IT has traditionally been cautious for many reasons. It’s always been IT’s role to enable the business by providing the computing resources needed to not only run the company, but also deliver capabilities to both customers and staff that differentiate it from competitors. Control over the computing environment was a hallmark of responsible IT, and that meant keeping programs and data inside the walls of the enterprise. But, now that data needs to be accessible from anywhere and by any device, the old rules of containment don’t apply.
It isn’t that the data is less sensitive or that IT’s responsibility has changed, but the realities of delivering information have made cloud storage and external access the preferred delivery method. These four considerations are driving cloud usage for all the right reasons.
Cost Control And Reduction
The financial advantages of using cloud-based services are what usually entice enterprise IT shops to investigate using them. Cloud services hit the expense side of the budget rather than the capital side. In general, CFOs prefer this kind of payment because it is budgeted for the period in which it is used rather than amortized over several years, as is common for capital equipment.
Cloud service contracts are generally flexible with regard to the length of the agreement (many are as short as 30 days) and the amount of service can be increased or decreased on demand to suit the needs of the specific service used. The option to add or remove servers and storage space instantly and without any capital expenditure means IT can meet the needs of the company without the delays involved in the traditional purchase/install/configure method.
Business transformation has been closely linked to the use of disruptive technologies and processes. Most often, these disruptive tools include new technology that doesn’t already exist in the enterprise and require new systems and skills that take time to develop. Using cloud-based systems that have been developed and made available by companies with the right expertise means a company can jumpstart a transformation initiative by establishing a contract with a cloud service provider and enabling the service… all without installing new systems.
Better Customer Contact
Keeping up with customers’ wants has given way to anticipating their needs and delivering in advance of their request. This ability is enabled by accumulating customer data and applying analytics to that big data. Cloud-based resources enable the ability to leverage the data and deliver customer insights. These can drive proactive interaction not only with customers but also with suppliers and partners.
Enable Mobile Users
The enterprise workforce and its customers are increasingly mobile. That is, they use their mobile devices to connect, communicate, and to make buying decisions. Clouds are inherently Internet-enabled and make the perfect pathways for delivering on-demand information to globally distributed mobile users.
The move to cloud-based infrastructures is proving to be the choice of companies that are intent on growing their presence and competing on a global scale.
Scott Koegler is a technology journalist with 20 years’ experience writing about business, computing and technology topics. He publishes the supply chain journal http://ec-bp.com. He was CIO for 3 mid-sized companies for a total of 15 years and that experience has provided an important perspective for his journalistic contributions. His work with developers, marketing, business processes, and C-level executives has allowed him to focus on the intersection of business and technology.