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The rise of technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, IoT, web and mobile apps have yielded innovative ways of doing business. Enterprises who have been functioning in their respective domains for years are now facing the stringent need to shift their traditional business  model to meet the needs of the digital consumer. Digital transformation is the way these organizations deploy the change while Cloud is the support that makes possible this transformation, cost-effectively and with great flexibility.

As customer experience is the main driver in growing engagement with a specific brand and with today’s consumers spending more and more time in the digital environment, the experience they get interacting online with the brands is of utmost importance. Businesses pivoted the way they interact with customers and how they provide the consumer with a consistent experience. This brings us to the topic of integrating digital technology into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes in how a business operates and the value it delivers to its customers.

It’s why digital transformation has long moved beyond nice-to-have. Once a top priority for early adopters and cutting-edge enterprises, digital transformation has moved into the mainstream and today few could argue that going digital is vital to the success of their organizations. And as digital transformation by definition is holistic and requires integration and collaboration, the strategy needed looks at building blocks and the bridges to connect them. (More on the digital transformation avatars here.)

Cloud computing and Digital Transformation are not a marketing trend but go hand in hand, with the majority of businesses implementing a digital transformation plan benefiting from a substantial competitive advantage.

In Microsoft’s “Guide to the future”, 86% of the respondents in the CEE believe cloud solutions are making the Digital Transformation possible. The financial sector is in the lead, with 94% sharing this opinion. Cloud services, which effectively offer unlimited and dynamic IT resources, form the foundation of Digital Transformation and can facilitate rapid business change.

Transformation made easy and safe

The cloud is the foundational enabler of digital transformation projects and offers the scale and speed that is needed for businesses to focus on transformation. What cloud technology does is to untie the business (at least from a technology point of view) from fixed infrastructure and proprietary IT, with such organizations being free to take more risks and being more able to respond quickly to changing market conditions.

Businesses that pursue both Digital Transformation and Cloud strategies together see significant benefits, starting with agility and flexibility. The reason behind this lies with the fact that once digital transformation has started, a business will need to pivot its process multiple times. Cloud computing saves an organization from the hassle of investing in varying IT resources by providing required computing resources, infrastructure, and platforms on the go. Then, along with the flexibility to adjust requirements, the cloud offers a scalable service model where an enterprise only pays for the resources used. This not only saves the capital spending of buying and managing IT infrastructure but also helps companies to effectively scale their resources based on requirements.

The security issues raised by the digital transformation also find an answer. The risk of losing critical information due to data breaches, unexpected system shutdown, disasters and malevolent attacks is avoided because with cloud hosting you can easily create multiple backups of your data.

This is especially beneficial when dealing with big data as the chances of system failures significantly increase in case of the big data analysis.

Also, through the transformation phase a company can experiment with multiple applications on different platforms and cloud can provide a platform where the organization can build, test and deploy applications without complex infrastructure.

The flexibility of cloud computing solution is also visible in the security level needed for your business whether you’re scaling up or down capacity. Your servers can be protected from crashing by scaling up the cloud solution during high traffic periods and then scale down again to reduce the cost.

On the other hand, there is always a trade-off between cost and security, private clouds providing the highest level of control, but no economy of scale, while public clouds provide the greatest economies of scale with little control. The conclusion is that in choosing a cloud services provider organisations should look at reputation, openness and certification.

Cloud models have different risks and controls and this requires staff with the necessary skills, usually proficient in infrastructure  as a service (IaaS) as well as in software as a service (SaaS). Predictions show that in the next 4 years cloud security issues will be mainly linked not to the cloud itself, but to the way the clients use the cloud, with at least 95% of the security failures being customers' fault.

Gartner predicts that by 2018, 60% of the organizations using cloud computing will benefit from the security built into it hence lessening their security failures by one third. Also by 2020 a 60% drop in security incidents will be seen in public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) versus traditional data centers.

Another benefit is that is also possible to control the level of authority of the user thus ensuring optimal delegation. In addition, cloud services create an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork in the company allowing the files to be accessed from any place, at any time. Optimal delegation is ensured by controlling the authority level thus creating a culture of innovation and creativity.

It’s worth mentioning that the cloud market is also changing as we go from ‘cloud first’ to ‘cloud only’ (meaning that more investments and deployments are cloud-only) and organizations outsource many cloud and IT activities and most of all want reliable cloud partners who have a real hybrid cloud offering which translates in seamless integration.

From the Internet of Things, analytics, systems of insight, security and big data, cloud is omnipresent. And for those who like to talk about disruptive players in existing markets is close to impossible to name one that isn’t based on the cloud.

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