Industry-Specific Cloud Solutions, Anyone
Exploring the pros and cons of a cloud solution that is designed for a specific vertical
Until a few years back, most IT vendors considered vertical-specific focus as counter intuitive to realizing high growth targets as their intent was typically to capture a wider market share. Today, however, many service providers are starting to offer highly domain-specific solutions, seeking to differentiate themselves in a commoditized, cutthroat marketplace. This dynamic is very much evident in the cloud computing market as well. Cited alternatively as the industry cloud, domain-specific cloud or vertical cloud, cloud solutions designed exclusively for particular industries are now gaining traction rapidly.
Amid the explosive growth of the SaaS market that is projected to top $112.8bn mark by 2019, industry cloud is now being seen as the new horizontal. As the adoption of Cloud itself increases multi-fold in the years to come, industry cloud solutions also look set to carve out a niche for themselves. But the key question is not whether vertical-specific solutions are here to stay, rather whether such offerings deliver more business benefits than their generic counterparts. To answer this, let us explore some of the pros and cons of cloud solutions designed for specific verticals.
In-depth solutions and problem solving
To begin with, industry cloud solutions are highly customized to verticals, sometimes even to the last sub-segments. They also offer innovative solutions to age-old industry-specific challenges. This narrow focus, in turn, helps them address customer problems better, and build in-depth solutions that a horizontal vendor might otherwise not have the time nor the domain expertise to provide. For instance, a public cloud designed specifically for financial markets will support various use cases unique to that domain, aiming to deliver an intuitive experience for end users – while ensuring high availability and performance. Also, vertical players intuitively understand the sensitivities of an industry, including regulations around data security and confidentiality. Any changes in industry laws with a resulting impact on the relevant technological solutions are much likely to be better incorporated in the industry cloud than in the run-of-the-mill cloud.
Cost of solution delivery
The next important factor to consider is the cost of industry cloud solutions. Usually, the cost associated with marketing vertical solutions is expected to be lesser than horizontal solutions. This is so because horizontal service providers compete against established vendors in order to grow market share. Such high costs of marketing and sales will typically get passed on to customers, making such solutions marginally expensive than the vertical cloud solutions. On the other hand, even if vertical solutions aren’t available at more equitable prices, at least part of the cost savings realized from marketing and sales will be freed up to be ploughed back into developing more robust industry solutions. This is again another tick for the industry cloud.
Best practices and knowledge sharing
As industry cloud vendors cater to more customers from the same vertical, they are naturally exposed to time- and stage-specific problems these customers face in their business journeys. Further customizing the already specific solutions to these clients’ dynamic requirements provides cloud solution providers with further industry insights, thereby enriching new solution designs. This becomes an additional bonus for other customers as they benefit indirectly from the knowledge gained by the service providers. Best practices get automatically reflected in newer versions and optional solution packages, ultimately delivering far more and subtler ROI to customers.
Considering the various benefits vertical-specific cloud solutions bring to the table, they are definitely a must-explore option for customers looking to generate higher value from regular work processes. Especially, vertical solutions make a compelling case for routine, essential, transactional workloads such as regulatory compliance measures which otherwise do not provide any competitive advantage. Customers can address lingering concerns, if any, by adopting a multi or hybrid cloud strategy.