Looking into the future: 2019 in the cloud

The topic of enterprises moving to the cloud has become ubiquitous within tech, as more and more companies recognise that legacy infrastructure can no longer cut it. Businesses are realising that they need to use data to differentiate themselves from the competition. However, while it has long been accepted that there will be a shift from on-prem to off-prem, the question now is to what extent that will happen, as well as how exactly it will play out.

Last year saw cloud technology infrastructure maturing, with IDC predicting in January that $160 billion would be spent on cloud services worldwide – a 23.2% increase over 2017. This proved especially important for emerging use cases such as machine learning, which need powerful back-end tools. One example of this was Ocado Technology, which developed custom ML algorithms to predict and recognise potential fraud incidents, tapping into data taken from past orders.

This year, however, will see businesses increasingly turning to the cloud to solve more complex problems. Regardless of whether those problems are data-centric, focus on growth ambitions or come out of wanting to respond to consumer demands faster, the agility and ramped-up processing power offered by the cloud will be crucial for enterprises in 2019.

But how can businesses take advantage of the cloud in the year ahead?

A great user experience will continue to be the main driver for competitive differentiation

Today, it is easy for us as consumers to retrieve information and access entertainment, browse online shops, make and maintain social connections and get what we want via personal devices. This mobile and internet-enabled landscape continues to propel new expectations in the way we want to consume the products and services we love. In the modern era we are reaching for the internet to look for even mundane items online. We expect instant gratification, with same day delivery and same day travel showing enormous growth, and we expect to be enthusiastically assisted at every touch point.

These changes present huge opportunities for businesses operating in the cloud. However, in order to benefit from these opportunities, enterprises need to ensure that customers and clients are their core focus. The organisations that will succeed are those who not only put an emphasis on a great user experience, but also predict changing user habits, and course correct, fast.  

Agility, iterative software development practices and a culture of continuous innovation has become essential for keeping pace with rapid change – but getting ahead of this demands an ability to extract meaningful insights from large and distributed data sets in real time. The increased processing power offered by the cloud is key in enabling this.

Established businesses can drive the next wave of disruption

For the past decade we have come to expect that disruption will appear in the form of a scrappy, agile software startup. However, while it is true that incumbents are often disadvantaged by cultural inertia and legacy, many are well on their way to becoming truly agile, bringing software development back in-house, adopting the latest iterative techniques and utilising the tooling and modern cloud platforms that enable collaboration and rapid application development at scale.

Alan Coad, Managing Director at Google Cloud UK & Ireland

Alan Coad
Alan Coad is the Managing Director at Google Cloud UK and Ireland.