The following insights are based on a series of discussions with C-level executives and revenue team leaders across several industries regarding their need for an Intelligent Cloud:
- In the enterprise, the cloud versus on-premise war is over, and the cloud has won. Nearly all are embracing a hybrid cloud strategy to break down the barriers that held them back from accomplishing more.
- None of the C-level executives I’ve spoken with recently are satisfied with just measuring cloud adoption. All are saying the want to measure business outcomes and gain greater insights into how they can better manage revenue and sales cycles.
- Gaining access to every available legacy and 3rd party system using hybrid cloud strategies is the new normal. Having data that provides enterprise-wide visibility gives enterprises greater control over every aspect of their selling and revenue management processes. And when that’s accomplished, the insights gained from the Intelligent Cloud can quickly be turned into results.
Welcome to the Era of the Intelligent Cloud
The more enterprises seek out insights to drive greater business outcomes, the more it becomes evident the era of the Intelligent Cloud has arrived. C-level execs are looking to scale beyond descriptive analytics that defines past performance patterns. What many are after is an entirely new level of insights that are prescriptive and cognitive. Getting greater insight that leads to more favorable business outcomes is what the Intelligent Cloud is all about. The following Intelligent Cloud Maturity Model summarizes the maturity levels of enterprises attempting to gain greater insights and drive more profitable business outcomes.
Why The Intelligent Cloud Now?
Line-of-business leaders across all industries want more from their cloud apps than they are getting today. They want the ability to gain greater insights with prescriptive and cognitive analytics. They’re also asking for new apps that give them the flexibility of changing selling behaviors quickly. In short, everyone wants to get to the orchestration layer of the maturity model, and many are stuck staring into a figurative rearview mirror, using just descriptive data to plan future strategies. The future of enterprise cloud computing is all about being able to deliver prescriptive and cognitive intelligence.
Consider the following takeaways:
- By 2018, 40% of B2B digital commerce sites will use price optimization algorithms and configure/ price/quote (CPQ) tools to dynamically calculate and deliver product pricing. (Source: Gartner Inc., Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce, March 9, 2016)
- By 2018, Cloud Becomes a Preferred Delivery Mechanism for Analytics (Source: IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2016 Predictions — Mastering the Raw Material of Digital Transformation, Nov. 2015)
- By 2017, 50% of large B2B organizations will invest in predictive analytics solutions for prospect qualification, opportunity automation, forecasting automation or renewal management. (Source: Gartner, Evaluate Emerging Sales Performance Management Technologies to Improve Sales Execution, September 15, 2015)
- 9 out of 10 enterprise leaders believe analytics is essential or very important to their overall business strategies and operational outcomes.Also, 84% of high performers are projecting that the importance of analytics will increase substantially or somewhat in the next two years. Source: Salesforce Research Defines The 2015 State Of Analytics. November 1, 2015.
- 81% of enterprises are relying on analytics to improve their understanding of customers and their purchasing process (Source: 81% of Enterprises Are Relying On Analytics To Gain Greater Customer Insights, Forbes, July 26, 2015).
Who Is Delivering The Intelligent Cloud Today?
Just how far advanced the era of the Intelligent Cloud is became apparent during the Microsoft Build Developer Conference last week in San Francisco. A fascinating area discussed was Microsoft Cognitive Services and their implications on the Cortana Intelligence Suite. Microsoft is offering a test drive of Cognitive Services here. Combining Cognitive Services and the Cortana Intelligence Suite, Microsoft has created a framework for delivering the Intelligent Cloud. The graphic below shows the Cortana Analytics Suite.