One of the more simplistic explanations of cloud computing is using remote servers on the web to store, manage and process the data. The use of these computing services will be paid on a pay-per-use basis. If you chew on even this simple explanation for some time, you can easily conjure up benefits such as cost savings, flexibility, scalability and many more. These essentially are the immediate benefits that the cloud computing concept brings to the table. But, to think of cloud computing through the prism of cutting down on the overheads and extra storage wouldn't be giving the devil his due.
Although the use of cloud computing is still fraught with challenges, as illustrated by this survey by the 2013 IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Research, there is no doubt that the benefits of cloud computing are not limited to some of the commonly known benefits. The fact that more and more businesses are leaning on cloud computing to give their processes the competitive edge, means the computing concepts of the clouds deliver many more benefits that can be leveraged for business benefit.
Let's take a look at some of them:
Businesses progress when they innovate. Businesses cannot afford to rest on the existing popularity of their products. They need to keep innovating to ensure they can keep up with the changing demands of their customers. A product popular today will lose out in the popularity stakes tomorrow, when a new and better product challenges its market leader position. So, it makes sense to keep coming up with new product ideas and to breathe life into them. But product innovation needs both time and money in order to be successful and both big and small businesses have a tendency of shying away from innovation because of the costs involved.
Enter cloud computing.
The fact that on-demand cloud resources can be summoned to help with the process of innovation, makes cloud an innovation incubator. As the cloud operates on a pay-per-use basis, the costs can be controlled to suit the requirements of the business. What's more, with the cloud there is no reason to invest in the associated systems needed for product experimentation. What the cloud has essentially done is given businesses the added flexibility to try out different things. This is what makes businesses competitive in the long run.
IT Disaster Recovery
One of the reasons why a business's competitiveness can take's a hit right when it thought it was way ahead of its niche competitors, is because of an IT disaster. If you've got an IT disaster on your hands, your business continuity and its bottom line takes a huge hit. If you aren't able to replicate your IT systems and your business data, say goodbye to your chances of getting back into the race.
Enter cloud computing.
The use of cloud-based services for data storage and system maintenance means you could replicate all your system and associated data in double quick time. This quick-fire resolution of what can be called an 'IT Tragedy' is what makes cloud computing so special.
It Ups the Collaborative Spirit
Businesses located across diverse locations face plenty of collaboration challenges wherein employees aren't able to access critical data from another location in real time. If at all they put in place high performance advanced systems that improve real-time collaboration between employees, these systems are expensive and cannot be implemented by businesses who want to cut down on their overheads. But, there is no doubt that improved collaboration helps increase ROI.
Enter cloud computing.
The cloud has simplified collaboration between employees, irrespective of their location, and what's more, made collaboration a more affordable exercise. Employees sitting in one location can get business-critical, real-time updates from another location allowing them to make important decisions quickly.
Adapt Quickly to Unexpected Changes
Unexpected challenges can shake the foundations of a profitable business. This requires businesses to show an agility that allows them to respond to these challenges, and this is possible only if your business-critical applications are stored in the cloud. The onus of responding to these challenges is on the cloud vendor. Businesses have become more adaptable because of the cloud and the fact that the businesses themselves are not responsible for initiating the steps to adapt to unforeseen events, means they can focus on revenue generation activities. Cloud vendors sort out the problems at their end.
The cloud makes it possible for employees to work from home. Employees can access the cloud from anywhere, anyplace as long as they have internet access. This means organizations can exercise the work for home option for their employees; this is of immense benefit for organizations who wish to cut down on their employee overheads. As an organization, you could use this flexibility on offer to enable your employees to earn some extra training and certifications to improve their skill sets. This benefits your business in more ways than one. Your employees became better at their jobs and the fact that they are working from home or a “location of their choice” means there is every chance they will be more productive.
The business benefits of cloud computing keep on coming. As is the case with every new technology, the benefits are entirely dependent on how you are able to leverage its potential. There is really no end to the innovative ways you can use cloud computing for business benefit. The key here is to look up what other businesses in your niche are doing with this technology and learn from them. You will also need to come up with the best cloud professionals to maximize your ROI from cloud.