In today’s tech world, ‘the cloud’ or ‘cloud computing’ is an important concept which has become a necessity for businesses looking to stay competitive and propel growth. To help your business prosper, let’s take a deep dive into cloud computing, and learn about how to leverage it for your organization.
Welcome to the second article of our 5-part series about the cloud and how it impacts your business
Often, articles such as these begin with how something works…and you can jump to ‘what is the cloud’ first if you like. Yet, why spend time on learning how something works if you are not going to use it? We want to show you why cloud computing is essential for your business, so you’ll be ready to find out more.
What is the Strategic Value to Cloud Computing?
The advantages can be categorized into five main areas: global flexibility, speed, scale, cost, and efficiency.
Did you know that over ¾ of enterprises (77%) have all or part of their business in the cloud? If you are not one of them, prospects will probably find them instead of you.
If your business is in the cloud, then anyone, anywhere can connect with it virtually from any internet-enabled device. Increasingly, business is being done on a broader, even global scale. For example, ‘in the old days’, people went to their local bank branches or agents to arrange mortgages or purchase insurance. Today, Canadian lenders can arrange mortgages for any Canadian property, and Canadian insurance agents can cover any Canada-based individual.
Having your organization in the cloud means you can contact clients and complete deals in Canada while on vacation in London, New York or Tokyo. For businesses using Sales Automation, all your clients have access to the same information and services and the same time. The result is a consistently high customer experience.
Cloud computing also allows your business to react more quickly to needs and trends. Does your CRM analysis show a heavy workload in one sector? It would be a good idea to allocate more resources (servers, data centers, etc.) to that area, so customer service remains consistent and doesn’t get bogged down with the increase in website traffic. As quickly as you can shift resources to one area, you can shift them to another…or reduce your resources just as quickly if you see you ‘overreacted’ and allocated too much. There is virtually no risk involved.
Lastly, you get to share in using all sorts of pre-built technology instead of having to develop these tools and features in-house. This enables your organization to innovate more rapidly, keeping your competitive edge.
Cloud computing gives your customers a seamless sales/customer service experience.
Many competitive industries such as insurance and mortgage are dependent on being first to market before competitors. With cloud computing, a few clicks of your mouse can give you more/less computing power, storage, bandwidth, etc. in just minutes. The increased flexibility allows for faster speed to market without an intense level of capacity planning. Need more? Need less? Just click and it’s there (or gone).
Another advantage is almost no website downtime. Reliable cloud providers build in several layers of best practices security, so your data, apps, and infrastructure remain as safe as possible from hacking and viruses. This benefits both companies and their customers as the cloud allows seamless transferring of data.
And in the unlikely event of a ‘hiccup’, recovery is faster and more complete (usually no data loss) due to networked backups in many different locations.
OK, but just how many ‘hiccups’ could my enterprise have in the cloud?
Business using on-site data centers have 51%more security incidents than those using cloud-based storage. Significant, right?
The big result is an immediate, real time, dependable customer experience. Your clients do not feel the ups and downs, just a consistent, top level service.
Fluctuating demands are no problem in the cloud.
Recent statistics show that 3.6 billion people used the cloud as part of their ‘shopping searches’. How could you possibly predict how many of them will use your website and exactly when that will happen?
The good news about cloud computing means you don’t have to provision resources for all possibilities.
With cloud computing, you can add or subtract resources, including memory or storage, within a server as long as the resources do not exceed the capacity of the machine itself.
Today, your organization can scale up or down as needed, on demand, in minutes.
A great example of this is Big Data analysis. Doing your analysis in the cloud enables your organization to more easily integrate data from multiple sources and leads to better processing results…all at a lower cost.
Sharing cloud resources lets you share the cost, too.
Most businesses do not run at peak capacity every minute of every day. So why store all the hardware and software needed for all workloads on-site?
Using remote resources means your organization pays only for the resources you use at the time you’re are using them. This ‘sharing with others’ variable expense is considerably lower than the ‘on-site, do-it-yourself’ capital expense due to the larger economies of scale.
And the worldwide networking of the larger cloud service providers ensures that resources are going to be available when you need them.
Enjoy the best hardware and software at a fraction of the price.
Think about your office photocopier. How often does it get replaced? Usually, when it can no longer be repaired. Why? Because it is a relatively large capital investment.
The downside, is that because of the capital buy-in, newer copiers which reduces reprinting costs or get things done faster/better are avoided.
The Cloud helps to ensure that tech is up-to-date. Due to the shared maintenance cost (worldwide users paying for resources consumed), the hardware is frequently upgraded to state-of-the-art equipment and specialist IT teams develop better software.
In addition, your in-house people are not involved which allows your team to stay lean and more profitable.