AI and machine learning might be the crowd favorite for most disruptive technologies in 2020. They also offer lots of opportunity for tech PR teams. But there’s an overlooked bit of B2B tech that’s quietly poised to shake things up: the cloud.
From data management to document storage, the outlook is strong with a high chance of growth for cloud tech in the coming months. The technology is a top business tool, so any sort of change can have a huge impact on the way organizations operate.
Customer needs and technology advances are coming together in a perfect storm of innovation for cloud providers and those tasked with promoting the key players in the space.
With that in mind, here are five key cloud computing predictions that present content and PR coverage opportunities in the year ahead.
Customer experience is king
Companies who ignore or deprioritize customer experience (CX) do so at their peril. Today brand customers want an experience that is as frictionless as possible. And because data stored in the cloud is accessible at any time regardless of location, it’s a key resource for enabling seamless customer experiences. For example, we’ve all had to redo an online shopping order after being interrupted mid-purchase. However, thanks to the cloud, retailers can now allow customers to start a purchase on one device and then finish doing so on another without any lost progress — just log back in and pick-up where you left off. These types of customer-centric innovations are helping redefine customer satisfaction and should be an interesting trend for PR campaigns to include on behalf of cloud data clients and their customers.
The hybrid cloud expands
Each company has its own specific set of needs and preferences, so a “cloud only” or “on-premise only” approach may not work for many. With this in mind, more hybrid cloud options — which combine on-premise, private and public cloud technology — are cropping up. This allows brands to tailor their internal IT infrastructure to suit their own needs instead of relying on a one-size-fits-all solution that may not deliver the best results or given them the flexibility they are looking for. There are real opportunities for hybrid providers to promote their advantages through creative storytelling.
Privacy concerns drive open source cloud
With more businesses looking to gain greater control over their data, open source cloud technology such as NextCloud or ownCloud could be set to go mainstream. Having centralized data has its benefits. Yet given several high-profile data breaches and greater scrutiny over personal data usage by brands, open source cloud service providers give users more control over their data and who has access to it. This more decentralized approach has become more popular with individuals and smaller businesses and if growth continues, 2020 could be the year when it goes mainstream. The key players here would be smart to stay ahead of security and data privacy issues so they can jump in and make the case when media are covering breaking news around hot-button issues.
Competition for talent
As with many technology sectors, trying to find enough qualified candidates to fill cloud openings is proving to be incredibly challenging for businesses today. In fact, 90 percent of organizations have said that they lack the skills needed in multiple cloud disciplines. This is causing not only greater investment in recruitment but also internal training and talent retention efforts. It’s a driver of many workplace branding campaigns among cloud companies, as well as a fruitful story for tech PR generalists.
A pause in consolidation?
2019 saw noteworthy instances of consolidation among top players, including IBM, VMWare, Microsoft and others. And given the public cloud space alone is set to grow 21 percent annually until 2021, cloud computing continues to be one of the most exciting spaces in technology. Yet, with many of the smaller players being snapped up already by the aforementioned power players above, there may not be much more room for mergers and acquisitions, so a slowdown in cloud consolidation could finally be on the horizon in 2020. That would be an overall boon to communicators and bring welcome stability to the sector.
Are there any cloud trends you are keeping an eye on during 2020? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter at @CrenshawComm.« 10 Rules For Keeping (PR Agency) Clients | Crisis PR Lessons From The Iowa Caucus »