Over the last decade, the cloud software world has been steadily increasing market share, even at times when the overall economic landscape has been contracting. While the cloud software world has been expanding to cover an increasingly large domain, there is no shortage of options organizations have when attempting to utilize this domain. A closer examination of this market reveals some key business advantages that older, more archaic, solutions fail to offer. Key, broad areas of improvement include Security, Scalability, Accessibility, Flexibility, Specialization, and Data Reporting.
A major concern many organizations have, is the security of their data as it is hosted externally. While cash-flow may be the lifeblood of a company, data is its central nervous system. Without data, a company would be blind to the myriad of decisions it needs to make. Common concerns included: Where is my data stored? Who has access to my data? What if the data is lost? How secure is my data? The leap to allowing an outside vendor to house and store data felt like a loss of control to many organizations. However, studies have shown there is no increased risk in moving towards the cloud. In fact, cloud solutions often have built in access levels and rights that increase security. Instead of sloppy file sharing services, email attachments, physical files, and the like, cloud solutions have many roles and group access points to allow organizations to allow and deny access to individual users as needed.
Another main advantage to the cloud is accessibility. In the 2013 world, more and more people are working remotely or on the move. The office based environment is increasingly being loosened in favor of the on-the-go work mentality. With the reduction of a centralized office space, a centralized-data repository- centralized in a physical sense- is increasingly archaic. Allowing users to access their relevant data on the move- on smart phones, tablets, remote workstations, etc- can greatly increase productivity.
Scalability is an inherent advantage of the cloud. Have you ever filled an apartment, house, or garage with items that have seemed to almost parasitically attach to you over the years? Have you or any friends of family had to move into a larger living space after having children? The physical confinements are something that everybody has encountered as a problem dozens of times in their life. Businesses are no different. However, cloud space is virtually unlimited, expansive, and flexible. More restrictive internal based IT infrastructures, and especially physical paper repositories, can be a nightmare to scale. As for the cloud? Often an email and import file is all that is needed to meet this lasting challenge.
As mentioned above, the cloud world has expanded to cover any number of business domains. A challenge is often finding the right vendors to piece together various needs without overlap, and also without gaps. As an increased number of niche-based cloud solutions are created, they come with the inherent advantage of specialization. Internally built infrastructures are often built to meet an organizations need’s, which is fine. However, a cloud based infrastructure is built to meet dozens or hundreds of organization’s needs, which is fantastic. The experience, feedback, and knowledge a niche cloud provider will, uh, provide, is an asset that can be tough for even a talented internal team to emulate.
Just as a central nervous system is useless without a brain to make sense of the inputs, data is useless without some form of reporting to make sense of it. Almost every cloud solution is equipped with dashboards, reports, graphs, etc that illuminate the real meaning of the data. Additionally, many organizations can import their data into existing reporting apparatuses. With the easy data flow the cloud’s flexibility provides, making sense of your data is an advantage of the cloud. The cloud’s ability to divide data by any number of inputs- department, language, team, access rights, etc- gives organizations increased clarity when attempting to determine trends.
With all of the time and cost savings to the cloud world, it is no wonder that the cloud world is expected to leverage to 123 Billion dollars by 2019.