Though the origin of the term and concept are debatable among technology industry pundits, there is no argument about the future of “the cloud.” A major buzzword in the modern business sector, the cloud continues to baffle and disconcert many traditional business leaders with its abstract description yet dominant presence in a market that continues to be shaped by digital disruption.
The Internet of Things, Big Data, and the cloud are changing the landscape of the business sector, ushering in a new age that demands digital transformation of any company that wants to survive. The following are four things you need to know about the cloud and its role in creating a digitally transformative blueprint of success for your business’s future:
1. It can mean the difference between gaining speed and struggling to keep up.
To succeed in this new, digital frontier, companies need to move quickly. The availability of near-instant access to products and services made possible via the Internet and mobile devices has created an on-demand economy in which speed is king.
Cloud computing can enhance the speed of a business in a number of ways, but generally speaking, its ability to simplify previously complex processes makes it one of the best contributors to a business’s acceleration. Today, there are cloud-based tools for every department within a company. Many of these tools offer easily integrated platforms that streamline employee workflow, thereby freeing up valuable labor hours better spent on more critical tasks. This enhanced speed is a crucial element of digital transformation.
Companies that choose not to take advantage of cloud computing in business may get left behind. For example, major financial firms like Morgan Stanley are predicting that in less than two years, 30 percent of Microsoft’s revenue will come from the sale of its cloud products. Additionally, research firms are estimating that global spending on cloud technology will grow by almost 20 percent each year to reach $141 billion annually before 2020.
2. Cloud computing enhances the enterprise mobility of your business practices.
Especially in an SMB or startup setting, having all of the tools necessary to maintain the speed of business operations while on the go can be vital to company growth. With the adoption of the right cloud technology, employees who travel frequently for business can still access the same data, files, and tools available in-office, thus helping a company maintain its business velocity. The flexibility inherent in being able to access data at any location is central to digital transformation because it increases operational productivity, a core tenet of what makes a business competitive in the digital age.
In addition, both in-office and remote workers can benefit from cloud technology designed to improve communication and collaboration on work projects. Document-sharing programs, digital transaction management platforms like DocuSign, video-conferencing technology, and project management software are all examples of tools that make advanced employee collaboration possible in the cloud.
Even prior to the major growth in the use of cloud technology we are seeing today, a study sponsored by Cisco in 2013 revealed that 87 percent of business leaders surveyed believed that the cloud offered superior methods for collaboration and information sharing between employees.
3. Cloud technology can reduce operational costs and the workload of IT teams.
To optimally conduct business before the development of cloud technology, a company would have to invest in a high-functioning server, only a portion of which it would actually use. The inefficiency of purchasing expensive technology that a company won’t fully utilize is an unnecessary drain on finances that cloud technology can mitigate.
Cloud technology allows a business to pay for only the amount of hosting it needs, thus increasing efficiency and cutting costs. Companies also don’t have to compensate for the building space in which the hardware resides or the utility costs that running a physical server can incur.
Additionally, cloud technology simplifies the infrastructure of your IT systems, which makes them much simpler for IT employees to manage. Creating more time for your IT staff can be a major asset in the digital transformation process because it allows companies to delegate the talents of these employees to areas where they are most needed, thus making your business processes more digitally savvy and cutting labor costs.
4. Don’t rely solely on the cloud to take your company digital.
Though the cloud can serve as a valuable tool on the path toward digital transformation, business executives should be aware that adopting modern technologies alone will not convert their company into a successful digital business. Digital transformation isn’t just about the modernization of tools and software, it’s about fundamentally altering the way that a company conducts business in order to adapt to changing markets and customer needs.
Companies that want to digitally transform must put the technology they adopt to use in ways that create streamlined workflow, which ultimately creates a better customer experience. However, the tools that allow companies to capture data and react quickly to change are only helpful if they’re used correctly. This means that businesses that were not “born digital” must change the way they operate from the ground up.
Cloud technology can only help a business go digital if that business is willing to take the necessary and radical steps toward improving efficiency, updating technology, and better understanding the customer experience.