August 1, 2016 | Written by: Jim Comfort
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The cloud has shifted from being a driver of cost savings to a key enabler of business innovation. As it matures, industries across the globe are realizing that the “cloud” is not simply a thing, but a multi-dimensional technology destination to fuel business innovation.
A properly deployed cloud platform can improve business models, intelligence and processes, as well as enable new services, deeper insights into data and access to new customers. All of which ultimately help businesses achieve growth and competitive advantages that were previously either difficult to accomplish, or simply unattainable.
For a growing number of enterprises, architecting and building a higher-value hybrid cloud that incorporates cognitive computing and data analytics is the path forward. In addition to offering greater flexibility, scalability and central management, hybrid platforms help ensure that the billions already spent on IT will not be wasted. Hybrid also delivers agility and choice with consistency that enables enterprises to move workloads to where they make the most sense for the business.
As enterprise data volumes continue to swell, hybrid clouds enable organizations to combine and analyze data streams coming from various locations, seamlessly connecting all of an organization’s clouds, as well as outside data resources (weather, social media, etc.), to work as one.
According to a recent UBS Evidence Lab study, 60 percent of IT administrators and CIOs surveyed agreed that hybrid solutions make the most sense moving forward, and data from a recent Synergy report states that spend on private and hybrid cloud services is growing at 45 percent per year.
We are seeing this through the eyes of our clients, who are increasingly building clouds that meet their unique needs, from social media sentiment analysis to health care diagnostics and even facial recognition security systems. A few of these clients include:
1-800 Flowers, which is moving to the IBM Cloud to better manage the order process across all its brands and improve the omni-channel e-commerce needs of its customers. By implementing its order and fulfillment solution on IBM Cloud, 1-800-Flowers.com will now enhance its customer experience, significantly reduce the amount of time and costs associated with managing large infrastructures and more efficiently manage seasonal spikes that are prevalent in its business.
Shop Direct, one of the largest online retailers in the United Kingdom, signed a 10-year deal with IBM in 2015 to move the company to a hybrid cloud for flexibility and the ability to quickly respond to changes in demand. In addition, the company is using the hybrid cloud platform to redesign its financial services offerings to help make its brands even more affordable to customers.
Anthem, a leading health benefits company, is deploying new IBM Cloud orchestration capabilities that provide the foundation for it to seamlessly integrate off-premises and on-premises infrastructures into its existing data center environment. The solution will also enable Anthem to further consolidate its infrastructure onto a consistent, flexible platform that can rapidly scale to meet business needs across the enterprise.
Driven by the growing demands of the enterprise, hybrid cloud platforms that combine data analytics and cognitive computing will be increasingly critical for enabling innovation in the digital world. After all, technology companies don’t define the marketplace. Clients do. Those enterprises that don’t just support the shift to hybrid, but look for ways to exploit it will succeed, grow and have a leg up on the competition.
This article was originally published on Forbes.