You don’t have to be in IT to have heard the term “Cloud Computing”. In fact, chances are you’re already using it in some form. Cloud Computing has truly come of age and its impact can be felt across businesses and departments. For those of us in Marketing, both digital marketing and traditional, the impact is significant. Not just in how we deliver ideas and solutions to clients, but also in how we run our businesses as well.
So what is cloud computing? Well, if you’ve ever used a web-based email service like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo you’ve already experienced a form of cloud computing. Instead of running an e-mail program on your computer, you logged on to a remote web based email account using the Internet. The software and storage for your account doesn't exist on your computer -- it's on the email service's computer cloud. And that in essence is one small demonstration of cloud computing.
Cloud Computing offers huge benefits to how we do business. In a tough business environment, innovation and cost cutting are two crucial components of running a business. But how do you innovate while cutting costs? Cloud computing is a great way to do it. It doesn’t just allow you to reduce costs significantly; it also allows you to be more flexible, adaptable and responsive to a changing environment. That’s just one of a number of benefits that cloud computing offers. Here are some other significant reasons why you should look to the clouds:
Show me the money! Saved.
Clearly one of the biggest reasons for businesses to consider cloud computing is cost savings. And the very nature of the service means that there’s significant savings to me made. For one, it negates the need for you to keep spending on hardware, software and licence fees. The entire heavy lifting is done by the Cloud service provider. This not only frees up monies, it also means you can run your business with a much smaller IT department - No more hiring people to take care of problems or to manage software and systems. For small businesses it also means a much-reduced initial capital expenditure on technology.
Anytime, anywhere access
Marketing, and to a larger extent advertising, has a growing need for contract and freelance workers. Given security and system requirements for jobs, this often means having people on location to do the job. Cloud computing removes the need for this. As long as an employee or worker has Internet access they can log on from anywhere, anytime and do the work. Not just that, cloud computing allows for complete collaboration. Letting employees sync up and work on documents and shared apps simultaneously, and follow
colleagues and records to receive critical updates in real time. Making multi-office and sub-contracted work that much easier.
One of the key issues with technology is the constant need to upgrade software and systems. Upgrades can mean large time commitments, incompatibility issues and work interruptions. Because upgrades and fixes happen in the cloud, they don’t disrupt business, ensure your systems are always up-to-date and eliminate the need for constantly having to pay for newer versions of software and systems.
One of the big advantages of cloud computing is how it frees up resources, without compromising your business or service. Unlike on-premise systems, cloud computing gives you the flexibility of an on-demand service. On demand access to bandwidth and software means that you can instantly meet new business demands, without worrying about capacity. And since you only pay for what you use, you don’t tie up costs or time
It’s a small (integrated) world.
If you’ve paid for a Coke from a vending machine with your credit card then you’ve already experienced machine to machine cloud computing. And it’s set to grow exponentially. Automobiles will increasingly stream over the cloud videos, applications, driver manuals, security information and more. And houses connected by the cloud could assist the elderly while also helping us all reduce energy use. M2M is the Internet of the future says the experts.
Clearly there are many reasons to consider the Cloud, and we’ve just highlighted a few. As with anything, needs vary from company to company, while flexibility may be important for one business, cost cutting may critical for another. Careful planning, accurate costing, and rigorous monitoring are all essential when you consider cloud computing. What is obvious though is that the days of technology working in isolation, divorced from business requirements are long gone.
Sources: SAP blog - 6 benefits of cloud computing; Windowsserver2012.itpro.co.uk - 10 business reasons to move to the cloud
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