More Companies Turn to Specialized Industry Cloud Platforms

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A growing number of companies are adopting industry-specific cloud platforms to help them operate more efficiently – and  cheaply. These are platforms that have been customized to handle a relatively narrow area – such as hospitals, banks or retailers – in a way that speaks to the needs of businesses in that segment.

While they don’t exactly match to HR or talent acquisition platforms, the newfound attention on them is interesting for what it says about the thinking of CIOs.

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Industry-specific clouds offer purpose-built tools for companies in a given industry, says The Wall Street Journal. They often address industry issues out of the box, compared to general-purpose systems, which often rely on generic software and must be customized for use in a particular business area.

And because they’re less expensive to run, the Journal says, industry solutions are more attractive to many CIOs or other executives who want to cut costs. “With companies facing murky business conditions in the year ahead,” the Journal said, “demand is picking up as CIOs and other enterprise technology chiefs re-examine their cloud spending bills.”

The research firm Gartner believes businesses will run more than half of their critical business technology on an appropriate cloud over the next four years. That’s up from less than 10% in 2021.

Optimized Costs

“Executives will likely start investing in tech that helps them [to] sustain business growth while optimizing costs,” Nadia Ballard, a cloud research manager at research firm International Data Corp, told the Journal. “This is what industry clouds were designed to do.”

Some industry observers caution that Industry clouds are relatively new, and so may not be mature enough to offer all of the benefits hyped by cloud providers.

However, they’re gaining traction. Oracle has more than 100,000 enterprise customers using industry clouds, the company told the Journal. Its solutions include clouds for healthcare, retail, financial services, hospitality, food and beverage and other segments. Mike Sicilia, an executive vice president at Oracle, calls industry clouds “a multibillion-dollar business.”

Last year Microsoft, too, launched clouds for a number of industries including retail, financial services, manufacturing, sustainability and nonprofit businesses.

“Customers were telling us that the cloud services we offer must support the specific needs and challenges of their industry,” said Kees Hertogh, Microsoft’s general manager for global industry product marketing.

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