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Industry Cloud Platforms: Smoothing the Way to Greater Efficiency

Conventional cloud solutions have many businesses benefits. But they’re often unable to meet industry-specific needs in terms of functionality, security, and compliance. What’s more, they lack the flexibility required in today’s ever-changing business environment. Cloud industry platforms deliver on both of these fronts – providing industry-specific solutions plus the agility that companies crave. Such is their potential that Forbes expects the market for these solutions to top $350 billion by 2031.


In corporate IT, security is a must. However, security requirements differ greatly between sectors. Because conventional cloud solutions take a one-size-fits-all approach, they often lack the particular security protocols that companies need. And bridging this gap is both costly and time-consuming.

Regulatory compliance is another area where these solutions fall short. Finance and healthcare players, for example, must adhere to stringent regulations. So, in order to use the public cloud, it’s necessary to implement highly specialized solutions in line with regulatory requirements.

Standardized one-size-fits-all solutions are also notoriously difficult to customize. Tailoring off-the-peg services to your company’s needs can negatively impact reliability and performance. Additionally, changes of this kind often call for a comprehensive governance and risk management process.


The Solution: Industry Cloud Platforms

Industry cloud platforms are designed to master these challenges. As specialized solutions, they’re geared to the widely differing needs of various industries – ranging from healthcare and finance to manufacturing and retail.


 

Key Features at a Glance

Industry cloud platforms deliver the following:

  • Industry-specific software, applications, and services, supporting unique workflows and compliance requirements

  • Scalable infrastructure and flexible services designed to meet changing needs within an industry

  • Built-in compliance features and robust security measures to ensure data protection and regulatory compliance

In some cases, they also feature the following:

  • Seamless integration with existing systems and commonly used applications in an industry

  • Integrated advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities to help derive actionable insights from corporate data

 

Some of the Industry Cloud Platforms Currently on Offer

There are already several successful offerings in this space, which deliver full-fledged cloud business platforms across many sectors. Salesforce Industries Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics 365, for example, provide solutions for a comparatively small range of industries – including communications, media and entertainment, and sales, marketing, and finance, respectively.

By contrast, SAP Industry Cloud, IBM Cloud for Industries, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Industry Solutions span many more sectors, ranging from automotive and chemicals to consumer goods and insurance to name but a few.


Key Differences Between these Platforms

These platforms differ not only when it comes to the industries supported; they also offer different options for integrating companies’ existing solutions. For example, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 enable seamlessly data exchange between businesses’ own applications and those that come with the platform.

What’s more, they differ in terms of flexibility – with AWS providing a particularly large number of configuration options. And, finally, there’s the aspect of third-party integration. For instance, SAP’s extensive network of partners and solutions supports and expands the software vendor’s cloud platform.


Increased Efficiency, Greater Innovation, Easier Security and Compliance

One major benefit of industry cloud platforms is increased efficiency. By supporting industry-specific processes out-of-the-box, they free up valuable time and resources, which can be used develop business-specific solutions. This can enable companies to rapidly introduce more efficient processes for handling customer queries and complaints, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Innovation is another area where these platforms have significant advantages. Because the underlying infrastructure delivers the necessary technological foundation, companies enjoy greater agility and can develop new applications and services faster than ever.

Finally, industry cloud platforms are often equipped with powerful security features. Providers update these features continuously so that they meet the very latest security standards and regulatory requirements – allowing businesses to focus their efforts on value-adding activities.


But There Are Downsides…

However, like any tech, industry cloud platforms also have drawbacks. Because of the small number of providers and consequent lack of competition, costs can be high. Also, businesses are wary of losing control over their data. Industry cloud platforms involve outsourcing data management to external services. So, there’s a risk of losing important insights and direct access to corporate data.

 

How to Implement Industry Cloud Platforms Throughout Your Enterprise

If you’re considering introducing an industry cloud platform, you first need to understand your organization’s current cloud maturity by assessing how well your current cloud solution meets your industry-specific needs. Next, you should gain an understanding of your specific business needs and how these change depending on the activities of your competitors. Then, you should talk to the experts and those responsible for cloud in your company.

Based on these findings, determine what’s feasible and what’s important for your implementation. Next, tackle the technological implementation process for the new industry cloud platform within the company. Finally, you should firmly establish the new cloud infrastructure enterprise-wide by training all departments and staff.


Reap the Opportunities – but Remember the Challenges

Because they focus on the key issues for your business, industry cloud platforms can make your operations faster, more efficient, more secure, and ultimately more profitable. They also lighten the load by providing the necessary technology stack and ensuring data protection and compliance.

This means that your company can concentrate on its core competencies and drive in-house developments aimed at generating greater customer value. But before taking the first step toward implementing your industry cloud platform, remember that this is a complex undertaking and requires careful planning. And because these platforms aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions, be aware that you’ll probably have to combine various building blocks to compose you own innovative solution.


Any Questions or Comments? 

Want to find out more about industry cloud platforms and whether they’re a good fit for you? Then, feel free to reach out to me. And if you have your own thoughts on this topic, please share them in the comments below.

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