If the survey ‘Latest Cloud Computing Trends’ conducted by Right Scale in January 2016 is anything to go by, business owners, budding and established alike, need to wake up to the realisation that, to remain relevant and competitive now and in future, they need to be a part of the digital wave that is now sweeping the entire world. That this survey was biased towards users of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is well appreciable because it emerges as a rich resource for businesses intending to adopt web-based infrastructure in their operations for its obvious advantages. In the UK alone, about 90% of businesses are already using cloud services in one way or another because this is the way to go both for service providers and their customers.
Because we cannot presume that every business owner is well versed in this area, lets first see what cloud computing is all about. Traditionally, all computing tasks were hosted through on-premise computer servers, which was limiting because nothing could be carried out of the server-hosting premise. Cloud computing, has made it possible to deliver these same computing services over the internet so that managing them is now flexible, convenient, and can be done from any location. Cloud computing definition will continue to evolve as long as notable discoveries and improvements are still being made on this rather new but interesting delivery concept. This is perhaps the main reason why businesses, rather than adopting cloud computing as a cheaper alternative to conventional on-premise ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, should focus on how best to leverage it to their advantage.
Cloud computing can be divided into three main categories of services, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. It can be private, public, or the in-between hybrid. Businesses, especially the small to medium ones may opt for private cloud services because even though these services are the priciest of the three, it puts them more in charge of their operations and takes care of security concerns. This service is delivered from the data centre of a business to its internal clients. Private cloud adoption, according to RightScale research increased to 77 % obviously for control and security reasons.
For public cloud, services are distributed by a third-party via the internet. This option tends to be the cheapest as the only cost incurred is that associated with CPU, storage, and internet connection. The downturn is, there ought to be some serious investment as far as security is concerned. Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, and IBM SoftLayer are some good public cloud providers.
With the hybrid cloud, users will retain their most sensitive workload on the private cloud and still have their scale-up operations on the public cloud. Perhaps the greatest offering of hybrid cloud is that users can take care of their on-demand extension needs without necessarily investing heftily in them. Therefore, users remain fully in charge of their core data while still taking advantage of the offerings of the public cloud.
Ways Cloud Computing will transform your business
The benefits of this next-generation IT infrastructure go beyond mere cloud presence or cost saving, to revolutionising business processes. Before any business decides to migrate its operations, it is important to first align its goals and objectives with cloud computing offerings in order to make the most of its benefits.
Improved Productivity – Productivity is the overarching goal for any business. It is what keeps them on their toes and has them spend substantial amounts in order to remain profitable and relevant in an ever-changing business environment. Cloud computing offers agility and efficiency advantages in service delivery, goals that would typically take more time to be achieved on-site, physically. These advantages come with such services as hosted desktop and PaaS which allow users to deliver services faster and more efficiently even with demand upsurge. In fact, businesses like Uber who are taking advantage of cloud computing to deliver services are ahead and according to Frost & Sullivan survey, are bound to increase their productivity by 400 %.
Reduced IT and Operation Costs – Over the years, private IT and infrastructure have remained to be top-of-the-list operating costs for organisations. The larger an organisation is the more costly its operations will be in terms of IT. Cloud computing presents an end to end remedy for this challenge with more businesses opting to outsource their operations to external companies whose core business is IT and its infrastructure, this way transferring risks and the cost related to hosting. In addition, with predictable costs, the budgeting process eases.
Simplified Operating Systems – In an era where cultured computer engineers and IT experts are only some, human resource expenditure tends to go on the high, along with on-premise infrastructural costs and this has proved uneconomical especially for the smaller organisations. This meant, as was mentioned earlier on, that it was next to impossible to have a competitive edge in business. Cloud computing has simplified this complexity by delegating the engineering task to a third party, hence eliminating these hefty human resource cost.
Pay per Use – By far, this is the most cost effective advantage. Because cloud computing resources are measurable granularly, businesses only pay for what they have consumed even when they have to scale up on-demand.
Level field for large and medium-sized organisations – For a small or medium sized business to have the same technological resource as the larger ones, is truly a level business field and this comes with cloud computing. This is because all businesses have the equal opportunity of taking advantage of this technological concept to improve their operations and service delivery without hefty capital investments on data centre resources, maintenance and operations as well as staff.
Automated Provisioning Solutions – Automated provisioning is one distinct advantage that goes with cloud computing. If anything, conventional IT systems are yet to catch up on this. With cloud computing, users can scale up systems for just any kind of workload in an instance, and still scale down when workload demand reduces. Therefore, businesses have a need for additional IT gurus to perform these processes. Speed and dependability are appreciable advantages here as far as the clients of any business are concerned.
Collaborative computing– This is probably the first time in technological history that groups with members from anywhere in the world can work on projects, share documents, applications, and updates real-time. An example is how Google Docs operates with members sharing and updating the same documents at the same time but from different locations of the world.
Data Back Up – Individuals and organisations have lost essential data before as a result of computers and systems crashing and this has cost them a great deal in terms of recovery or the loss itself. Cloud computing eliminates this fear as data will always be available in ‘the cloud’ and can be accessed from any other machine.
Cloud computing is not merely a passing trend. It is here to stay. Technology is fast delivering next generation business models that will further improve the efficiency with which business operations and services are delivered. Businesses can leverage these leading-edge technological trends in their business operations to remain ahead of the competition because IT will never cease to be at the centre of it all. Cloud computing is especially advantageous for businesses with no substantial IT manpower, resources, or expertise.