The cloud in a digital age – an opportunity for growth and success

With high stakes of cloud also comes a wealth of opportunity for the UK economy.

2016 was a year of dynamic, political and socio-economic shifts which will play out over the course of the next few years. But ultimately, the game changer remains the same.

Businesses are realising the significance of flexibility and choice when it comes to data and the cloud, and ultimately, how this can help their business to accelerate growth, be successful, and stave off future competition and threats to business viability.

From Travis Perkins, Shopdirect to Dixons Carphone, brands are witnessing how cloud technology can transform their business to create a more seamless, personalised experience for their customers, and accelerate the digital transformation of a company – an agenda item for the management of all UK businesses.

As such, it is unsurprising, we have seen a huge amount of investment in the UK into data centres in the last year by major players, to support the exponential growth of the cloud.

>See also: 4 megatrends impacting the data centre in 2016

So why a larger footprint in the UK? Well it’s uncertain how Brexit will affect the UK business landscape, but it’s obvious that data sharing is at the forefront of the international business community’s agenda.

Data is the lifeblood of an organisation and a major economic opportunity – one countries can tap to spur innovation, create jobs and encourage entrepreneurs to create new digital products and services.

Data has effectively become the new oil – it’s the natural resource everyone is talking about and wants a piece of, and the fuel that is driving digital transformation.

As businesses become much more concerned with where their data resides across all industries, from retail to health/pharma to public sector organisations, there is no one size fits all rule.

Without a doubt, the current data sharing landscape is changing and that’s thanks to the cloud.

In order for businesses to gain intelligent insight from data quickly and securely, it’s clear having flexibility and choice when it comes to data storage is the key to a successful business and ultimately supporting he UK economy.

With so many on demand services and the explosion of connected IoT devices which will only continue to rise in the future, control is everything. Gartner reports there will be 6.4 billion connected things by the end of 2016 alone.

Previously, we were seeing restrictions on where companies can hold data preventing organisations from moving their businesses onto the cloud, which often involves transferring data away from the country of origin.

With regional and local data centres this issue effectively disappears.

>See also: Microsoft opens first UK cloud data centres

Furthermore, there is a definitive commitment from the technology industry to ensure that data resides closest to the source to enable businesses to make their move to the cloud.

Last week, IBM announced plans to open four new cloud data centres in and around London in the next 12 months. The new data centres will give UK business greater flexibility, transparency and control over how they manage their data, enabling organisations to deploy their IT operations locally in the cloud.

In terms of flexibility and choice, the adoption of hybrid cloud is fast enabling UK business to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Hybrid cloud (a mixture of on-premise and off-premise technology support) provides organisations with enormous flexibility, scalability and the potential to optimise their IT cost and performance.

Cloud computing is now integral to the functioning of modern day business and as such we are seeing huge additional investments in cloud capabilities.

IBM saw Cloud revenues in Western Europe grow by 20.6% in Q1 2016, and IDC forecasts that worldwide revenues from public cloud services will reach more than US$195 billion in 2020.

>See also: Is the modern data centre mission impossible?

Cloud computing has been pivotal in helping businesses achieve digital transformation and supporting the UK economy. It has also fundamentally changed the amount of data or (business oil) available, how and where we store it and the actionable insights for businesses that can be derived from it.

For organisations to remain competitive in this new digital age, it is crucial data is stored in the right place at the right time – so it can harvested as and when it is most valuable to businesses.


Sourced by David Stokes, chief executive, IBM UK and Ireland

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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