Thursday, March 23, 2023
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Cloud is all you need: Get rid of your hardware, software, and data solutions

For ages, technological advancements have fueled the growth of industries and new business solutions. Steam engines helped in mass transportation, electricity accelerated production automation, and advancements in aviation enabled inter-continental businesses. In the 20th century, the birth of the supercomputer capable of solving complex problems radically transformed businesses. Unlike earlier innovations, computers impacted every industry bringing in speed, accuracy, and efficiency and encouraging companies to further invest in them. Thus, Information technology (IT) was born that drove operational efficiency but with very limited innovation.
The 21st century saw a series of disruptions in a very short period. Telecommunication costs reduced drastically due to optical fibers, the Internet became ubiquitous, and compute power exploded giving birth to a new technology called Cloud computing. Within a decade, cloud became an integral part of enterprise strategies for driving innovations. It provided ready-to-consume business solutions and gave the “buy rather build” option to enterprises.
Cloud powers innovative thinking
Cloud-based solutions gave the power of innovation to everyone. Startups with new business models flourished since they could access affordable, ready-to-consume cloud-based solutions. They exploited cloud capabilities to build new software products. Startups like Airbnb and TripAdvisor took the online brokerage path offering a cloud-based platform for customers to compare and choose between competing products. Integration with social media provided consumers with authentic reviews. These cloud-driven companies cut the umbilical cord between traditional businesses and consumers. In the future, traditional businesses will be commoditized, and a new set of companies will create a wrapper built of cloud-native technologies, providing maximum value to consumers.
The rise of citizen developers
The cloud has enabled the adoption of Agile, lean, and DevOps frameworks to revolutionize software development, shifting away from the traditional, time-consuming, rigid methods. The quality of software depends primarily on the skill of the individual coders. This approach is being challenged by the cloud-based open-source communities that offer ready-to-deploy software codes available in public software libraries such as GITHUB, that can be consumed by anyone. These communities allow anyone to build a business solution with basic coding knowledge, giving rise to a new generation of citizen developers. Collaboration between the coding community and business entrepreneurs is driving software-driven grass-root level innovation.
Evolution without human interventions
Today, the cloud is enabling software with abiotic components to have sentient capabilities. However, resiliency and self-healing capabilities are not without limitations. While the modern development environment provides detailed telemetry, we still need humans to interpret and take corrective actions. The cloud is changing this approach by offering AL/ML capabilities in affordable, ready-to-consume models. AI cloud can provide frameworks for building organic software that can run autonomously and evolve without human intervention. These AI/ML capabilities are creating software with antifragility capabilities that can thrive in any environment. Various open-source communities developed AI/ML models (examples: TensorFlow, Scikit-learn, or BigPandas) that are enabling citizen developers to build unique business solutions by combining intuitive logic and experience-based knowledge with powerful software codes, achieving what Tony Blair, Executive Chair of the Institute for Global Change and former UK Prime Minister once said, “AI will allow us to do what it is that we are uniquely meant to do: to focus on high-level thinking, strategy and paving the way for innovation.”
Adding cognitive diversity to innovation programs
Human intelligence evolved through collective cognitivism by collaborating. In the late 20th century, collaboration among teams having diverse ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds brought cognitive diversity to technological advancement. Cognitive diversity brings various lenses to explore possible scenarios and solutions. Most enterprises are promoting cultural, gender, and geographical diversity while inducting talents. Unfortunately, cognitive diversity suffers from the “boss is always right” syndrome where decisions are taken following military protocols. With fast-maturing AI capabilities, software programs are likely to achieve cognitive diversity. They will play the role of the devils’ advocate tabling all desirable/undesirable possibilities enabling enterprises to take unbiased decisions.
Data sits comfortably in the cloud
The cloud has invaded the niche territory of data management. The popular adage “Data is a new Oil” showcases the value of data in the digital world. Data-driven companies dominated the fortune 100 companies. They created advanced AI/ML-based solutions to extract data-based insights for business growth. Cloud is now offering these capabilities in affordable, ready-to-consume, cloud-native solutions. Cloud’s global outreach has ensured the availability of data management solutions for remote locations. Customers now feel more confident and secure storing their data on the cloud than in self-managed data centers.
Cloud: An offering that’s hard to resist
Cloud adoption is fueling innovation at speed. Theodore Maiman who invented Laser never imagined that it would transform the world from sophisticated weaponry to complex surgeries. Similarly, innovators of cloud technologies never imagined that their simple offering will one day become the foundation for business transformation. Today, the cloud has made hardware, software, and data management solutions redundant and offers a lucrative integrated platform that is impossible to resist.
By Saju Sankarankutty, Vice President and Unit Technology Officer, Cloud, Infosys

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