It’s hard to believe that even though public cloud computing services were introduced over a decade ago, and seven years since private cloud services came into the market, many organizations are still confused over where and how to use these services.
When looking at your cloud strategy, it’s a great idea to take a look at what five of tech’s biggest players are doing to help you identify if your strategy aligns with their direction. As these top 5 have just announced their strategies for 2017, here’s my overview of what each of them has to offer.
IBM’s very real turnaround
Despite reporting their 19th consecutive quarter of declining revenues, and fifth year of declining full-year revenues, Big Blue’s turnaround is real.
Since 2012, IBM has been letting its older businesses peter out while pouring billions into cloud and mobile computing, data analytics, social and security software and artificial intelligence. While these new business revenues have not yet overtaken the old, they are close.
The company’s strategic growth areas now represent 41% of total revenues, ahead of their expectations. They forecasted reaching 40% by 2018, but they could reach 50% later this year.
Yes, they’ve struggled as the enterprise has replaced IBM data centre hardware with subscription-based cloud computing services offered by Amazon and Google who were made for the cloud. But things are looking good. In Q4, IBM reported their cloud business grew 35%.
With IBM CEO Ginni Rometty setting her sights on further development in cognitive computing, it will surely be interesting to see how the company ties cognitive capabilities into their cloud platform and what that will mean for the competition and their cloud innovation in the future.
Amazon’s aggressive growth
Amazon owns somewhere between 80% and 85% of the public cloud market. Serving the needs of enterprise IT and ordinary consumers, they are taking the lead in innovation and expansion.
They’re reporting they introduced over a thousand new services and features last year, including a handful in artificial intelligence. Not content with relying on UPS and FedEx, Amazon is building out its delivery infrastructure by building new air and ocean hubs, expanding its fleet of cargo planes and trucks, as well as sorting and distribution facilities.
Becoming a global transportation and eCommerce giant will come with massive innovation, as they continue to disrupt and redefine industry after industry with their considerable cloud dominance.
Microsoft’s Azure gains traction
Microsoft is second to Amazon in the cloud, and they are reporting that their Azure cloud business doubled last year along with the market penetration of Azure.
It’s not a profitable business yet. They earn better margins from Office, Windows, PCs, and Xboxes. In fact, the only year-over-year increase Microsoft reported last month in those four areas was a 10% bump in their Productivity and Business Product segment, which includes Office.
As the PC market continues to shrink, Microsoft will have to take a bigger ownership of the public cloud market than the 10-15% they have now. With Azure adoption progressing at a rapid pace, they will continue to be a go-to vendor for the enterprise.
Alphabet-Google promises cloud innovation
With around a 5% stake in the cloud, Google parent Alphabet has designs on a bigger share. They plan to open more data centres with the promise of something more than simple server rental.
Expect more details on their innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning, test driven and bankrolled by their web advertising business (the world’s largest advertising business by the way), which has continued to grow for 20 consecutive quarters.
For those who believe there’s a ceiling on their Google ad revenues, the company is reporting its cloud, app-store and hardware businesses revenues grew 62%. Their pockets are as deep as their penetration, and they are going to put both to work.
Intel’s nervous bragging rights
The chip maker generates 30% of its revenue in data centres, which has helped while the PC business steadily declines. But as the data centre business faces a low-growth future, Intel will struggle. Their revenues in this category grew in the single digits last year, compared with 11% the year before and 18% the year before that.
Intel still owns about 97% of the server market. Their chips power the servers of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. They can brag 30% growth in cloud computing sales last year.
But they realize they have to innovate. The cloud is going to demand performance not available right now, and chip makers Qualcomm, Cavium and Advanced Micro Devices are challenging Intel’s Goliath-like monopoly.
There is no doubt that this is going to be a big year in the cloud business, so ensuring you know what each of these top players has to offer will help you identify who you might want at your table. Consider speaking to a professional IT services company with expertise in the cloud to help with implementation.
What is your plan for the cloud? How will you take advantage of the rapid innovation it offers?