Companies are rapidly incorporating cloud technology, the ability to access distributed computer processing and storage capabilities. A 2016 poll showed that 41% of surveyed businesses are planning to expand spending on cloud technologies. Large companies are jumping on this trend even faster than smaller companies. 51% of large and mid-sized companies plan to increase spending on the cloud compared to 35% of smaller companies. Why all the interest in the cloud? Cloud technology can improve operations and customer support while saving on costs and enabling employees to work remotely. The economics and convenience of cloud computing is the main reason why 64% of surveyed companies said they would use an increased budget for cloud computing services.
Cloud technology enables companies to scale their computing solutions as they grow. The days of forecasting how many servers to buy is long in the past. No one has to hide servers in closets or purchase more space in order to expand. Instead, companies can simply alter their usage with the cloud provider, like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. The cloud provider allocates more space and charges more money. However, if a company has a decreasing need for computing resources, the company can also reduce their usage. The cloud technology scales with the computing needs of the business. For larger businesses, cloud technology is opening up a whole host of new applications. Toyota is leveraging the cloud to transform the car into a “connected platform,” according to Business Insider. The car company uses Microsoft Azure to host apps that connect the car to Facebook or reward “eco-points” for using an electric vehicle. These apps, made possible by the cloud, are a great added value for customers.
2) Support Customers More Effectively
Not only does the cloud allow companies to create more valuable apps for customers, it enables better customer support. The days of a single person manning a telephone from nine to five are gone. Customers want answers and the ability to purchase products at all times of the day. The cloud makes this possible. Employees across the world can access the same information and services to support customers at any time of the day. The cloud provides a flexible system that connects customers and employees via mobile device, laptop or desktop computer. The cloud also makes it easier to share information with customers. The high-quality, high-bandwidth information that customers crave, such as how-to videos, is now a service that smaller companies can provide. Hosting videos or other useful information is as simple as upgrading the cloud service to provide more bandwidth. Even small companies can wow customers with high quality web content.
3) Enable a Flexible Workplace
Employees also benefit from companies adopting the cloud. When all their work information is stored on the cloud, they are able to work from home. The number of telecommuting workers climbed from 9% in 1995 to 37% in 2015, according to a Gallup poll. Since many companies began adopting cloud technologies in the early 2010’s, it’s likely that the cloud has enabled this transformation. The average worker now telecommutes 2 days per month. Thanks to cloud computing, she can use her favorite home devices and office supplies to connect and get work done. The Bring your Own Device (BYOD) trend is made possible by the cloud. The cloud essentially enables the entire office to be present in any employee’s home.
4) Save on Infrastructure Costs
With employees connecting from home using their own devices, companies can benefit from a decrease in infrastructure cost. Less desks need to be purchased if employees can rotate between the office and home. Many startups, including Zapier, are experimenting with an entirely remote workforce. Their business model doesn’t require maintaining an office building, which can save a lot of money. It also makes sense for startups like Zapier to adopt cloud technology because it lowers the costs of starting a business. The infrastructure cost of servers and computers is spread across everyone connecting through a cloud service like Azure or AWS. Startups and entrepreneurs can also take advantage of cloud-based services, which often integrate seamlessly via APIs. A company can integrate accounting software with customer relationship management (CRM) software easily. In fact, many software as a service (SaaS) companies highlight these integrations as a benefit. Like any cloud-based technology, these services also scale, so businesses can start with a cheaper and less capable service and then expand their services as the business grows.
Store Data Safely
As companies, large and small, begin to adopt these cloud-based services, security becomes paramount. However, cloud services are starting to improve their safety record. A RightScale survey found that security is no longer the top concern of companies adopting cloud services. Cloud service companies have had to up their game to accommodate big players like Toyota. Turning a car into a connected device can be dangerous if the data is compromised. Toyota’s CIO highlighted that Microsoft’s dedication to security as the main reason that they chose that platform for their cloud apps. While security is still a concern for some companies, cloud services are constantly upgrading their security measures to meet the demand.
6) The Cloud Increases Productivity
Investing in the cloud allows businesses to provide a central repository for all their data, communication and processing. With this central hub, employees can work from anywhere in the world, using any internet-connected device that they prefer. Employees and customers can connect through the cloud 24/7 for better service. Companies can also save money through the integration of cloud services. A cloud accounting software can easily link to a customer relationship management software. It all works together. Many startups are taking advantage of these services, which can scale with the company’s growth. Upgrades are as simple as adjusting the cloud service fees. Although cloud services are a relatively new technology, they are already changing the way we do business by making greater productivity possible.
About the author
Jen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words, business, education and cutting-edge. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie