The global cloud application market is anticipated to reach $365 billion by 2025 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15,8%, according to MarketsandMarkets.

Driven by the combined edges of computing, creativity, innovation and AI, and connecting multi-cloud approaches to emergent technologies to create intelligent solutions that exceed expectations and cut costs, cloud applications introduce scale, flexibility and value.

The cloud is, says Andre Muzerie, strategic account manager at Africonology Solutions, transforming the application development process, and providing organisations with the tools they need to stay competitive.

“Modern companies are opting into cloud-based applications to enhance their customer experiences and generate revenue,” he continues. “These cloud-based apps, commonly referred to as cloud apps, are changing the shape of business innovation and agility. Developed in the cloud environment and simplifying the process of data collection, these cloud applications are easy to spin up, manage and control.”

In addition to their flexibility and accessibility, cloud apps reduce the need for in-house IT support and infrastructure resources. They are developed in the cloud and run in a web browser with data storage maintained online, making them easier to manage on cost and scale. Thanks to their foundations within the cloud, these apps can be accessed at any time, from any device, and can be quickly developed and deployed to meet business timelines and competitive objectives.

Then, there is the security part of the cloud app conversation. Cloud apps have the potential to provide organisations with increased protection across multiple touchpoints, be they on-premise or in the cloud. They are scalable and cost-effective, allowing companies to slice their IT infrastructure costs while better managing their software licensing costs and providing immense visibility into expenditure and use cases.

“The value of the cloud app is becoming increasingly relevant to the modern organisation,” says Muzerie. “They can be used to redefine user experiences, innovate, explore emergent technology use cases, and shape how the organisation leverages artificial intelligence (AI). However, they all require that the organisation invest in a stable and capable cloud foundation.”

For all the hype about how cloud can transform the business, and how cloud apps can reimagine that transformation, many companies remain foggy on the details. How can they optimise their cloud investment? What is the right cloud investment? Is it on-prem, hybrid or public? What about a multi-cloud approach? As Muzerie points out, building a cloud foundation requires that the organisation spend time unpacking its existing profile and its strategic expectations.

“You need to understand both the benefits and the disadvantages of cloud, in all its permutations,” he adds. “It’s not a perfect fix, it’s just a technology with potential. The real value lies in ensuring your business integrates the right cloud architecture for its actual needs. Cloud must be relevant, resilient and capable of evolving with the business as it grows.”

Cloud has its value. It can be easily upgraded, it’s accessible and scalable, it opens the door to rapid application development tools, it can be cost-optimised with an eagle eye on FinOps, and it can be shaped to fit the needs of the business.

However, it can also introduce a lack of control, a limited range of applications, security and data concerns, uncontrolled expansion, and there’s the risk of lock-in and vendor dependency. Going into your cloud investment means going in with open eyes and the right tools and support.

“You can derive significant benefit from adopting the cloud and investing in cloud-based applications,” concludes Muzerie. “There’s no need to invest in on-site infrastructure and because you only pay for the resources you use, there isn’t room for overprovisioning. Cloud hosting also provides enhanced monitoring which translates into improvements in security and performance and rapid problem resolution. It ensures quality control, continuous security patching, access to a zero-trust architecture, and reliable service delivery, particularly when managed with the right service provider and team.”

Cloud apps are taking the enterprise by, well, storm, and the cloud is the foundation the organisation needs to truly benefit from their potential while adding scale, security and agility to its overall architecture and capability.