So what is cloud computing?
Scott McNealy – Former CEO of Sun Microsystems – has this to say about cloud computing:
“We believe we’re moving out of the Ice Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age, the Information Age, to the participation age. You get on the Net and you do stuff. You IM (instant message), you blog, you take pictures, you publish, you podcast, you transact, you distance learn, and you telemedicine. You are participating on the Internet, not just viewing stuff.”
Cloud computing is what you get a network of remote servers connect together and allows users to use and interact with applications hosted on those servers. Or maybe store files or documents on those servers. Perhaps you’d use those servers to store, retrieve, and manage data.
For uninitiated, cloud computing is everything you’d do with a computer (or a network of computers). Except that it’s all on the web.
Use your browser, connect to the Internet, and login to use a web application, store files, host data, and more.
At the time of writing this, cloud computing is already ubiquitous. For finance, marketing, accounting, customer management, data management, human resources, storage, document management, and pretty much everything we know – and those that we are used to – are already on the cloud.
Each day gives birth to a new solution, tool, web-based app, a SaaS application, or another service that uses the cloud to simplify our workflows, tasks, and business processes.
As if that’s not enough, you also have Infrastructure-as-a-service – an entire backbone of servers, services, and hardware that work in conjunction so that you can tap into already existing infrastructure instead of rebuilding everything from scratch.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a good example of how absolutely anyone with a laptop and an Internet connection can point, click, and boot up a server from absolutely anywhere.
Over the years, we’ve all been using cloud computing technology, one way or the other. Fire up Google, do your search, create documents on Google Documents, use Dropbox, or even use Evernote – you are already using Cloud Computing on a personal level.
Companies, similarly, use NetSuite as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool for recording all interactions with customers (including customer details, insights on customers, records of conversations, and more).
Cloud computing technology is a blessing that the world discovered at the intersection of business and technology. Thanks to cloud computing, individuals and businesses now have access to world-class technology at a fraction of the price it takes to create, setup, implement, and manage the same technology.
Imagine having to build an entire data center just to host a website or conceptualizing a CRM build, and then hiring a team of developers just to build a CRM system that can help your business record customer interactions, leads, sales, orders, and more.
Cloud computing has come so far as to make some of the best technology (hitherto only available to big name brands with billions of dollars to spend) available to absolutely everyone.
- Point, click, and you’d have a server all for yourself in Los Angeles, even if you are located in Serbia.
- Setup an enterprise-ready website in a single day, even without the help of developers.
- Signup and start recording every interaction with every lead, customer, repeat customer, orders, inventory, and track sales and your performance easily.
- Smoothen and optimizing your hiring processes by storing data about every candidate who ever applied to work with your company – including resume, video interview recordings, interview details, and more.
- Send out marketing emails like Amazon does, without all the overheads that Amazon has to pay for. Let’s say someone visits your contact page, an email immediately goes out to get in touch with your visitors.
With Software-as-a-service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) available as options within cloud computing, it’s perhaps the best time to be in business.
There’s also the insurgence of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud), there’s the use of BYOD (Bring your Own Device), and a complete suite of products, services, applications, and tools available to take your business to the next level.
Now, depending on your industry, business processes, and how you use cloud computing, the benefits manifest into unique bundles of awesomeness when you get to the cloud.
Some of the benefits include:
- Lower capital expenditure
- Instant data storage and management
- Automated Software updates
- Managed services – only use applications and tools and leave server management, software management, etc., to vendors.
- Pay as you go, only for what you need.
- Anywhere access, anytime – on mobile, tablets, the web, or within the walls of offices.
- Granular access control and user management. You can grant and revoke users’ access applications, files, documents, and tools.
- High Security
- Environment friendly
- Gain competitive edge.
These are only a few benefits to using the cloud.
Adam Fridman of Inc.com writes that if you had to condense and put it in three points flat, cloud computing helps businesses become more flexible, increase productivity (company-wide), and save on costs.
Regardless of your company’s size, moving to the cloud simplifies your business processes, boosts productivity, helps you manage your business better, allows you to respond to your customers’ demands faster, and lets business owners not to get bogged down by administrative minutia.
Cloud computing is the modern-day equivalent of the fire and the wheel. It already changed the way your customers behave, the way they shop, and how they spend time or how they make decisions.
Simultaneously, cloud computing changes everything you know about your business, how you run it, how competitive you can be, and how you serve your customers, manage sales, and how you compete.
The world has already gone to the cloud. If you haven’t, when are you getting on? How much of an impact did cloud computing have for your business? Tell us all about it in the comments below.