Rows of servers used in cloud hosting and services. Image courtesy of www.cloudtp.com

Rows of servers used in cloud hosting and services. Image courtesy of www.cloudtp.com

The advent of cloud computing is changing the landscape of information technology, business and personal computing. The phrase “doing things in the cloud” has become a common phrase across different applications and computing. Understanding the importance and the benefits of cloud computing today is integral in understanding the way enterprises, businesses, IT and personal computing is changing and will likely continue into the future. If applied correctly, it can increase the productivity of any enterprise that target higher profits and revenues.

Let’s say you are a manager or an executive in a large business or enterprise. Your responsibilities will include making sure that all employees have the correct, and required  software and hardware in order to do their jobs. Purchasing computers and licensed software will ensure that these employees  will have the right tools to do their job. For the enterprise to continue to grow and expand, it will require additional hardware and software to function seamlessly into the enterprise’s computer network. Software licensing and updating may be costly, but there is another way of of saving money without compromising the workforce. Instead of installing  a software suite for each workstation, you can opt for an application. The specific application will allow the employees to log into a web-based service that hosts all the programs the  user would need  & it will just be in one central location. The central location is made up of remote machines that is owned by another company that can cover word processing, email, complex data analysis programs and data storage. This is the principle of cloud computing.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing in its simplest terms means accessing and storing information, data and programs over the internet instead of a native computer’s hard drive. For a process to be considered as cloud computing, a user needs to access

A Microsoft infographic explaining cloud computing. Image courtesy of blog.nhireland.com

A Microsoft infographic explaining cloud computing. Image courtesy of blog.nhireland.com

data or programs over the internet or at the very least have the program or data synchronized with other information over the internet. On the other hand, local computing and local storage is when you run programs and access data from the individual computer’s hard drive. Everything a person needs to do work and to perform their tasks is physically close to them, which also means that accessing data is fast and easy. This is how information technology, computer industry  and IT departments worked for decades. Some people still consider this as more superior to cloud computing.

Big businesses and enterprise may know everything that’s on the other side of the cloud connection, but for some individual users, they may never have an idea of how big data processing is, on the other end of the line. Even though there are differences  between business and personal applications, the end result will be the same; cloud computing can be done anywhere and any time as long as there is a good online connection.

Furthermore, in a cloud computing system, the workload will be shifted. Local computers will no longer have to do almost all of the processing and running applications. The hardware and the network of computers and servers that make up the cloud will all do the work instead. The only thing that a user’s workstation needs is to access the cloud computing system interface application and the cloud network will take care of the rest.

Advantages Of Adopting Cloud Computing In An Enterprise

Practically, cloud computing applications are limitless. Having the right middleware, the cloud can execute all the programs a normal workstation could run. There are a number of advantages, why a cloud computing system can work in a business.

  • Clients will be able to access the needed applications and data anywhere, anytime. As long as there is a functional computer an a good internet connection, clients can access anything without sacrificing efficiency. The needed data will not be confined to a native hard drive on the user’s computer or the enterprise internal network.
  • A graph showing business functions and forecasted cloud adoption. Image courtesy of cloudplatformtrends.com

    A graph showing business functions and forecasted cloud adoption. Image courtesy of cloudplatformtrends.com

    It can bring the cost of the hardware down. Cloud computing will minimise the need for advanced hardware on the side of the client. Computer speed, memory size and  hard disk size will not be an issue since it cloud system will cover those needs. An entry level computer with enough processing speed that can run the UI that is needed to connect to the cloud system. All information and data will be stored on a remote computer.

  • Businesses that rely on computers will have to make sure that the right hardware and software are in place to achieve productivity. The business will not have to buy sets of software  and software licenses for every workstation, instead, the business can just pay a metered fee to the company providing the cloud service.
  • Local servers and other digital storage devices take up space. Some enterprise rent physical space for their database and servers because they don’t have any available space on their site. Cloud computing will solve this issue because data will be stored on the service provider’s servers, thus removing the need for a physical space.
  • The business will save cost on IT support. In theory, a streamlined hardware would have fewer issues as compared to a network of heterogeneous computers, hardware and OS.
  • The business could take  advantage of the cloud’s network processing power. There are cases where complex calculations will take years for an individual computer to complete. On a grid computing system, the client will just simply send the calculation to the cloud to be processed and then the cloud will then tap the processing power of all the available computers on the back end thus enhancing the calculation speed.

Can Cloud Computing Change The Face Of Business?

Cloud computing can change the ways businesses transact and function. Early adopters have proven the advantages of the system and it has the potential to change any business that adopt it even if the technologies are used internally. The possibilities are clear. Below are ways of how cloud can change business.

  1. It will create a new generation of services and products. The cloud computing, economics provides innovative companies to create products that were not possible before or can be less expensive than a specific competitor. Any limitations on computing power, scale or any radically new business models that cannot be implemented because of these limitations can now be realised. Improvement in processing power, storage and other technology will enable any innovations that was not possible before. Cloud computing makes these opportunities happen.
  2. A better and real time partnerships and improved outsourcing with IT providers. What used to be in-house IT services are now performed by third party IT providers. Yes, change is hard, but as compared to traditional IT outsourcing, cloud computing can provide control and agility that traditional outsourcing cannot provide and match. Cloud computing will be an improvement over what a business have now and will also give them choices that they never had before when everything required internal execution or through the third party outsource.
  3. It will give leverage and awareness of the internet and specifically Web 2.0. There are still a number of
    Cloud computing benefits. Image courtesy of 4tify.blogspot.com

    Cloud computing benefits. Image courtesy of 4tify.blogspot.com

    companies that re critical of web technologies as not serious computing. The web has matured and the challenges in performance, scale and satisfying people has created solutions, technologies and architectures  that can address the needs in power yet economic ways that many businesses find difficult to match. A business that adopts cloud computing will be at par with the rest of the online world. Whether it is the use of social tools, SaaS, non-relational database or a host of different technologies in the cloud. This will also allow companies to compete effectively in the present and future market.

  4. The convergence of traditional  SOA with other emerging IT models and the cloud system. For many business organizations, the cloud system will break the limitations of traditional SOA and move it to a place where it can meet new business and technical requirements, new business conditions, and faster rates of change.
  5. Old school firms will have trouble keeping up with cloud adopters and followers. Old school companies that don’t adopt the cloud system doesn’t mean an immediate demise. Adopting to the cloud system is a big cultural and business change which a number of companies are not keen on doing. Not adopting to a new system will make it hard for old school companies to compete in the modern market. And  to some old school business that are too slow to adopt the advantages while managing the risks will likely face serious and growing business disadvantages.

According to the global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, 80% of the large companies in North America are either considering of using cloud services – or they may already have.The EU and Australia are following suit.

If you’re starting a business or already an existing enterprise, check the possibilities of cloud systems. It’s not too late to go for a change. The tools to make your business prosper are already there. You just have to get and use it to your advantage.

 

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.