Much hubbub has been made about the emergence of Cloud Computing in the last several years, but to most business users, a case for adaptation of these new technologies has not yet been made. Surely we all know what Cloud Computing is. The real question that must be asked is, ‘how can Cloud Computing help my business?’
Many businesses already have systems in place for just about every major function. Email systems, web sites, file and document sharing systems, telephone systems, and others. Virtually every piece of in-house equipment today can be replaced by a Cloud-Based solution. Integral to all these systems that are run in-house is an in-house IT team or guru, in-house server equipment, and in-house infrastructure to support these servers.
All in-house systems come at a cost. Personnel costs for systems, equipment depreciation, equipment service and replacement costs, lost productivity in end-user training to utilize your specialized systems, infrastructure costs such as electricity, air conditioning, internet access – to keep all the systems up and running, and other ancillary costs. In sum, owning your own equipment is a tremendous expense.
At the same time, Cloud Computing has matured, and a company exists that can offer a hosted ‘Cloud-based’ solution for almost every piece of equipment that is owned in-house. Cloud providers, for example that focus on small business email hosting power their servers Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 software. Other providers offer “cloud-based” phone systems – business telecommunications can now be outsourced wholesale to other providers, and the exorbitant costs to house the in-house telecommunications equipment can be done away with.
Another significant advantage that companies are offered with Cloud-based systems is that they will know, by and large, what their monthly costs and outlays will be into the future. Existing in-house systems are unwieldy by design, and an unexpected systems failure can result In shooting over budget. With Cloud-Based systems, the only number you need to know is your service provider fee.
Furthermore, when going with a specialized Cloud-based application, you are further ensured that you are working with experts in the system that you are using. In larger organizations with fully in-house systems, people float around between different systems, often times never turning into an expert on the system, and not utilizing it to its full potential. When working with Cloud providers, the provider you are working with is an expert – it is their business to be an expert in the product they offer, and the expertise that works on the systems ensures that best practices will be adhered to.
Companies operating in the Cloud space are also aware that their business depends on perception, and service offered. Service outages are unacceptable, problems and issues need to be rectified immediately. Perception is key.
In sum, cloud computing offers a number of significant advances in functionality, and allows companies to streamline and better predict their costs. Deployment of systems is instantaneous, service is top tier, and you are working with experts who live and breathe the product that your company is leveraging.
John De Michael