Australia will experience a change in the business billing landscape and other Cloud-enabled offerings according to a panel convened by Frost & Sullivan.
Industry leaders and analysts gathered to discuss the future of Cloud services and how they will affect Australian business going forward.
The panel was moderated by Frost & Sullivan managing director, Mark Dougan. Participants included Asset.Guru chief executive and founder, Chris Petersen; Nimble Storage vice president Asia Pacific, Peter O'Connor; Unleashed Software chief executive, Gareth Berry; and Zuora vice president professional services APAC, Kim Benito.
Drawing on the results of Frost & Sullivan's 2014 State of the Cloud report, Dougan said, “Seven in 10 Australian organisations currently use some form of Cloud computing services. Two-thirds of those companies say the cloud has significantly improved their business performance and our research shows that on average, use of the Cloud leads to IT cost savings in the region of 12 per cent. It's a compelling story that we expect will encourage further cloud adoption and the exploration of new business models over the next five years.”
There is no doubt there is a considerable amount of eagerness from business to leverage Cloud technologies. Companies such as Amazon Web services and Microsoft are two prevalent examples.
Benito sited Deloitte, Sensis, Fairfax and Weight Watchers, all companies attempting to grow and engage with customers through Cloud services.
Nimble Storage is an interesting case study on the opportunities for new service and billing models. APAC VP, Peter O’Connor explained how the firm complements its traditional hardware-based solution with a pay-per-use rental model.
“Nimble now provides rental infrastructure on a pay per use basis. With the cloud as the delivery mechanism, users can access our Cloud storage platform, either in-house or through the storage provider of their choice, and only pay for storage as it is consumed.”
“This is a major break from the past when organisations used to have to buy on average two years of storage up front. It's a far more efficient approach for the buyer and one that places almost as much focus on the billing model as it does on the product itself.”
Petersen (Asset.Guru) suggested that aside from changing business models, interconnectedness will be a focal for much of the innovation and disruption we will see in 2015.
“We've moved away from the point systems of the '80s and '90s, and now everyone is looking at how various parties can interconnect to provide a single solution to the customer. When a SaaS vendor integrates their offering with other SaaS vendors, all of a sudden they find themselves offering a low-risk, enterprise-grade process with global market reach. Today’s vendors are providing solutions that used to cost anywhere from $200,000 to $2 million dollars at a low per user, per month cost.”
“What we have experienced is that small organisations using Asset.Guru can operate with the corporate rigour of a large company, and larger organisations using start up software have a doorway to the more innovative thought processes and product solutions of a young company. This is what is enabling transformation in software, and the software is transforming industries.”
Petersen called this movement the “democratisation of software” and said we will soon reach a point where there are no longer enterprise and SMB versions of software, but one scalable Cloud-based version tailored to each client.
Berry (Unleashed Software) agreed that leveraging Cloud services has become a key foundational element for business.
“It's 2015 and business is conducted from more than just a single address. Entrepreneurial Australian SME businesses such as Zaffero Lighting and Miglass High Performance Windows are demanding more flexibility from their systems.”
“They want to enable their staff to break free from the shackles of the old way of doing things and have their key information, data and business tools available to them whenever and wherever they need them. And this means software and services in the cloud, accessible on a multitude of devices.”
All the panelists agreed that we have only scratched the surface of possibilities for Cloud-enabled computing. All agreed that the as-as-service model enabled by Cloud will become more attractive to resellers and vendors as opportunities to leverage to leverage the technology become more apparent.