Everyone has been touched by cloud computing—it’s pervasive; it’s everywhere. It’s impacting the way in which people work (and play) in ways that were hard to imagine five years ago. The latest statistics put public cloud spending at more than $70 billion, with a projected compounded annual growth rate at an astonishing 19%. This means that cloud spending will be more than $160 billion by 2020.

What is driving this incredible growth? Two words spring immediately to mind: innovation and disruption. Companies were initially looking to leverage the cloud to reduce the costs of maintaining expensive hardware and software assets in-house/on premise. Those early adopters quickly realized many other benefits. By using the cloud they could extend, enrich and innovate faster, and as a result they could reach new markets and disrupt their competitors in ways not previously imagined. This was especially prevalent in the software industry. Look at the rise of companies like Uber, Facebook, Netflix and AirBnb. All of these companies leveraged the cloud to disrupt and innovate at a pace of change not seen since the industrial revolution.

And the rapid pace of technology innovation continues. High-performance computing, the Internet of Things, Big Data, machine-to-machine learning and artificial intelligence have all accelerated as a result of general cloud availability. The cloud gives on-demand scale, security and access to advanced resources anywhere in the world. It’s staggering to believe, but 90% of the world’s data have been collected over the past couple of years. Why? How? Think cloud—it’s the new medium where data are increasingly stored and processed.

What is a cloud?

The National Institute of Standards & Technology defines and describes cloud computing as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources such as networks, servers, storage, applications and services.” Simply put, think of a cloud as a network of remote servers and software hosted on the Internet that can be used to store and process data and develop, deploy and run applications.

The cloud is rapidly evolving to becoming the de facto standard for how independent software vendors and enterprises develop, deploy and run their applications. Many, if not most, companies are looking at “cloud first” strategies. Industries previously off-limits to the cloud—healthcare, banking, insurance, government, etc.— are looking at the model as a way of helping them gain competitive advantage by developing new products and services while bringing them closer to their customers and partners.

In the healthcare industry the cloud is providing supercomputing processing power and scale to help scientists crunch genomic and biological data to gain new insight, resulting in accelerated development of targeted and personalized medicines. In the tourism industry the cloud is helping airlines consolidate disparate data sources from unrelated target sources. By using the cloud to process and analyze the data, new trends and insights are leading to new service offerings and routes to new markets. This concept of Big Data has only recently become accessible and a reality to the masses due in part to the availability of solutions in the cloud.

Data that previously took months or years to process and many millions of dollars in computer hardware/ infrastructure investment can now be processed in days and hours and at a fraction of the expense, all at the click of a button.

Oil and gas in the cloud

The downturn has disrupted the industry, and the repressed price of a barrel of oil is forcing oil and gas companies to cut back on large capex. As a result, E&P companies are feeling the pinch. Landmark, a Halliburton business line, is one of those E&P companies looking to “navigate the cycle” with a view that the current downturn in business is likely to be the new “normal.” As a result, Landmark is developing cloud technologies to help drive down costs, help speed up innovation and provide market differentiation through innovative development and deployment of on-demand software as a service to its customers.

Over the past 25 years Landmark has built a large portfolio of software applications that embody the science surrounding E&P. Its software has helped to change the way in which E&P processes and operations run by fully integrating the disparate workflows and data across the complete life cycle, helping operators increase production at lower cost. Landmark is leveraging the cloud to help develop and deploy the entire portfolio of software applications much more efficiently, and in return it is helping customers simplify the process of technology adoption and consumption. Customers will no longer need to plan for and procure expensive server infrastructure or software licenses. New software applications are deployed at the click of a button, and the latest functionality gets deployed in the cloud within minutes or hours vs. the traditional deployment life cycle of months. By leveraging the cloud, energy professionals are able to easily locate, obtain, visualize and utilize relevant data and information, helping them make informed and critical drilling decisions for the optimization of production at much lower costs.

Landmark in conjunction with the Oracle Cloud is actively developing and deploying the next generation of software as a service applications. DecisionSpace 365 will be offered in public and private clouds, giving users the flexibility of how, when and where they deploy their solutions, all in a fully managed and highly secured environment. Additionally, a thriving new community has emerged using the cloud as the medium in which to discover, learn, connect and collaborate.

The OpenEarth Community is being developed as a free, global and open community of scientists, engineers, software developers within oil and gas companies, service companies, software providers, data vendors and technology developers committed to producing an open and shared E&P cloud software platform. This is a great example of how the cloud can be used to collaborate and build new software, services and solutions in the digital age.

The cloud changes everything. It isn’t a passing fad or trend; it’s a new business, technological and operational paradigm that is impacting every industry and company. Embracing it has encouraging potential for new and exciting revenue opportunities, increased innovation and reduced costs of doing business during the downturn in the industry.