I wandered lonely as a cloud
Roll the clock back about 15 years, and the only cloud we had heard of was the type Wordsworth was referring to. Now we have public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud. You could be forgiven for feeling the whole cloud picture is getting a bit foggy!
According to a study, this year by IT services provider OGL Computer, moving securely to the cloud is a key concern for UK SMEs. 57% of their respondents planned to drive business efficiencies and profitability through the increasing adoption of cloud computing.
The benefits of the cloud
Using the cloud offers a myriad of benefits to organisations, as masses of data can travel quickly in both directions, across different computer systems. Offering benefits such as virtualisation, scaling to handle bigger workloads and automatic security patching across unlimited numbers of computers, it’s a highly flexible and effective way of harnessing computing power.
And it’s becoming essential for supporting flexible work structures such as remote working. Rapid data collection and analysis, with real-time updating, allows remote teams to collaborate and work on projects together as if in the same room. We’ve simply outgrown the traditional methods of computing, as our digital age demands ways of handling and using big data in meaningful ways.
And the challenges?
Security remains the number one concern for IT professionals. Anyone who has suffered a cyber-attack will know how devastating it can be for the company concerned. Cost is another issue. Whilst in the long-term, adopting a cloud approach is likely to save money, the on-demand and scalable nature of a cloud service can make it hard to predict costs in advance.
Other challenges highlighted include a lack of expertise, with cloud specialists coming alongside a high salary price tag. And with multi-cloud growing, all of these issues are magnified. Larger enterprise organisations are very likely to have a multi-cloud strategy with an average of five each. Not so lonely, after all!
How will cloud computing affect business?
It’s likely that a move to cloud computing will change how services and products are designed. There will be closer collaboration between IT functions and other business units, such as sales and finance.
IT will become more embedded into every aspect of the organisation, rather than simply being a cost centre that maintains hardware and updates software. They will be called upon to advise on user interactions and data collection. Changes and upgrades will become part of a continuous process, and we’ll see organisational functions start to blur as processes become increasingly iterative.
We also believe that we are likely to see more customer interaction, maybe to the extent that organisations jointly advance products with their users.
Cloud technology makes it easier and faster to develop, test, model and bring products and services to market.
One example we came across was that of a company creating a tablet-based system for carrying out complicated real-time calculations. The developers estimated that it might normally take 6 – 12 months to create. Using the cloud, it took ten weeks, thanks to accelerated testing and direct interaction with the customer about their needs during the design and construction process.
We think the future is bright for the cloud. It is estimated that three-quarters of data operations will be carried out via the cloud within a few years. It supports businesses to focus on achieving their objectives, with performance at the heart. Done properly, cloud computing can deliver flexibility, agility, security, mobility, and scalability that combines with legacy processes. The result is increased business performance.
Are you using or planning to use the cloud, and if so, what have your experiences been?