The most effective ways to use cloud computing to achieve business goals

It turns out having your head in the clouds isn’t such a bad thing. It could be the best thing if you own a business or manage IT operations. We hear a lot about how information is being stored, accessed, and analyzed using cloud-based technology these days. Most of the entertainment we consume and the messaging platforms we stay in touch with are powered by cloud-based technology.

That movie you watched at home last night and that email notification you just received on your phone probably both came through a cloud. We all already use cloud-based systems in our everyday lives. However, that doesn’t make cloud-based technology any less mysterious for the average person. What exactly is the cloud?

The average owner of a small or medium-sized business might be confused about what cloud computing is and why they need it. However, there is no question about the fact that every business does need it. Time, money, and manpower can all be saved when cloud-based solutions are used.

The bottom line is that we’re all going to have to upgrade to become cloud compatible eventually. The only question is how far behind you want to get before it’s time to leap. Are you ready to catch up to what’s happening in the cloud? Here’s your crash course when it comes to cloud services for business.

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What You Can Do With Cloud Computing?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to cloud computing. So many aspects of business operations can be handled using cloud-based technology. For instance, developers can create new apps and services on any platform using resources that ensure that all compliance requirements are being met. Cloud-based computing also makes it easy to test and build applications for your company.

Many companies enjoy a big reduction in both the cost and time required to develop applications once they upgrade to the cloud. It’s also possible to use the cloud to protect data during transfers. Users can seamlessly share information from any device or location knowing that everything is being safeguarded. The brilliant connectivity doesn’t end there. Users with cloud access can stream audio and video from anywhere and at any time. Groups of users can also access the same content at the same time. Imagine what that could do to boost the impact of your meetings.

It’s important to not skip over the ways a cloud-based infrastructure can make it much easier to analyze data. This is especially true if you’re struggling to get a full picture of your data across several teams, offices, or divisions.

Who Uses Cloud Services?

Several well-known organizations across the world have already migrated to the cloud environment. Some of the examples include:

Pinterest 

Uses the AWS cloud environment to manage multiple petabytes of data that are generated by its users every day.

Spotify

Uses the AWS cloud environment to store its vast repository of songs.

Netflix

One of the largest video streaming services, it uses AWS to allow users to stream shows from anywhere in the world.

Expedia

Uses AWS cloud services to accommodate a highly scalable infrastructure.

Reasons Why Companies Should Use Cloud Computing

  • Maintaining Focus on the Business: Businesses are realizing that running an IT department is not their core competency, they are better lawyers, doctors, or plumbers.  Buying cloud services, either in the form of a single application like Salesforce.com or their entire datacenter is often more cost-effective, more reliable, and lets them reallocate their limited resources to growing their business.
  • Business Agility: Businesses with significant technology investments can find themselves unable to take advantage of shifts in the market or respond to competitive pressures because the capital, people, or time are not available in the measure needed to react.  Cloud services remove these barriers, allowing businesses to continually adapt their technology needs to their business without the costs that would normally have to be considered with an onsite data center.
  • Reduced Capital Expenditures: Large capital investments can be minimized or eliminated altogether in favor of small monthly payments.  Capital can be protected as keeping capital and operational expenses to a minimum can be very important to small and medium businesses alike. If a business establishes its own data center it will be too expensive. It will need to invest in equipment and employ technicians for installing and managing the data center. However, if a business shifts to cloud computing, they would be required to only pay for the services they availed. Cloud computing service providers charge for their services depending on the features, storage capacity, number of users, time, and memory space availed by the business. Therefore a business can opt for a package that can suit their budget and requirements. This will help them save a lot of costs.
  • Scale: Businesses that have peak seasons or different seasonal staffing demands can benefit from cloud services by letting them temporarily dial-up more capacity for the seasonal business peaks, without purchasing the hardware or software that would otherwise go unused during the slower times of the year. In the earlier times, to plan for future growth businesses used to purchase and keep additional servers, storage, licenses, etc. However, nobody knew how many years it would take for actual growth and for the purchased servers and licenses to come into use. If you are using cloud computing services, scaling them is very easy. In case of growth or higher requirement, you can simply get additional storage space whenever required by an additional amount. You can easily upgrade or downgrade your package or plan with the service provider hassle-free. 
  • Access from Anywhere: Being able to do Business without Borders™ is one of the major benefits of cloud services.  Access to your applications and data is available to authorized users anywhere there is Internet access. 
  • Staffing Efficiency: Cloud services can help you maintain an efficient technology staff, outsourcing key technical specializations or technology staff as it makes sense for your business. 
  • Backup and disaster recovery: If a business is following the traditional computing system it will need to take backup of its data. A tragedy can end up in permanent data loss for the business if there was no proper backup in place. However, if a business is using the cloud for storing its data, it would not be required to keep a backup of the stored data. As the data stored on the cloud would always be available as long as there is an internet connection. 

Many businesses use cloud computing services as their backup and disaster recovery plan. Data loss is a major concern for all organizations, along with data security. Storing your data in the cloud guarantees that data is always available, even if your equipment, like laptops or PCs, is damaged. Cloud-based services provide quick data recovery for all kinds of emergency scenarios — from natural disasters to power outages.

Cloud infrastructure can also help you with loss prevention. If you rely on a traditional on-premises approach, all your data will be stored locally, on office computers. Despite your best efforts, computers can malfunction for various reasons — from malware and viruses to age-related hardware deterioration, to simple user error. But, if you upload your data to the cloud, it remains accessible for any computer with an internet connection, even if something happens to your work computer.

  • Mobility: Cloud computing allows mobile access to corporate data via smartphones and devices, which is a great way to ensure that no one is ever left out of the loop. Staff with busy schedules, or who live a long way away from the corporate office, can use this feature to keep instantly up-to-date with clients and coworkers.

Resources in the cloud can be easily stored, retrieved, recovered, or processed with just a couple of clicks. Users can get access to their works on the go, 24/7, via any devices of their choice, in any corner of the world as long as they stay connected to the internet. On top of that, all the upgrades and updates are done automatically, off-sight by the service providers. This saves time and team effort in maintaining the systems, tremendously reducing the IT team workloads.

  • Better customer experience

Cloud-based solutions can also enable businesses to deliver better standards of customer service. The customer experience is of vital importance today, and consumers have come to expect businesses to be much more attentive to their needs. Businesses that succeed in doing this are much more likely to establish long-term customer relationships.

The contact centre platform routes your inbound calls to the right agent at the right time, boosting customer satisfaction and first-call resolution rates. Better still, it can also be fully integrated with customer relationship management systems.

It also allows agents to make more effective use of customer data collected in the IVR. Agents can access relevant data, enabling them to meet the needs of customers without having to make repeated requests for data to other members of the team.

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Business is great up here

You’ve probably heard it already, but the cloud is the place to be. Over the past few years, cloud-based services and solutions have exploded in popularity, revolutionizing processes and changing the way we do business. It’s almost certain that the cloud plays some role in the technology you use every day, but if you aren’t using cloud services to make the most out of your business, we’ve got reasons why it’s time to start the conversation.

Lower Cost, Higher Return

Companies of all sizes invariably weigh financial costs and benefits, and one of the principal drivers of the explosion in cloud services has been the allure of cloud storage and computing, as both are cutting-edge and cost-efficient. Shifting business resources to the cloud not only provides an opportunity to lower capital expenditure on physical hardware, software, and on-site labor; it also provides opportunities to customize and scale solutions. 

Rather than investing significant time and labor in reworking systems, cloud services can quickly adjust to fit specific needs through elastic provisioning, and that efficiency adds up to additional savings in avoiding lost time and resources. Additionally, you can greatly reduce downtime by leveraging the cloud for disaster recovery. By using cloud-based DR, your site can recover from a warm site almost immediately, as your servers are virtualized and can be spun up quickly.

A cloud-based DR plan could make the difference between being back in business in a few minutes, or waiting weeks to resume operations.

From scrappy startups to large, established businesses, well-executed cloud solutions are an excellent opportunity for useful improvements at reduced costs; a 23% average reduction in infrastructure spending is a promising statistic. It’s no surprise, then, that so many businesses are looking to make the shift.

Speedy, Agile, and Scalable

With business growth comes the inevitable need for additional computing resources. If a client deadline requires fast application implementation and deployment, cloud-based resources allow you to focus on development, rather than on infrastructure overhead. If this newly deployed application experiences a rapid influx of traffic, it may be difficult to scale on-premise resources on the fly to meet the rise in demand. Storage may quickly become scarce. This is where the scalability of the cloud can help meet unexpected needs. 

Cloud resources can be provisioned when you need them. Many large organizations use the cloud because of its agility, ability to deploy workloads rapidly and scale globally. Workloads can scale up or down to accommodate these “bursty” use cases.

The cloud also enables you to work with clients who are seeking to expand geographically, and you can build out a larger development team. Multi-regional infrastructure can present a serious challenge when considering the time, costs and maintenance required. Infrastructure as a Service removes this hurdle.

Administration, Made Easy

Monitoring a vast environment can be both challenging and time-consuming. Migrating to the cloud significantly reduces administrative tasks from your workload, such as database backups and periodic maintenance covered by some cloud computing models. 

Additionally, regular software updates will be automated and rolled out by your service provider. Cloud service providers may also offer log access, security, load balancing, and clustering. End users can determine their policies to meet the needs of their environment.

Workflow Zen

Shifting your business culture—and not just your business model—to the cloud brings opportunities for seamless workflows, efficient collaboration, and a reduction in signal noise that can become pitfalls of distraction. Cloud storage brings the collaborative process to a central location, removing the confusion of hunting down the latest document version through strings of interconnected emails. Easily viewed edit history and document versioning gives everyone the latest and most comprehensive info at their fingertips and shared portals provide an opportunity for true collaboration uninhibited by department and location.

Cloud services take a lot of the pain points out of business collaboration. By expanding reach and capability, taking remote work to new heights, and making the process of working together easier and efficient, the workflow can actually flow.

One last important tip when venturing into the world of the cloud: not all solutions are created equal. To truly make the most of the cloud, every business needs a solution that meets its needs. The wrong stack of services could end up increasing costs, without making a dent in inefficiency.

Cloud computing adoption is on the rise every year, and it doesn’t take long to see why. It’s important to partner with a cloud services provider that understands your needs. Once you do, life in the cloud will truly transform the way you do business. Enterprises recognize cloud computing benefits and see how they impact their production, collaboration, security, and revenue. By using a cloud-based solution, an enterprise can prevent a lot of problems that plague organizations that rely on on-premises infrastructure.

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