Cloud computing services continue to evolve as the industry consolidates and the leading hyperscale providers look to differentiate themselves by offering a new range of services. At the same time, organizations with unique technology, operational, and security requirements are asking for cloud services that align more closely with the specific demands of their industry. Together, these trends are feeding into the rapid development of industry-centric clouds, or industry cloud platforms, that are changing the way companies think about cloud computing and how it can facilitate their long-term digital transformation goals.
How Industry Clouds Work
Conventional public clouds provide a broad range of computing capabilities that organizations can use in a variety of ways to manage data workloads and deliver application services. In most cases, Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) clouds are not optimized for the specific needs of various industries. For companies looking to transition from a longstanding legacy solution, piecing together multiple cloud services to replicate their operational needs is a challenging, expensive, and time-consuming undertaking that also brings an array of compliance headaches with it.
Industry clouds are vertically oriented platforms that combine a variety of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS solutions to meet the unique requirements of a particular industry sector. In many cases, they are hybrid in nature, incorporating both public and private cloud environments to help organizations maintain very specific security and compliance standards for data and application workloads.
Industry Clouds in Action: Healthcare
The healthcare sector stands to benefit immensely from the industry cloud model, especially after the pandemic prompted so many providers to reassess their tech stack to accommodate remote work, telemedicine, and improved interoperability. Emerging healthcare industry clouds combine the benefits of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS clouds to deliver a unified platform that’s more efficient and responsive to the unique requirements of the healthcare sector.
Here’s an example of what a healthcare industry cloud could offer:
- A data fabric consisting of integrations and connections that breaks down barriers in siloed organizations to allow data to flow freely between applications and systems.
- A variety of packaged business capabilities (PBCs) IT teams can use to quickly build customized digital experiences and applications, such as data extraction tools that can pull information from clinical notes or intuitive portals that allow patients to easily access their medical records and communicate with providers.
- Composition tools that allow developers to provide healthcare workers and other industry stakeholders with digital workflows that streamline clinical and operational tasks to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance medical outcomes.
The Growing Appeal of Industry Clouds
Although industry clouds have been around in various forms for many years, they did not achieve widespread adoption due to the limited scope, resources, and reliability of providers. Most of the providers on the market had adopted an industry-specific approach out of necessity as the larger cloud computing market came to be dominated by a few hyperscale providers (namely AWS, Azure, and Google). Large enterprises and even mid-sized companies often couldn’t afford to take the risk of working with cloud providers that lacked the resources to scale capacity efficiently or offer responsive customer and technical support.
Now that the major cloud platforms are working with enterprise partners to develop industry cloud services, the industry cloud market is poised to take off in the next few years. A recent Gartner survey of North American and European-based enterprises found that nearly 40 percent of them had started to adopt industry-specific cloud platforms, with another 15 percent considering deployment by 2026. To demonstrate just how quickly such plans have evolved, Gartner estimates that companies will be using industry clouds to accelerate over 50 percent of critical business initiatives by 2027, up from less than 10 percent in 2021.
Vendor consolidation is one of the factors driving these trends. The supply chain and operational disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many enterprises to reassess their technology vendors and identify ways to minimize risk and streamline their tech stack as part of their ongoing digital transformation. While much of that consolidation has focused on security vendors, there are good reasons to expect that companies will be taking a close look at industry-specific services as they accelerate cloud adoption over the next few years.
Here are a few benefits organizations can gain from industry clouds:
- Enhanced Agility: Industry clouds provide proven, advanced solutions that companies can quickly incorporate into their operations to adapt to changing circumstances. Rather than going through lengthy evaluations to identify potential vendors on the market, organizations can instead quickly “plug and play” existing solutions from a dedicated industry cloud vendor that already understands their needs and can make integrations as seamless as possible.
- Better Resource Management: Industry cloud solutions and services are designed from the ground up to meet the unique business requirements of their customers. Rather than spending precious development time adapting cloud solutions to meet those needs, enterprise IT personnel can instead focus on providing a better customer experience and working on innovations that will make the company more competitive in the market.
- Commitment to Compliance: Compliance concerns have prevented many enterprises from making the jump to the cloud. While general cloud providers can work with customers to accommodate some of these needs, they frequently lack the nuanced understanding of compliance requirements that comes from working within an industry for many years. Industry clouds can help companies finally transition away from their legacy infrastructure and embrace the potential of digital transformation without worrying about endangering their compliance status.
How Evoque Supports Your Industry Cloud Journey
Evoque Data Center Solutions works with the leading industry cloud providers to help colocation customers build dynamic hybrid deployments that meet their unique business needs. Our cloud engineers can help you identify the right cloud providers that maximize your IT agility, accelerate your growth strategy, and support your compliance requirements. Thanks to our innovative SpendAgility service, you can maintain workload flexibility across your colocated and cloud infrastructure to optimize costs and adapt to changing application demands.
To learn more about how Evoque is helping organizations maximize the value and potential of industry clouds, talk to one of our experienced cloud consultants today.