Although exact figures vary somewhat, it’s estimated that around 50% of businesses now formally include at least one cloud-based application in their IT infrastructure.
Such adoption rates haven’t been seen in business IT since the early days of the commercial internet – and one of the key drivers pushing companies toward cloud-based services is the huge potential for growth they offer.
We’ll look at 8 key growth benefits that can come when you adopt cloud-based applications and services as part of your overall IT strategy:
If you’re looking at ways to grow, you’ll recognize there’s a cost implication for each strategy. While ‘cash flow’ isn’t a growth method per se, planning growth in a way that’s financially viable for your company definitely is.
Virtually all cloud-based systems can be bought on a monthly, per-user, basis – significantly reducing that often-hefty capital expenditure line in your IT budget.
If you are, or have been, a company who runs licensed installation of Windows across your computers then you’ll be painfully aware of how inconvenient updates can be to your productivity and finances.
Cloud-based systems remove this problem almost entirely. This is because you’re using the same version of the system as everyone else around the world.
Rather than huge steps forward (or arguably even backward in some cases!) that happen every couple of years, you’ve got a product that’s naturally evolving on a day-to-day basis.
Systems that update in this way are shown to be much more user-friendly – keeping your staff team focused on driving the business.
What would happen if your business suddenly needed 3 extra staff members to handle a large new contract you won? Could they be at their desks tomorrow, workstation set up and inbox open?
The chances are the answer is no – but the answer could very well be yes if you’re running predominantly cloud-based applications and services – owing to how quickly and easily they can be scaled to your need.
What’s more, this growth doesn’t have to play out for a marked amount of time to justify the expansion either – lose the contract tomorrow and you don’t have to worry about 3 fully paid installs of every system you use sitting in your office gathering very expensive dust – as virtually all services let you scale down as well as up.
Meaning growth doesn’t necessarily need the same planning that would have previously come with a large projected capex cost.
Just as you can scale your staff team much more readily if you’re working from cloud-based applications, the same is true of your business locations.
An increasingly connected potential marketplace means there’s a chance you’ll need to roll out employee connectivity in a host of weird and wonderful locations and settings – from expos and shows to pop-up retail locations and client sites.
International locations and employees become less of an issue too – if you’ve tried to arrange network installation on foreign sites you’ll understand some of the pain that can be involved with customs and local engineers – problems that can be worked around by instead using Software Defined Wider Area Network solutions.
New data protection laws across the EU have seen an increasing focus on IT security in recent months and years. Whether ‘security’ for you is digital – i.e. protecting against cyber-threats, or physical – preventing the issues that occur when hardware is physically lost or stolen, then the cloud can provide a robust answer.
Storing your data locally makes you responsible for it – and as such, the right software, hardware, policies and procedures need to be in place.
When your data is held on the cloud, software and hardware become a much less significant concern – as your devices often simply act as terminals.
There will be an increasing focus on your company’s ability to keep partner company’s and customer information safe but accessible – if you want to expand, you’re going to have to be able to showcase your security – so handing that responsibility to a cloud-based provider can reduce headaches all round.
Tied somewhat to security is the increasing need for granular access control of applications and systems. This is particularly true if you’re taking advantage of the ability to bring on board remote talent – another significant bonus of cloud-based applications.
While an increased requirement for documents, files and records to be kept safe might make it seem like open access to those who need it could be problematic, sophisticated cloud-based software often lets you set restrictions on a file-by-file basis if required.
Once again, this kind of access will come under the scrutiny of law – and companies who you work alongside will need to see clear evidence that you comply before they work with you. If you want to grow, cloud-based access and the security restrictions it offers can be a perfect balance of convenience and compliance.
It might sound difficult to believe – but remote workers using cloud-based collaboration tools are shown to work more efficiently with other remote workers versus two people sitting in the same office.
It would be fair to assume that a big factor is the shared editing function that cloud-based applications provide for the files they hold.
Gone are the days of sending the same file back and forth, mixing up revised versions with original versions – and so forth. With cloud-based services, it seems distance can be a benefit…
The benefit of having your data stored on the cloud is going to be underlined significantly if your IT systems face any kind of catastrophic failure.
Around 70% of UK businesses that deal with a large-scale IT issue will cease trading within 12 months of the problem occurring, a figure that highlights the magnitude and potential scope of IT problems.
Disaster recovery’s impact on growth might be negligible on a day-to-day basis – but should you find yourself in a position where you need to recover your systems and data, growth will be hindered – and in actual fact, your survival might depend on the efficiency of the cloud…
These are our expert view on the top best ways Cloud Computing can accelerate your business growth in the shortest time possible. We welcome your views and contribution on this topic and/or on cloud computing as a whole.
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