The benefits of adopting the cloud
By Stuart Janicki • 06 Sep 2013
The traditional approach to predicting IT usage requires a fortune teller, or failing this, a very astute IT manager. This individual must know exactly how many staff will be employed in the next five years, if website usage will explode or if the company plans to relocate one day.
Much like the Higgs Boson, the answer is certainly out there, but probably requires a very large hadron collider to calculate, at the point of investment, what future IT usage will look like.
I exaggerate of course, but typically what offices are left with all over the country is a surplus of IT equipment or not enough licences. It’s difficult to strike a happy medium.
Imagine you’re an events company with an online ticketing system. The sales team are delighted because they’ve scored a major event and your marketing team knows that demand is going to soar through the roof. But the server rack you acquired to handle normal daily demand is going to crash, take the wrong payment and just infuriate all those gig goers.
This is the kind of scenario that makes the cloud worth adopting. You may not be a ticket supplier or own a website, but you will have scenarios where a lack of agility hinders work or an ability to grow.
By cloud agility, I mean the ability for a business to react quickly to changing business conditions.
That event company could use cloud servers to run their ticketing system, away from their building and held in secure datacentres. When demand spikes, extra servers spin into action. This on-demand computing requires no fortune telling, and usage increase is handled without buying, installing and managing extra hardware.
With the cloud, resources are available in minutes. Not weeks or months.
With no capital expenditure, you pay for what you use, not what you’re not using. 71% of IT managers believe the cloud offers cost reductions1, but it is important to understand that in a pound-for-pound IT championship, the cloud is not extraordinarily cheaper, so don’t get suckered into that myth.
The cloud actually offers a more cost effective use of investment. Money is spent on the right resources, more efficiently and more accurately. Even down to the IT department actually being able to manage resources, rather than fixing or getting them to work in the first place.
Costs are directly matched to revenues and you can scale up or down very quickly. This means you have a cost advantage over the competition as you react accordingly to changing business conditions.
One of the major changes we’re seeing in business is the consumerisation of business technology. Individuals now expect to be able to benefit from this easy and accessible technology approach at work.
Now, in a traditional IT environment, getting user devices to work in the office and at home is likened to the pursuit of Grand Unified Theory, it’s just not going to be easy.
With the cloud, users can work seamlessly from office to office and device to device. Because it’s in the cloud, it is by definition, available anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t matter what device you’re on, it’s manageable or accessible somehow.
This leads into the cloud aiding collaboration. The cloud is able to store vast amounts of data with its elastic nature. Data has multiple versions and is kept more secure than onsite, where a lack of encryption and small media devices such as USBs are a target for thieves.
Users can access files and projects from anywhere, working on the same document as people in an office thousands of miles away. This is all achieved without complicated VPNs when all you want to do is share a single file. 60% of SME owners believe it aids collaboration and is critical to growth.2
Ultimately, the cloud will bring major benefits to businesses. They’ll be able to compete on a level previously unavailable. A more productive and agile business is one with foundations for business competitiveness. Organisations can become unshackled from the burdens associated with ‘traditional’ IT and are able to focus on core business and growth.
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