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The brains of the operation: why cloud, data and connectivity can’t sit separately

16 Oct 2020

Vatsa Kalyanasundarum

Cloud and Security Director, Vodafone Business
brad Fritz thumbnail

Brad Fritz

Vice President at IBM Services

Despite the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis, recent times have also proven that cloud technology offers much more than just an accounting advantage.

For many businesses the pandemic has accelerated their digital journey, redefining what’s possible almost overnight.

Our research also indicates that those organisations most prepared for tomorrow, Future Ready Businesses, view the cloud and the data it manages as an everyday essential. It’s part of their DNA.

To help others on this journey, just over a year ago Vodafone Business and IBM joined forces in a new kind of venture, combining expertise in connectivity and multi-cloud to help businesses innovate faster and be successful in a digital world.

Recently, we commissioned Forrester Consulting to investigate the benefits of an integrated cloud and data connectivity strategy in a world transformed by the pandemic.

IMAGE 1 employee wellbeing
From ‘Connected Star Services: The North Star for Modern Enterprises’ by Forrester Consulting

Creating the right foundations

Temperature checks, proximity sensors and reduced staff on site are just a few of the scenarios that would have been largely unheard of this time last year.

However, these devices and data sets only join the growing number of connected machines linked through the Internet of Things and processed in the cloud. The use case may be new but the infrastructure that underpins it is not.

The Forrester study discovered that almost all businesses consider the right connected data infrastructure and data security as key for improving the customer experience, growing revenues and becoming better at harvesting critical insights.

What’s critical in cloud and data analytics is having quality connectivity that is available when and where you need it most.

It’s also clear that data flows will come from new employee and internal data sources. Smartphones, digital payments and private connected vehicles were considered the top three most important customer data sources in the days ahead.

Coupled with increased demand in digital spaces such e-commerce, there is a growing need for a new set of solutions that can securely store and process these streams of information. And all the better if this can take place autonomously using Artificial Intelligence.

Image 3 growing revenues-79
From ‘Connected Star Services: The North Star for Modern Enterprises’ by Forrester Consulting

Opening the door to automation

To be successful, an autonomous process needs to receive reliable data from multiple sources, often in almost real time with minimal latency (delay). The same applies to the decision-making this data can inform.

However, more sources can also mean more problems. Almost half of businesses surveyed pointed out that employee confusion was the biggest challenge for data services, arising from numerous applications and platforms that appear to be doing the same thing.

Making investments in silos can often slow down the digital journey and heighten this confusion. That’s why it’s important to design solutions with the end goal in mind-- in other words, what data is needed to drive the desired business outcomes?

An IBM survey also found that for 82% of respondents, the key challenge for their hybrid multicloud strategy was the connectivity between clouds.

It’s for this reason that many businesses benefit from the agility and flexibility offered by full-hybrid, multi-cloud platform technology, rather than attempting to combine the traditional services of individual vendors in-house.

This decision proves all the more crucial when that hybrid partner talks in business outcomes, not technological achievements. It’s in this context that any IT transformation journey will be measured.

Read the full report from Forrester Consulting.

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