Industry cloud platforms provide organizations in highly regulated industries the opportunity to leverage traditional cloud architecture together with industry-specific business applications. The appetite for cloud adoption continues to grow and by deploying industry-specific cloud architecture, organizations can kick-start their digital transformation journey and respond to industry and business challenges.
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Cloud Platforms Are Evolving, Organizations Need Industry-Specific Solutions
Public, private, multi, and hybrid cloud solutions have revolutionized the way organizations consume technology. These cloud services form an important part of any organization’s digital transformation journey. However, in industries such as financial services, healthcare, and government, organizations have realized that they require industry-specific cloud solutions to be compliant with industry frameworks and local data privacy laws. This has led to the growing demand for a packaged cloud platform to meet the unique demands of each industry.
Industry cloud platforms are generally built using modular services and solutions that support industry-specific business needs. For example, Microsoft’s Cloud for Healthcare platform combines the Azure platform, Dynamics 365, Power BI, HoloLens, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Teams to enable healthcare providers to improve patient experience, boost clinical productivity, and empower clinicians to focus on high-value work using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered tools. AWS for Financial Services allows organizations to package solutions such as AWS’ EC2, S3, SageMaker, and AWS Lambda to build secure and resilient infrastructure, high compute availability, and virtual code running without provisioning or managing of servers.
Private cloud computing has grown in prominence along with the rise of public cloud, with organizations preferring to complement their public cloud investments with the predictability and security of private cloud platforms. The private cloud allows organizations to implement customized security measures in line with industry requirements, perform hardware and software optimization to tailor to the specific needs of the business, and be able to embark on a multi-cloud strategy, striking a balance between agility and manageability.
The rise of AI, particularly generative AI has resulted in cloud hyperscalers introducing industry-specific AI solutions, enabling organizations to leverage cutting-edge technologies. During its recent Apsara Conference, Alibaba Cloud announced a new suite of 10 industry-specific AI tools, built on the cloud hyperscaler’s Large Language Model (LLM) platform, Tongyi Qianwen. Each of Alibaba Cloud’s 10 AI tools is built to support specific industry needs. Tongyi Renxin serves as an intelligent healthcare assistant, providing comprehensive medical knowledge to users, while Tongyi Dianjin helps finance professionals answer finance-related information, extract relevant data from financial reports, and draft basic financial reports.
One Size Does Not Fit All, Verticalization Is Needed to Remain Competitive
Implementing an industry cloud can significantly accelerate an organization’s cloud adoption appetite, simply because an industry cloud offers relevant industry solutions and not just technological improvements. Industry clouds also solve the innovation versus compliance conundrum due to the intrinsic nature of an industry cloud that is built with industry-specific regulations and security in mind. Industry clouds are built to fit the exact needs and requirements of an industry. Due to the modular nature of a typical industry cloud, organizations can leverage specific industry solutions or applications to address current business challenges and improve productivity.
Industries that will benefit from implementing industry cloud platforms include:
- Healthcare: A healthcare industry cloud platform is built with a deep understanding of prevailing healthcare regulatory and security requirements such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without a patient’s consent in the United States. A cloud healthcare platform enables healthcare providers to manage large volumes of clinical and patient data, allowing for faster access to critical medical data.
- Retail: A retail-specific cloud platform allows retailers to gain more customer insights and maximize the value of customer data by having real-time customer insights and behaviors using AI and data analytics. Retailers can also build a sustainable supply chain by implementing demand planning and optimization applications, ensuring full supply chain visibility across all business channels.
- Financial Services: A financial services cloud allows financial institutions and payment providers to modernize payment platforms, enabling a flexible microservices environment for better agility and scalability. Financial institutions can also leverage cloud-based AI and Machine Learning (ML) solutions to analyze data in real time and improve fraud detection and prevention. Banks can also improve customer experience by implementing conversational AI and voice identification technology, improving agent and customer experiences.
Security and compliance have been cited as the number one reason for cloud adoption resistance, especially for highly regulated industries. Data sovereignty and residency regulations have often prevented organizations in healthcare, financial services, and government from migrating to the cloud. Hence, a private cloud platform is an integral component of any industry cloud ecosystem, especially for industries that are highly protective and strict in terms of storing personal data. A private cloud platform ensures that organizations can maintain control over their data, allowing for data to be stored, processed, and transferred securely. By deploying an industry cloud that combines the flexibility and scalability of a public cloud with the security and reliability of a private cloud, organizations will be able to leverage package-built industry capabilities to better streamline business processes, while modernizing legacy infrastructure and enhancing company-wide digital capabilities without compromising security and regulatory compliance.
Leveraging Industry Cloud Platforms to Improve Business Outcomes
Industry cloud platforms combine traditional cloud services architecture with modular and customizable industry-specific capabilities to address industry challenges. Organizations can deploy an industry cloud platform to modernize existing legacy infrastructure and build faster time-to-value business offerings. Below are some areas of consideration that organizations should investigate when assessing the feasibility of deploying an industry cloud platform:
- Data Orchestration and Management: Enable the storage and management of large volumes of data, ensuring the free flow of data across the entire organization. Organizations can build cloud data lakes, while leveraging cloud-based advanced analytics and data processing features for real-time insights and faster business decision-making.
- Customer Acquisition and Experience: Organizations can have a better understanding of customer preferences, provide personalized experience, and better target marketing to increase customer acquisition. This can be achieved by deploying cloud-based services such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and omnichannel platform insights and analytics applications.
- Leverage Cutting-Edge Technology: Cloud-based applications such as AI/ML and smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices are often packaged and delivered using cloud-based platforms. Organizations that are looking to leverage and deploy these cutting-edge technologies will have to implement cloud-based services to fully benefit from these technologies.
The decision to deploy an industry cloud platform should fit into the overall business strategy of an organization. Choosing the right industry cloud provider will be crucial, especially when it comes to areas such as security and compliance. While the main reason for implementing an industry cloud platform can be from a technological modernization perspective, organizations should also have a clear plan regarding user training and adoption, ensuring the workforce is well-equipped to use the cloud-based solutions.
As the industry cloud platform continues to evolve, organizations should understand that implementing a cloud platform is not a one-and-done, but a continuous process. The ability to constantly improve and innovate using cloud-based industry solutions will determine how organizations respond to business challenges.