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As featured on BusinessMirror: The Cloud–More than outsourced infrastructure

Sometimes a company operates IT infrastructure with its own equipment and resources, often called “on-premises hosting.” However, this model is often inefficient: Expensive technologies are usually used with less than full capacity and assets are mainly managed manually instead of automatically.

Cloud use: Less investment, more IT security

It is therefore particularly attractive for businesses to use cloud services. The cloud makes infrastructure instantly available, in exactly the amount the business needs. Tying up valuable capital through high investments in hardware and software is thus avoided.

In addition, with the right providers, IT security is generally higher than in an on-premises model. Often this is because the large cloud service providers invest considerably more in IT security than a Small to Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) can afford.

"Cloud implementation must be part of a company’s digital transformation roadmap and its overall business strategy as information sharing in the cloud opens up a variety of possibilities to provide added business value.”

Jallain Marcel S. Manrique
Head of Technology Consulting
KPMG in the Philippines

He also added that “value chains and business models can be improved and reinvented by this convenient and digital way of information transfer. Customers, partners in the supply chain, and the entire business organization will all gain from this technology.”

Use resources more wisely

Regular maintenance, care, and ongoing assurance of effective security architecture are necessary for smooth and secure on-premises operations. Cloud solutions also offer advantages in terms of operational costs. Transforming to a cloud operating model can free up resources in the company that can be reallocated to innovation, new products, and growth.

Operational infrastructure in the cloud can be used to control plants or machines in the manufacturing industry (cloud-based backends). Cloud can also be critical in the operation of smart stores.

However, the possible added value of cloud computing goes far beyond IT. Small to Medium-sized Enterprises that only use the cloud as an outsourced IT infrastructure are not making full use of its potential. The cloud can transform and accelerate the way products are designed, manufactured, improved, and distributed.

Use migration to the cloud for standardization and optimization

Cloud transformation should be used to optimize applications and related processes. Instead of migrating existing applications, processes, and data to the cloud in their original form (“lift and shift migration”), they should be standardized and simplified as part of the migration.

Data protection and compliance are essential

A great potential of the cloud lies in sharing or collaborating around data with business partners or customers in the cloud. A cloud transformation must be carefully planned and implemented so regulatory requirements are met which can help minimize the risk of reputational damage – to avoid things like the misuse of company and customer data by third parties.

Therefore, data protection and compliance should aim to be ensured at an early stage. In addition, robust data governance structures should be used to help ensure that sensitive data is not transferred to data-sharing ecosystems. Only in a later step should the potential for data exchange be developed.

Cloud as a data pool

By sharing data, value chains and business models can be optimized and redesigned. Your own company and customers, along with supply chain partners, can potentially benefit from this.

For example, companies could use shared data pools to optimize the maintenance and repair of their machines ("smart maintenance"). Or a retailer's suppliers could gain insight into their real-time data and thus see when the retailer's stock of their products is running low and help ensure the timely delivery of new goods. The scenario would also apply to pre-product research and development, and many other cases.

Such information has commonly been shared along value chains in the past, but cloud solutions can simplify and automate this in a shared ecosystem.

Cooperate instead of dominate

For data sharing in these ecosystems to be mutually beneficial, these networks must be based on equal partnership and reciprocity. There should be no dominant actor in the ecosystem who can gain an advantage from the data to a particular degree and/or to the detriment of other members.

The cloud provider itself should not be a dominant player either – for example, in addition to its function as a cloud service provider, it also acts as a competitor to those who make their data available and share in the cloud.

With the points described, small- to medium-sized enterprises, in particular, can make greater use of the diverse potential of the cloud. However, it is important that any attempt at cloud transformation fits in with the strategic goals of the enterprise, is embedded in the overall digital transformation strategy, and that a suitable cloud architecture with the right cloud provider is selected accordingly.

The excerpt was taken from the KPMG Thought Leadership publication: https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2022/06/the-cloud-more-than-outsourced-infrastructure.html