Defining the power of the cloud
The motto for Ergon’s 2019 “Beer, Bytes & Beats” summer party was “A connected world: working together to boost value creation”. In the presentations, several heavyweights from Swiss business explored how cooperation and collaboration are changing in the age of digitalisation. Christian Sciullo, Google Cloud’s Country Director CH/AT, explains the potential inherent in the cloud and who is set to derive most benefit from it.
The cloud is still in its infancy. As Christian Sciullo pointed out in his remarks, the vast majority of IT services are still supplied on-site but the cloud is skyrocketing in importance.
20 years ago, all new technologies were housed inside a company, whether software or hardware. The best PC, the best mobile device, the best software package or printer – everything was kept in-house. Nowadays, things are very different: consumers are making use of state-of-the-art products, and organisations have been deploying cloud and machine learning-based applications for quite some time already.
Why the corporate world needs standardisation
Standardisation of technology has made a significant contribution here. For example, with only two phone operating systems available (iOS and Android), consumers can quickly and easily be supplied with consistently innovative applications that are launched globally in relatively identical formats. However, in the modern world of business analogous technological projects follow rather different trajectories: each installation may have a unique design, even within a single company, and this increases complexity when it comes to maintenance and ongoing development.
The cloud offers companies an opportunity to narrow gaps versus consumer technology standards – or even bridge them entirely. “Different cloud providers and technologies can be treated the same in core components,” says Sciullo. This makes it easier for firms to implement technological innovations; complexity reduction is one of the key advantages of cloud technology.
Who stands to benefit from such technologies
While this is a bonus for every firm, it may well be smaller firms that derive most benefit. This segment now has access to technologies that were previously only available to larger players as they required very substantial investment. “Switzerland is a high-tech business location,” says Sciullo. The country is indeed home to many firms that depend on IT and are seriously interested in exploring cloud technologies.
In 2018, the Global Innovation Index awarded Switzerland the top spot in its annual rankings of the world’s most innovative nations, citing high-tech production, significant investment in research and development, excellent universities and first-class patent and copyright laws as the prime factors in the country’s capacity for innovation and success. These robust operating conditions also explain why major cloud service providers are focusing on Switzerland – many such firms are importing their own cloud infrastructure or are already running data centres on Swiss soil.
“Complexity reduction is one of the key advantages of cloud technology.”
From basic services to customised solutions
Most cloud technologies are basic services that strong partnerships can help to refine and adapt to the local needs of smaller (and indeed larger) firms. Machine learning has been around for a while – longer even than the cloud. However, a particular skillset is required to implement viable machine learning models using data, data science and the highly scalable cloud technologies that have recently come on stream.
Doing so requires local partners who understand this, says Sciullo, mentioning Ergon as just such a partner. “I am very proud that we have been lucky enough to enjoy such a partnership with Ergon and I hope we will see many useful applications of these cloud technology ingredients for change and innovation.”