NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson says that the rule, going forward, is that cloud needs to be embedded into all business processes if the intelligence that we can potentially gather from the IoT is going to help us embrace hybrid business models and work effectively in a world where change is the only constant. Image Credit: Robert Lovell.

NetSuite used its SuiteConnect EMEA event hosted in London this October to detail its vision for the future of cloud-based technology delivery — a road ahead that needs just one architecture for all devices… including those that populate the IoT.

In the cloud, of the cloud

In a world where industry commentators are even suggesting that Microsoft doesn’t really need to be focusing on the Windows Operating System (OS) anymore, the validation for cloud has arguably never been clearer. So as we know, with cloud at the back-end providing the engine room power, we can empower smaller and more embedded devices to provide the intelligence that the Internet of Things needs to deliver.

In a recent Frost & Sullivan research commissioned by NetSuite we find that the drive to cloud adoption is huge.

“For businesses in Europe, cost savings are not the main driver for moving to cloud business applications. Our research shows that they increasingly see cloud as a solution to the challenges of industry transformation, competition and as a means to facilitate global expansion,” said Alexander Michael, director of consulting at Frost & Sullivan. “With so many citing cloud applications as an advantage, it’s clear that organisations that have not yet made the move are losing out.”

The cloud imperative

What NetSuite is suggesting with this research is that cloud based systems architectures should be the way forward for all firms. Yes NetSuite sells cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), but the message drives deep all the way down to the connected IoT devices that every firm will now use in its total operations program.

To be clear — a manufacturer or a retailer using a IoT sensors needs to have architect-ed the use of cloud based services into the applications it uses to run its business from the start. This is the ‘normal normal says NetSuite and, of course, so says many others in the space. The issue (perhaps) is that this truth just needs articulating more clearly.

Professor Nathan Furr is a professor of strategy and innovation at INSEAD. Furr spoke at this NetSuite event to discuss how we adapt our work culture to disruption.

Device disruption

For most users, the performance of the machines that we use is always outstripping the basic functionality that most users use. From laptops (and onward to IoT devices) and wider computing systems, we have more power than we can use said Furr.

What also happens though is that some technologies will develop and, to start with, not be that good. These tools, technologies and hardware/software innovations exist for a while and slowly develop. Then, suddenly, they reach a point in their development where they start to be able to disrupt complete markets.

“Many companies trying to work with disruptive devices jump in too early and decide that there’s no future with a particular product and then they jump out of the market,” said Furr.

The lesson here for IoT development is a) integrate for cloud from the outset and b) get ready to embed hybrid device development in places where full IoT digitization has yet to be brought to bear… and so onward to hybrid.

Hybrids ‘straddle’ the future

We need to look at developments like automobiles that combine hybrid engines with an internal combustion engine with emerging electric power. This way we can decide what the customer wants out of the product and help straddle the future.

Where this should lead our future thought processes is towards hybrid business models. This way we can look not just to economies of scale, but also to economies of scope i.e. development frameworks that can help us discover new innovation.

Ultimately this can lead us towards what are called agglomerative business models (or, economies of agglomeration if you will) where we start to derive revenue from multiple streams.

NetSuite CEO Zack Nelson spoke at his firm’s SuiteConnect EMEA event in London this week to detail the wider ramifications of the cloud computing service-based IT delivery model.

Nelson rounded out by asserting that disruption does indeed take time and that, although incumbents will fight disruption, it is worth the long term fight.

The aggregation advantage

Remember urged Nelson, the power of the cloud for IoT centric devices hinges around aggregation. Where companies now put data aggregation and data mining at the centre of applications that are running new business models, the IoT intelligence will be captured and can be potentially used for competitive advantage.

Onward we can see that the cloud model also allows us to perform ever more complex business operations

The rule, going forward, is that cloud needs to be embedded into all business processes if the intelligence that we can potentially gather from the IoT is going to help us embrace hybrid business models and work effectively in a world where change is the only constant.

I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant.

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