The top benefits of industry cloud and what it means for your business


  • Industry clouds are tailored to your sector’s unique business processes, regulatory requirements and customer needs.
  • Compared with generic solutions, you may be able to more quickly drive process changes and innovation.
  • Working across the C-suite is critical to the success of industry cloud initiatives.

When cloud technology first hit the market, it was largely a one-size-fits-all proposition — organizations contracted with a handful of major providers and received a blank slate upon which to build new virtualized networks, storage and computer services. There was no customization and, as a result, everything was built from scratch. The good news is that all of this is finally changing thanks to the introduction of industry cloud, broadly defined as cloud-based platforms, products or services configured to provide industry-specific capabilities.

Industry cloud: Shining a light on specific industry challenges

While industry cloud is a rapidly evolving category, it’s easiest to think of it as a way to kick-start your cloud development in a manner that’s designed for the specific challenges and requirements of your industry. Industry cloud offers the specialized services that modern businesses need to get the most from their cloud investments in part by bypassing services they don’t need. Banks, for instance, must navigate complex financial regulations that would likely be irrelevant to a retailer. Hospitals have intense customer privacy considerations that aren’t likely applicable to a paper goods manufacturer. In other words, industry cloud helps customers accelerate, improve and innovate in their particular, specialized space.

Top 5 benefits of industry cloud
  1. Improved security features that are more relevant to my operations
  2. Improvements in data access, quality and insights to support decision-making
  3. Process and workflow efficiencies
  4. Tools and tech to integrate industry-specific data models, connectors, APIs
  5. Cost reductions and better time to value via streamlined development

Source: PwC 2023 Cloud Business Survey, January 2023 — Which of the following benefits has your company achieved as a result of using industry clouds compared to general-purpose cloud solutions? - Ranked Top 3; Base: 1,010 business and tech executives

Increasingly, industry cloud is emerging as the key to unlocking greater business value, fast. And businesses are just beginning to recognize its potential with just 20% of executives in our 2023 Cloud Business Survey indicating that adopting industry cloud was a key focus for their company this year. As executives begin to understand that industry cloud is a smart way to leapfrog the competition, they need to think about how to make that happen and what they should do to prepare. Here are four strategies for getting started.

Understand that industry cloud impacts the entire organization

All cloud initiatives should be developed for the benefit of the full organization, not just IT, and industry cloud is no different. A well-conceived industry cloud solution should connect applications, models and users across the entire enterprise, giving everyone a consistent, scalable platform upon which to operate and grow. Properly designed and implemented, industry cloud can deliver an end-to-end business solution that addresses specific challenges in your organization’s market. For example, in the banking industry, there’s a growing range of core capabilities offered that many banks would find difficult to build on their own. With today’s industry cloud, a bank can rapidly architect and stitch together the data, technology and processes from different cloud service providers to handle tasks such as payment processing, customer relationship management and client onboarding.

Get the entire C-suite on board

It’s critical that the support of the full executive suite be leveraged in rolling out an industry cloud solution. While the CIO is responsible for the technical support of the project, without full leadership support and involvement, the initiative isn’t likely to meet expectations. Take the energy and utility sector. Collaboration is essential in the race for a transition to cleaner energy. Leaders should view industry cloud not as a series of individual efforts but as the connective tissue that can help create end-to-end interconnections from enabling EV charging and customer payment apps to absorbing new technologies and infrastructure connections needed for the energy transition.

Strong C-suite collaboration has proven crucial for the success of any cloud initiative because of the mix of skills required throughout each stage of a cloud project’s development.

In fact, our cloud survey found that companies with a CIO who has strong working relationships with the board and fellow C-level leaders were more likely to realize a high level of success in their cloud initiatives.

Start with an understanding of your current cloud maturity

Has the bulk of your company’s workloads already moved to cloud, or are you just getting started? Organizations that have a good understanding of the requirements of general cloud technologies will have an easier path to success, though the eventual upside for organizations with a smaller crowd footprint may be greater due to the transformational aspect of an industry cloud implementation.

Know what sets you apart

Even within an industry, businesses have different needs, sometimes dramatically so. An online fast-fashion apparel merchant has a far different way of working than a chain of offline grocery stores even though both are part of the broader retail industry. Understanding specific business needs, and how they vary in relation to your competition, is key for increasing  the value realized from an industry cloud implementation. Other factors like geography, the broader competitive marketplace and regulatory issues can further complicate (or ease) an engagement.

Any new technology can add complexity, but industry cloud is unique in that it’s designed to help reduce redundant activities, eliminate irrelevant components and streamline your rollout considerably. The bottom line: By focusing on the problems that really matter to your business, industry cloud is designed to make your operations faster, more efficient and more secure — and ultimately more profitable.

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Suneet Dua

PwC Products & Solutions Leader, PwC US


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