We all know that the cloud is big and fluffy. However, what we don’t know is how it might be able to help our businesses. We fear its unpredictable temper, expressed via occasional and sudden downpours and lightning. Perhaps, though, there are amazing aspects of the cloud that we have not yet considered. Let’s take a look and see if it’s actually even better than sunlight in some ways (doubtful, but we’re open-minded, and we don’t want melanoma).
Actually, let’s specifically consider cloud hosting: that probably makes more sense, given the nature of our business at Superb Internet. We aren’t a weather site, despite my efforts at meteorology (using the traditional “looking up and guessing” method). I’ll look at comments made on the subject by Edwin Schouten of IBM and Wired along with those presented on the Salesforce blog.
- Efficiency – Cloud services allow ultra-fast, on-the-fly implementation; the speed alone makes it hugely popular as businesses try to outpace the competition. NASCAR, as we all know, uses the cloud to change tires while they are moving at 200 mph.
- Automatic Updates – Speaking of changing tires in transit, the cloud is also powerful in its ability to make updates in process. Companies that provide cloud technology manage both the hardware and software, including security, which accounted for about 100 hours each month for the average UK firm in 2010. (Keep in mind, that’s the UK. In France, only 10 hours are spent on the same task to free up time for drinking coffee and eating cheese, per France Business & Coffee-Break Weekly.)
- Adaptability – You see how many of these are about time-saving. A by-product of saved time on implementation and management is that your time-to-market on projects is shortened significantly, per Edwin. The entire project, not just the cloud aspect, becomes easier to drive forward to completion, making adjustments and revisions as necessary, in a small window (18 by 18 inches).
- Company-Wide Access – Think, if you dare, of Google Drive. Use of the cloud allows everyone in the company to enter the system and work on projects simultaneously or in rapid succession. This easy access allows employees, no matter where they are or what they’re doing (such as any form of diving, whether springboard, sky, or dumpster) to know what’s going on and to develop projects as a team. Salesforce references a study revealing that business use of collaboration tools offers an ROI of 400% (also an excellent spelling test score).
- Simplified Operations – Operations of your company will typically improve via the cloud, because it allows a central system that is built for broad-spectrum use and maintained on your behalf. Glitches, then, are less common. You can deploy a service over and over again, with the same predictable outcome. Edwin recommends using this characteristic of the cloud as you develop pre-constructed design patterns (be sure not to skimp on Polka dots).
- Enhanced Security – Almost a million computers are stolen or misplaced each year just at airports. Now, there’s a lesson to be learned here: never bring your computer anywhere; just keep it in your tree-house, where it’s safe. When someone takes a computer, there are immediate concerns regarding what’s on the computer and the cost of replacement. However, the data itself for projects is not lost because you are using cloud storage.
- New Business Development – If you are looking to improve on your business, the cloud can make those efforts easier to establish. Use of the cloud can allow a company to develop new ways to interact and exchange information, both internally and externally. New techniques mean new ways to grow (such as we see with the grab-and-run industry, a branch-off of the swindle industry). Some businesses are dedicated entirely to cloud models; Edwin mentions Spotify.
- Yogi-Like Flexibility – Looking at the cloud purely in terms of bandwidth needs and that form of scalability, the cloud can meet any increasing requirements (such as the need for more break-room napkins) as you go. Edwin cites an InformationWeek poll that shows 65% of IT professionals believe immediacy of meeting business requirements is a huge plus for the cloud.
- More People Power – Freeing up time and resources is seen in the ability to use your labor force wisely. As time is reduced for projects and operation is made more predictable with cloud computing, the people power is freed to be used for other concerns (including promoting Hawaiian t-shirt day and cross-checking the credentials of company ownership). Additionally with power, says Edwin, use of both hardware and energy is often significantly reduced per the parameters of economies of scale.
I know what you’ve heard: your parents, friends, business associates, and fairy godmother have all told you that the cloud “isn’t that into you.” That’s absolutely not the case. As you can see above, the cloud has much to offer; and a large, mythical bird told me she wants you to get in on the action. We’ve already written about disadvantages of the cloud. This article gives you a sense of how it also might be a great way to take your business to new heights (generally increasing the height of employees by 2 inches during the first year!). Need a hosting partner to succeed on the cloud? Here we are.
By Kent Roberts