Cloud digital revolution: Disrupt or be disrupted

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Shahz Afxal IBM Cloud disruption The future that analysts, technologists and science fiction authors predicted is here—we now live in a digital economy. As consumers, we don’t just access information, we use it to make decisions in real time.

We don’t just use a service, we expect an experience that is fast, simple and intuitive. Consumers expect immediate access, speed and connectivity in technologies and show no patience for products, services and businesses that fail to meet expectations.

This fundamental shift in consumer behavior is rapidly driving enterprise products, services and business models to transform. Cloud and cognitive are at the center of this transformation. I want to share three very different examples of how companies are leveraging the latest cloud technologies to build value and wow customers.

But first, I’d like to introduce myself to Thoughts on Cloud readers. My name is Shahz Afzal. I recently joined IBM after spending 16 years at Microsoft working on strategies and programs to help customers transition to the first wave of cloud.  I could not be prouder to be part of the IBM Cloud team building the future through technologies like connected apps, cognitive computing and the Internet of Things.

Gartner predictsAfzal Shahz quote IBM Cloud disruption that by 2020, businesses without cloud capabilities will be as uncommon as businesses without Internet are today. 30 percent of the largest new software investments will exist entirely on the cloud. Amazing.

If you are wondering how the cloud might impact your business, here are just a few examples where clients have used cloud to redefine what’s possible for their customers.

1. Accelerating time-to-market with Walmart

What do developers want once they have an idea? Fast access to development tools. IBM helped Walmart create a cloud platform driven by APIs to provide developers access to resources such as infrastructure, storage, databases and web servers. Walmart estimates they can now deliver resources to developers 100 times faster, meet unpredictable spikes in demand and accelerate updates to market.

2. Shaping the future of sports with the KLM Open

How cool is it to not just watch sports live, but also have a TV-like experience at the event? The KLM Open, one of the oldest golf tournaments in the European Tour, wanted to provide an interactive mobile application, but it didn’t have the expertise or infrastructure to make that vision a reality. IBM used WebSphere to help create a live, third-screen mobile experience for golf fans, helping spike a 25 percent increase in visitors by delivering an engaging mobile app for fans.

3. Enabling rapid growth with Bernhardt Furniture

What business doesn’t want higher sales and profits? Bernhardt Furniture needed a faster way to improve business applications and a more flexible architecture to accommodate rapid growth. They built a hybrid cloud solution to support business applications with a microservices architecture and API infrastructure. And this meant they could adopt the DevOps approach to continuously deliver upgrades to customers. But take a look at the results: Bernhardt engaged 20 percent more customers during sales events and netted a 20 percent sales increase through improved ordering capabilities.

The bottom line: the cloud is revolutionizing business models across a diverse range of industries. In my view, it is truly a question of disrupting or being disrupted. Where would you rather be?

If you are as thrilled with the rapid innovation in cloud as I am, be sure to register for IBM InterConnect, the industry’s preeminent event for cloud solutions. My colleagues and I would love to meet you.

I look forward to working with partners and clients to help usher in the future of cloud. Together we have the power to change the world. And I want to hear from you. Continue the discussion by leaving a comment below, tweeting @IBMCloud or finding me on LinkedIn.

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