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My head is in the cloud

Asif Alam  Global Business Director, Technology Practice Group, Thomson Reuters

Asif Alam  Global Business Director, Technology Practice Group, Thomson Reuters

Cloud computing is now standard practice (or should be) across almost all industries. As companies, what's our next step to take advantage of this technology?

Working with a variety of technology companies in activities as varied as consumer electronics, internet-related services and customer relationship management (CRM), I spend a lot of time with my head in the cloud. And professionals across a wide range of industries have their heads in the cloud, too. Like many new technologies, the cloud has brought with it a number of disruptions to business strategy, operations and work practices – disruptions that derail some businesses and empower others.

Cloud computing is now firmly entrenched across a wide variety of industries, well beyond those that we would call “the technology sector.” Healthcare, finance, retailers, automotive and many other industries have been disrupted by cloud computing, but many advantages have emerged in the wake of this disruption.

Businesses have passed a tipping point, becoming comfortable with the security of cloud services and moving operations there at an ever-increasing rate. We see companies leveraging modern cloud-computing platforms to create cloud-native applications, operating systems and devising comprehensive development.  More and more are exploring opportunities to capture the benefits of this technology and create efficiency, effectiveness and competitive advantage. The cloud also enables companies to:

  • Reduce costs by managing onsite hardware, including expenses related to labor, hardware repair, etc. With cloud computing, the server is remotely located, allowing you to keep your infrastructure up to date with less overhead.
  • Enhance security and reduce risk given the cloud’s dedicated staff (around the clock) that takes care of the systems and its security. Consequently, the risk of failures, hacks and breakdowns reduces considerably.
  • Activate customer-centric service and support.
  • Empower employee productivity everywhere.
  • Store and access massive amounts of ever-bigger data.

Big changes driven by Big Data

One driver of the shift to cloud is Big Data. In short, this is data that would be too expensive to store, manage or analyze using traditional database systems. Traditional systems are increasingly cost-inefficient because of limitations around storing unstructured data (e.g., images, text and video), accommodating “high-velocity” data (real-time), or scaling to support very large (petabyte-scale) data volumes.

Data analytics only return more value when you have access to more data, so organizations increasingly find Big Data to be a rich resource for uncovering deeper business insights. The past few years have seen the mainstream adoption of new approaches to managing and processing Big Data. The emergence of the “Internet of Things” (e.g., the global network of billions of interconnected devices and sensors) has exponentially increased the volume of data in the form of text, video, images and audio.

The need to process these large amounts of data less expensively and really quickly, and the challenge of making sense out of it (analytics), are paramount, particularly as we see all companies becoming data and technology companies, regardless of industry.

Beyond “why” to “how”

As cloud computing has evolved to be one of the most significant technology developments of our time, it has made countless new businesses possible and created incredible opportunities for large enterprises to innovate like startups and retire decades of technical debt. Yet even as the “why” of this transformation is clear (that cloud computing offers access to data storage, processing and analytics on a more scalable, flexible, cost-effective and even secure basis than can be achieved with an on-premises deployment), the “how” is still challenging to many.

Stephen Orban, of AWS’s Enterprise Strategy function and author of Ahead in the Cloud: Best Practices for Navigating the Future of Enterprise IT, says making the most of the cloud requires much more from enterprises than mere technology change.

“An enterprise must transform by changing its culture, changing its bureaucracy, changing its organization, changing its technical architecture—and making them agile … [This is] not about a transformation that has a finite end state. It’s about becoming an organization that is capable of quickly deploying technology to meet business needs, regardless of where the technology comes from.” ― Stephen Orban

That mindset and agility will require organizations to keep an eye on the future of cloud, particularly on hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. We will evolve from talking about hybrid-IT, multi-cloud and managed services to how clouds connect and maximize how networks are used.

Putting our heads together

Our customers are no different – they are quickly moving old infrastructure to the cloud and building new applications there. Thomson Reuters is also utilizing the cloud by shifting our infrastructure to this model, putting commercial content on the cloud to meet our customers in the environment where they’ve chosen to build.

As technology and data continue to permeate industries, the line has blurred between what is considered a technology company and everything else. Technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud are increasingly integral to driving productivity and efficiency. Like our customers, Thomson Reuters is transforming to be more flexible and agile in embracing change, proactively thinking about how we can use technology to enhance our customers’ evolving needs and workflows.

Learn more

Explore Thomson Reuters solutions for Technology Companies and watch author Asif Alam speak with Cisco’s Mark Chandler about the changing technology field.


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