Would you say that you are more mobile than what your parents were at your age?
I’d be very surprised if the answer is anything but yes. Mobility has become an important factor in our daily life – as our lifestyle, including the way we work and how we communicate, has changed drastically. Our need to combine hobbies, family and social life with work and duties makes us particularly receptive to new technologies that can help us stay on top of it all. We are facing a whole new way of using services, such as our online newspaper subscription, bank services, file storage and access to social medias and email – all provided through the cloud.
Cloud is also becoming a key component in the business environment. With the right focus and technology there is a way to increase productivity and at the same time decrease the amount of working hours – without affecting our (high) standard of living. In order to illustrate some of the challenges companies in today’s modern world face, have a look at the video below by Dave Coplin, called “Re-imagining work – shifts in the digital revolution”. It presents interesting thoughts on how flexibility and freedom can help creating more happiness, as well as value, for companies. Cloud computing can provide this flexibility.
What is Cloud Computing?
Compared to on-premise solutions, where the software is owned by the company and installed on servers within the office, software provided through the cloud is owned and maintained by an external supplier and sold to the company as a service. It is also known as SaaS (Software as a Service), which essentially means rental of software. Being a user of the cloud, all you need to access your software is a device, such as a computer or tablet, a user name and a password.
Cloud Computing → Public Transport
To simplify, let us compare traditional and cloud computing with using private and public transportation respectively. If you own a car, you have to pay a large upfront investment, and cover all the expenses that arise because of usage. Additionally, should anything happen, you have to take it to the mechanic yourself. Using public transportation however, you pay only according to your consumption level, and never have to worry about maintenance. Moreover, should your colleagues want to come along with you, you can simply purchase the extra tickets you need. Why buy a whole new car to ensure everyone can come along?
Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud
A firm can choose between public and private clouds – or a hybrid of the two, depending on their needs. A public cloud provides standardized applications, like the Google App Engine, to many people. The private cloud however, is only for one single organization, which can build and manage it as it wants. With the hybrid solution a firm can choose to run part of its IT privately, while having the rest on a public cloud. The Cisco Global Cloud Index reports a greater adoption of public clouds by businesses, as cost awareness combined with the need for agility creates several restrictions for the decision makers. Another important factor of this trend is the strengthened public cloud security.
Opportunities with Cloud
With cloud solutions, a company no longer needs physical in-house servers. As the SaaS-provider hosts and updates the software and hardware for its clients, it removes the need for retaining IT-resources within the company. This allows IT-costs to drop dramatically. Additionally, security, integrations and IT-performance is often far better when taken care of by professionals. Outsourcing IT-functions leaves room for a businesses to focus on its core competence, which improves profits. Moreover, as cloud computing does not require a large initial investment in hardware, it especially benefits smaller firms; and it allows them to grow. The flexible pay-per-user model is scalable and makes it perfect for a changing environment. While firms in the past needed to make decisions on IT-investments based on complex forecasts, it is now possible to request an additional user online or over the phone – and voilà! Within minutes it is available.
The last, but probably best benefit of cloud computing is the mobility it offers. The end-user of the service can access it anywhere, at any time. A great example is sending invoices on the train, or registrating travel expenses the minute you step out of the taxi.
Want to know more about cloud?
Read the “5 reasons your business should be considering the cloud” here, or download our whitepapers (in Norwegian) for free.