Industry Clouds defined
An Industry Cloud (IC) is defined as an industry-specific, cloud-based, pre-integrated, scalable, set of capabilities/resources/information, that complies with industry information security level requirements, offers APIs, and is delivered as-a-service as per International Data Corporation (IDC).
Explaining industry clouds more simply, they are designed only for a specific set of customers belonging to an industry vertical; and who have the need to use solutions with industry specific features to help them solve the challenges of their specific industry. Primarily, it is this specific need of the customers that has driven the need to establish industry clouds.
In India, over the last several years, organizations have used horizontal solutions, which did not offer some features which organizations needed to fulfil industry requirements, and hence were meant for a wider audience across several industries. In comparing industry clouds with horizontal solutions, the cloud infrastructure components (server, computing and network) are the same; but the major differentiation lies in the industry specific functionality, reliability and usability built in the cloud platform or cloud software solution. These industry specific features include industry specific decision models, workflows, databases, charts, big data and analytics tools, enhanced UIs, and vertically optimized screen flows.
Industry Clouds Gaining Gradual Adoption in India
In India, vertical solutions are gradually gaining prominence amongst organizations as well as service provider firms. There are majorly two kinds of industry cloud service providers in the country. The larger vendors have built their industry cloud platform or software solution, and also have an ecosystem of industry partners, technology partners, and channel partners, which share their industry rich expertise, experience, insights and knowledge. The SMBs and start-ups offer a niche industry cloud platform or software solution, which has been built from ground up. In India, it is seen that the majority of the industry cloud market is dominated by SMBs and start-ups, along with a few large service providers.
In India, the vertical SaaS segment is the largest and the fastest growing segment, on account of an increasingly growing mobile-first workforce, low prices of SaaS solutions, and ease of conducting daily business processes. The BFSI, government, and healthcare verticals are seen to be the early adopters of industry clouds in India; followed by the retail vertical. The BFSI, government, and healthcare verticals are governed by multiple regulations, and are data-sensitive sectors; and have a strong need to connect with the ecosystem of technology partners, professional service vendors, other industry players so that their business functions are executed as efficiently as possible. In India, it has been seen that several service provider firms are competing against each other, and are striving to position themselves as leaders, although the market is at a very nascent stage to establish true leaders.
In India, the growth in the industry clouds market is being driven by the service provider’s need to create additional revenue models, as verticalization of cloud services creates product and service differentiation, leading to increased profit margins; and the customer’s need to accelerate digital transformation of their businesses, to enable the creation of innovative solutions, and to help improve organization agility, security and compliance. Cloud technologies also address these business needs, but in India, most companies are apprehensive of adopting cloud due to security reasons or are not very well versed in how to use cloud to create business values; and industry clouds are low-risk options that also addresses industry needs.
Expertise brought in by Industry Clouds
Industry clouds that are built with partner expertise offers subscribers with rich knowledge, industry insights, and experience brought in by the service provider’s ecosystem of technology service providers, professional service providers, and channel partners. Such industry clouds allow organizations to share real-time information and data analytics and take faster decisions by connecting to other industry partners on a real-time basis.
Benefits provided by Industry Clouds
Industry clouds provide several benefits such as:
- Improve the organization’s operational capabilities: Industry clouds help improve the organization’s operational capabilities and efficiencies, by providing their customers with technology and software resources on demand, through better resources allocation, by reducing time taken to conduct the regular business processes, by allowing organizations to focus on their core business activities, and by enabling organizations to take faster decisions and in real-time.
- Reduce Costs: Further, industry clouds help organizations by reducing their overall capital investment and operational expenditures, by improving their operational as well as technical capabilities, and by eliminating the need for significant investment in traditional hardware or expensive software licenses.
- Risk Management: Additionally, industry cloud solutions have in-built features and checks that conform to the industry’s compliance laws, governance rules, security and data privacy requirements. For industries which have strict compliance or regulatory requirements; industry clouds help companies to share risks and costs that don’t directly impact competitive advantage.
With industry cloud solutions, organizations gain from a seamless experience across applications, cloud deployment models, and deployment of various emerging technologies, such as analytics, AI, ML, and IoT. Industry cloud solutions help their customers gain from the expert knowledge and from the real time industry insights shared by their peers and other industry players. Most service providers provide end to end management of the industry cloud platform, thus benefitting the customers. Primarily, industry cloud solu5tions help organizations in addressing the challenges of their industry and focus on improving their business performance.