
With cloud technology, connecting and integrating numerous data and operational systems is more effortless, irrespective of where the information comes from. This means that staff have more accessible and faster access to data, which in turn can ramp up their decision-making.
Additionally, with the advent of fintech solutions, BFSI companies can leverage cloud technology to shorten product deployment cycles and onboard new apps to their system. They are in a better position to test new products in real-time and quickly respond to customer demands.
Consumers globally have become increasingly dependent on their mobile devices, and stakeholders in the telecom sector are constantly trying to improve their services by rolling out faster and more reliable network connectivity. With 6G on its way, they are eager to offer digitally immersive services to subscribers, be it UHD videos or high-speed gaming.
These telecom companies can use cloud services to augment how they build, manage, and scale their networks. The very scalable nature of the cloud allows them to save costs by letting them deploy services as per their need while leveraging technologies like virtualization and containerization to develop highly tensile networks.
Telecom companies can also use an array of cloud services to offer new applications to their customers. With the help of advanced cloud automation DevOps, they can quickly integrate third-party software on their network and provide these to their customers on a subscription model.
Retail customers were probably amongst the fastest adopters of cloud technologies during the pandemic. With physical shops shuttered down, they quickly pivoted to virtual platforms to shop for products and services.
Retail companies too quickly expanded their omnichannel presence, with many setting up a direct-to-consumer network to meet these evolved needs. And cloud services helped them to spin on this axle. That explains why India’s retail industry achieved 96% of its pre-COVID-19 sales in September 2021, per a Retailers Association of India study.
However, having given customers a taste of instantaneous gratification, retail companies now have to continue re-evaluating and overhauling their existing processes to keep pace with market dynamics.
Take the same-day delivery for FMCG brands and under 30 minutes delivery for quick commerce entities. While unimaginable three years ago, they became ubiquitous in their respective segments today.
Such expectations have increased business complexity for retail companies, forcing them to rethink their existing models. They need to calibrate data from various sources to deliver products and services quickly and accurately. Cloud services ensure that all this data is accessible in real-time across business departments for faster decision-making.
Moreover, some of this information can be shared with third-party service providers, like delivery partners and customer service executives, to enhance their operations, including troubleshooting.
Small and medium businesses (SMB) are highly judicious with their IT spending, given their limited budgets. Cloud services fit in perfectly with their digital transformation smorgasbord since it offers them an asset-light approach.
The biggest lucre of cloud services for SMBs is its scalable nature. They no longer need to invest in physical servers, networking equipment or software licenses, which are difficult to scale back, should that need arise. Moreover, they can expand these services when their business is on the upswing, making it a win-win situation for them.
Customer Experience Platforms
A customer-centric approach is the secret sauce for any business’ success. However, its importance gains a halo in contemporary times when competition is rife and recessionary trends are evident.
Legacy systems can slow down a company’s vision for on-point, seamless and optimized customer experiences, given the time on-premise platforms take to adopt any change. Just think of a trip to a bank some years ago vis a vis getting questions addressed through a chatbot on the bank’s website today. Surely, the latter has made life easy all around for the bank and its customers!
Cloud services can inject flexibility and fluidity in the process when it comes to customer service. They allow teams to communicate efficiently and securely, irrespective of where these members are based. Companies can also quickly roll out new services to retain existing customers after analyzing data that point out emerging trends with opportunities to be harnessed.
The cloud services model has a low upfront cost, anywhere access and improved redundancy and backup, which results in increased efficiency for most business sectors. This is a huge step up from traditional ways of data storage and computing, which were highly inflexible and therefore, restricting.
Cloud service will continue to remain in the fast lane for the upcoming years, especially against the backdrop of an uncertain business landscape. Its fluidity and resilience mitigate innovation risk while empowering businesses to rapidly scale their operations.