EMEA Businesses Thrive in a Multi-Cloud World

Best performing organisations succeed by leveraging robust cloud strategies that exploit gaps in the market and capitalise on opportunities to deploy app services that enhance the customer experience. Those that get it right seize market share and differentiate themselves from competitors. Those that get it wrong are often mired in complexity or become irrelevant.

Clearing the way to the cloud

Multiple cloud environments give freedom to positively disrupt business models and transform industry conventions. Today, successful companies in EMEA are increasingly making their way to the cloud, whether on-premises, public or hybrid. Cutting-edge application services are enabling the speed, security, control and agility required to capitalise on market potential and provide customers with quality service. IDC recently reported that over 85% of enterprises are now committed to a multi-cloud architecture strategy and 55% are currently deployed in multiple public cloud provider environments.

The region’s growing reliance on cloud-based innovation was recently underlined in The Top 50 EMEA Cloud Climbers Report. The F5 Networks-sponsored study provides an up-to-date snapshot of a wide range of leading brands explicitly benefiting from cloud-fuelled innovation.

According to influential cloud expert and Cloud Climbers judge, David Linthicum, EMEA is now “no longer trailing the US, but is equal to, and in some cases, accelerating the use of cloud computing.”

UK-based online retail giant and featured Cloud Climber, Ocado, gives a convincing case for why this is the case. Many people know Ocado as one of the world’s largest pure-play online grocers, but fewer know it also runs online operations for a range of other retail brands in the UK and beyond. Its business success is impressive by any measure, and this is largely down to a decision to put hybrid cloud technologies at the heart of its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) strategy.

Three years ago, Ocado made the strategic decision to offer SaaS based grocery platforms to other retailers. The first step was a multi-year agreement to provide technology, infrastructure and operating services to launch and operate, the online grocery business of WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC. Keen to replicate the success with other retailers, the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) was developed, ensuring new retailers and features could be added quickly, seamlessly and cost-effectively to deliver industry-leading quality and customer satisfaction. Using a combination of an end-to-end, cloud-based SaaS retail platform and swarm robotics technology, the OSP also enables Ocado to build advanced automated warehouses in a modular and scalable fashion. When interviewed for the Cloud Climbers report James Donkin, General Manager at Ocado Technology, emphatically outlined why an intelligent cloud strategy matters so much.

“The big public cloud vendors have a presence worldwide and they scale quickly when Ocado and its clients want to go live,” he said. “Their on-demand model is key to our ability to incorporate new features.”

Interestingly, Donkin also downplayed oft-cited belief that cloud can be a bit of a security nightmare.

“Cloud vendors can spend much more time and effort on building in security than most companies could even dream of doing independently,” he explained.

“The compliance regimes of the big cloud vendors are extremely thorough. They have certification with different regimes, great access controls to their data centres and they are up with the latest legislation. They also have a very good set of tools for managing security. Our cloud vendors offer encryption features including key management and rotation and encryption of data at rest. If I had to buy individual services and hardware and make it compliant, it would make my life much more difficult.”

FlixBus, one of Europe’s leading transport enablers, is another Cloud Climber. The born-in-the-cloud start-up is currently shaking up bus travel, differentiating itself from the competition by offering digital services, such as mobile booking and ticketing, as well as airline-style dynamic pricing that adapts to demand and capacity.

Through their own proprietary platforms, the German firm has gained around 80% of German inter-city bus journeys booked. FlixBus co-founder and CIO Daniel Krauss even believes that his business model could hasten the demise of traditional modes of transport. As ever, the cloud is the key.

“Cloud integration has influenced the customer experience in a really positive way,” he told the Cloud Climbers report.

“By working with the cloud, FlixBus has been able to achieve faster response times in customer service and make data-driven products feasible. We now can provide data-integrated services for our customers to create much better offers for them. Previously, our infrastructure was not able to support these kinds of projects.”

Other Cloud Climbers’ best practice examples include BioCatch - the Israeli born-in-the-cloud start-up operates at the forefront of behavioural biometrics, monitoring five billion transactions a month on behalf of financial services companies combating fraud and malware. The organisation has pioneered a unique authentication system that continually monitors online user activity and electronic device interaction. The technology captures more than 500 points of behaviour to create a unique user profile, including hand-eye coordination, pressure, hand tremors, navigation, scrolling and other finger movements.

Releasing innovation

Scalability, flexibility, automation and speed to market are just some of the attributes that define EMEA organisations thriving at the forefront of cloud technology. Traditional business practices are being severely challenged in today’s digital world. Organisations that spot commercial potential to embrace new methods and secure cloud technologies will prosper. Customers’ appetite for new and reliable services is happening across all sectors. Now, more than ever before, is the time to release the innovation in your apps and clear your way to the cloud.

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