Moving to the cloud might get easier and more interesting for companies in the coming months. Source: Shutterstock

Moving to the cloud might get easier and more interesting for companies in the coming months. Source: Shutterstock

Is it time for cloud service providers to reinvent themselves?

CLOUD service providers have been around for quite a while now, and although many are still seen as providers of infrastructure, their role has evolved quite significantly over the past few years.

Most of the leading cloud providers offer intelligent solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other technologies — elevating their role significantly in the digital transformation ecosystem.

Tencent, although not conventionally seen as a cloud services giant, recently explained why the industry needs to re-invent itself and where the company sees itself going in the future.

“Looking into the next two decades, the digital lifestyle is expected to be closely integrated into real life as digitalization is taking place around the world, and digitalization will also bring huge potentials and opportunities to economy and society’s developments,” Tencent President Martin Lau said recently at the Global Digital Ecosystem Summit in Kunming, China.

According to Lau, industrial development is currently undergoing three important evolution stages — which cloud services providers must dovetail to provide a seamless transition to a smart, future state where customers and industries are seamlessly interconnected.

“Firstly, it is the evolution from ‘open ecosystem’ to ‘ecosystem openness’. Secondly, it is the evolution from Internet Industry to Industrial Internet. Thirdly, ‘digital globalization’ evolves to ‘global digitalization’.”

Lau goes on to explain that Tencent’s vision is to use a C2B2C strategy — where they leverage their vendors and partners across the ecosystem to create intelligent and meaningful solutions irrespective of industry or geography.

“Through the completion of the digital transformation of every part of the ecosystem, we can then unlock the value chain in order to realize the evolution of the industry,” explained Tencent Senior Executive Vice President, President of Cloud & Smart Industries Group of Tencent Dowson Tong.

Armed with the knowledge and expertise accumulated from advanced areas such as real-time communication and social, Tong explained that Tencent aims to further open up an industry-leading ‘platform of services’.

Tong aims to use the company’s expertise in communication, AI, and security, as well as user behavior, contents, and application, to help companies and developers apply new-age technologies to their business scenarios.

Cloud vendors need to see the bigger picture

Tencent new strategy is quite interesting and impacts not just its own business but the entire industry as a whole.

The company has highlighted three key trends, which means businesses will need support to a greater degree when moving to the cloud and digitizing their business.

Further, when building intelligent solutions to delight customers, they’ll need to work with cloud vendors as providers of infrastructure as well as providers of platforms — as they own and offer simplified access to intelligent AI, ML, and other cognitive technologies as well.

As a result, cloud vendors that open up their ecosystem and involve customers and businesses who are partners in one way or another, they’ll be able to provide businesses with a more wholesome portfolio of services and solutions than they would be able to do independently.

In order for organizations everywhere to leverage the full potential of technologies, this open ecosystem is critical — and Tencent hopes to pioneer the approach with the formal announcement of its new direction.