As a technologist, there have been a few fundamental shifts that completely transformed the computing industry. The most well-known is perhaps Moore’s law, which essentially states that the number of transistors in microchips doubles about every two years. The greater the number of transistors in a microchip, the greater the speed of computing. Today, the shift to the cloud represents the next great frontier of innovation.
That’s why I was thrilled to attend the first Cloud Expo Conference in San Francisco, California, last week. Specright was invited by SAP.iO to exhibit as part of the accelerator partnership (you can read more on that here). We were joined by executives from leading CPG, food, and industrial companies, along with technology leaders from companies like SAP, Workday, Oracle, Google and more.
I was also joined by Laura Foti, our SVP of Marketing and Investor Relations, who competed in the startup pitch competition that resulted in Specright being named to the Cloud Wars shortlist of startups to watch.
Here were our takeaways from the conference.
The Power of the Cloud
Many IT and business leaders know they need to shift from on-premise to the cloud, but it’s important to understand the why. At Cloud Wars Expo, three reasons were apparent: speed, scalability, and the ability to unlock new business models. With cloud-based applications, it’s easier to get new software up and running, where previously servers had to be physically provisioned and tested.
In one example, a retailer was able to deploy a scheduling app in a matter of weeks, which previously would have taken months. Scalability is also critical in unlocking growth – with on-premise solutions, successful software might be hamstrung by the ability to buy and run more servers. With the cloud, companies can effectively “rent” more in real-time and not have to manage physical assets with limited capability.
You Can’t Lift & Shift
A common theme we heard from technology leaders was a rally cry: do not take what you’re doing on premise and replicate it in the cloud.
This “lift and shift” approach misses the larger point: when companies move to the cloud, they should re-evaluate and reimagine how they work. Leading companies are using the shift to the cloud as an opportunity to revise and optimize business processes. It also enables a larger digital transformation effort that can be rolled out in phases (due to speed) in a way that’s scalable. One CIO also talked about the need to leverage more of a company's “core” product versus over-customizing as was typically done on premise. By leveraging more of a company's core product, users can take advantage of frequent software updates and new features.
How the Cloud Can Help Us Tackle Pressing Challenges
Sustainability was a frequent topic of conversation and the cloud can play a role in how companies can turn their dreams into reality. Many executives spoke about needing to ensure the sustainability of products, whether to support growing regulations or consumer demands.
At Specright, we recognize that this is a community effort and won’t be solved by one company alone. For many companies, deploying cloud-based software like Specification Management can enable them to easily gather data from suppliers and integrate that data with other tools like life cycle assessments to measure and optimize for sustainability at any stage of the product life cycle.
Being proactive versus reactive when it comes to sustainability boils down to having the right data – and the right level needed – to ensure truly measuring and optimizing our sustainability goals. The power of the cloud is exciting – and it might just be what we need to solve our most pressing challenges.