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Cloud, competition, and the rise of the “super-niche”

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Cloud infrastructure has become an essential part of businesses of all shapes and sizes. This technology, which was once a step into the unknown – and a step too far for many – is now established as common practice to reduce operating expenditure, and allow for a more nimble business through shared computing resources.

This concept of sharing and ‘collaborative consumption’ now extends far beyond the infrastructure, where it was borne with implementations such as Cloud Back up to the services that businesses provide to consumers. Increasingly these services in the business space are being built into business processes in their own right bringing together a series of workflows to perform a complex task. 2015 has seen the rise of the ‘Sharing Economy’ – we are now able to take advantage of peer to peer platforms to connect with spare room owners, like-minded crafters, or people who might be willing to share a commute.

This revolution relies entirely on the power and flexibility of the cloud, and looks set to shake up the nature of business competition in 2016 and beyond.

The cloud means that enterprises that might traditionally have been seen as competitors are increasingly collaborating across cloud services, freeing them up to focus on boosting and refining their core offerings, whether their end users are consumers or businesses. That’s not to say that we will see the end of fierce competition amongst tech corporations, but rather that the nature of this competition will change, and shift away from the efficiency of the technology solution itself. This will bring increased investment in highly specialised services.

The companies that will succeed in this space make integration and consumption of their services easy via APIs. However, simply having an API isn’t enough, as the use of these technologies become more commonplace, those providers that have the the most functionally rich, adaptable and easy to integrate API.

Evolving business models

In line with this demand, we should expect to see a corresponding increase in niche cloud services. New start-ups seeking to take advantage of this new wave of globally distributed business models, and a worldwide customer base, will be seeking out “super niches” that they can own. These will be born from ever more specific challenges and frustrations within B2B processes, whether this be related to international money transfer, invoice financing, payroll or foreign exchange.

Venture Capital investors will have their eyes on the huge growth potential in this sector, and will be more than willing to back new entrants to the space in the New Year.

We often talk about ‘consumers’ and’ businesses’ in separate breaths, forgetting that businesses are of course run and managed by ‘consumers’ in another facet of life. As we become increasingly accustomed to instant services and transactions, business leaders will take these expectations with them into their corporate lives, fuelling this demand for emerging, specialist providers.

In this light, developments in the B2B and consumer spaces will continue to fuel and push each other. B2B enterprises that can ensure each individual aspect of running the business is streamlined, instant, and flexible will be the true winners next year.

 

John Hammond

John Hammond

John Hammond is the CCO of Currency Cloud.

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Tags: Cloud Computing, Technology