Given the growing popularity of cloud computing with small and big enterprises, the advantages of this emerging technology paradigm cannot be underestimated. Cloud applications are fast, easy, and accessible from anywhere in today’s digitally connected world. A study by RightScale in 2015 reveals that 93% of enterprises are adopting cloud computing. Research firm IDC predicts cloud IT infrastructure spending to reach USD 52 billion by 2019, equivalent to 45% of total IT infrastructure spending.
That cloud computing is here to stay is quite evident from the tangible and intangible benefits that companies stand to gain by adopting cloud computing technology.
The very nature of cloud computing is such that it allows organizations to leverage manpower, more quickly and as per company needs. This is because cloud computing helps in distributing workloads across the company and can be remotely accessed by end-users, irrespective of their location. Companies could even hire a global and, perhaps, cheaper workforce when they use cloud computing. Also, resources and staff can be quickly scaled up or down according to the pace of demand. This gives businesses a competitive edge wherein they can quickly meet the demands and expectations of their customers.
Traditional setups and practices serve as roadblocks to the creation of new business services. Earlier business units had their own hardware, which was often acquired with higher specifications than required, to avoid frequent upgrades. Also, due to inadequate foresight, interoperability concerns with other business units would crop up. Cloud computing could address this well, by helping create new efficient services; as a result, the resources would be managed more seamlessly and efficiently across the organization. This is especially true for software businesses. Cloud computing facilitates agile development, which aids in the quicker delivery of solutions to the market.
By bringing computing within the ambit of the business units and lessening their dependency on IT, cloud computing has given businesses an edge that drives innovative solutions that can be implemented speedily. This could step up motivation within the company.
The use of cloud computing can promote faster business expansion. Any merger or acquisition that enables businesses to share services based on cloud architecture would be helpful for new business models. In fact, an entire revamp of some organizations via the cloud could witness the emergence of a truly remarkable way of conducting business. Thus, this new technology throws open a whole array of fresh opportunities helping increase efficiency, while facilitating growth.
Cloud computing is very cost-effective as companies need not invest in expensive, heavy infrastructure; rather, the same or even better level of computing would be obtained on lighter and economical personal workstations via the cloud. Piloting an application on the cloud is inexpensive and faster. In fact, various studies report that 82% of companies save money by moving their computing to the cloud.
Shifting to cloud computing takes away the huge cost associated with the maintenance and upgrade of software, renewal of licenses, maintenance of infrastructure as well as the employment of technically skilled staff for software upkeep. Cloud computing is based on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ expenditure scheme; the costs incurred would be a fraction of the former. Plus, businesses will benefit from having the latest and updated services at their disposal. IT experts are available as and when needed, since the organization itself is a customer.
As an overarching platform, cloud technology provides the flexibility of sharing free or underutilized resources across business units, thus increasing the ROI. A centralized business technology based on cloud architecture is a one-time investment that shall enable everyone to get on the same platform. As a result, IT would not need to install new programs and configure lengthy settings for each business unit. The resource acquisition and release can be dynamically and cleverly managed.
Employees can share files and documents on the cloud. This increases collaboration and reduces unnecessary duplications or the generation of multiple versions of the same document. The centralized repository on the cloud server ensures that all the concerned parties are accessing the updated and single version of the shared document.
Files on personal laptops and desktops are prone to security breaches that can adversely affect business. Thefts and break-ins of personal machines by hackers are very risky. The same sensitive information on the cloud is far more safe and accessible from any location. Often the cloud providers have multiple backups for the data. Many third-party clouds encrypt data for enhanced security. Similarly, recovery from disasters such as hardware failures would be much faster and would have the least impact on the business, due to cloud-based solutions.
Using cloud computing decreases the carbon footprint of an organization since it does not have to invest in huge resources that consume energy. SMEs tend to benefit the most from savings on energy expenses.
Cloud computing might be the right way for businesses to improve their efficiency, enhance their competitive edge and keep up with changing IT innovations. However, enterprises need to be careful while shifting from their existing infrastructure-heavy model to flexible and cost-effective cloud computing.