The use of software and systems based in the cloud is becoming an increasingly prominent aspect of modern business. It has become increasingly clear in recent years that cloud technologies have a vital part to play in how businesses operate today and how they will function in the future.
From improving your business finances by removing the need for expensive licences and software that sits on a server in your offices, to giving your finance team access to real-time reporting data that can influence how and where money is spent, there are various benefits to be gained.
And your HR team will reap the rewards too, both from an organisational perspective and a financial one, with the opportunity to improve on the way people data is reported, reduce costs on employee absences and have access to the latest legal issues.
Don’t get left behind
If your company is yet consider moving to the cloud, are you at risk of being left behind by your competitors? If you’re not sure of the practical implications and benefits of using cloud services for your business, here are four things to consider:
Seeing as they are essentially based on the internet, cloud systems for business can be accessed from anywhere. This provides valuable accessibility and flexibility, which is particularly important if your business is an large enterprise with team members based in various locations, working at different times.
Increased cost efficiency
Traditionally, your business would have met its computing needs by purchasing hardware such as on-site servers and data storage facilities. Cloud computing means there is no longer any need for you to worry about this upfront investment and ongoing spending on maintenance of on-site systems.
Subscription-based models allow your business to manage the cost of your cloud systems with regular payments, which aids cash flow.
Cloud computing capacity is not set in stone – it can be scaled up or down to reflect the needs of your company at different times. This can prove highly beneficial if your business experiences sudden increases in demand at certain times of the year, for example.
Integration with other tools
Many cloud applications can be combined and integrated with other, complementary systems. Accounting software, for instance, can be synced with your bank accounts, customer relationship management tools and various mobile apps to deliver maximum convenience, visibility and efficiency for your enterprise.
But just how significant is moving to the cloud?
In a report from security software provider McAfee, Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky, more than 2,000 IT professionals were surveyed in September 2016 and the results showed 93% of organisations now utilise cloud services in some form.
At the time the study was conducted, it was predicted that within 15 months, cloud spending would account for 80% of IT budgets.
The McAfee research highlighted various trends within cloud adoption, including a shift in architectures from largely private in 2015 to predominantly hybrid public/private infrastructure in 2016.
Separate findings from Gartner have also highlighted the growing acceptance of cloud services and the potential they hold for businesses. Focusing on public cloud, the research indicated growth of 18% for the market in 2017, boosting its value to $246.8bn (£184.7bn).
Sid Nag, research director at Gartner, said: “While some organisations are still figuring out where cloud actually fits in their overall IT strategy, an effort to cost-optimise and bring forth the path to transformation holds strong promise and results for IT outsourcing buyers.
“Gartner predicts that through 2020, cloud adoption strategies will influence more than 50% of IT outsourcing deals.”
Is the cloud now essential for businesses?
We may not have reached the point yet where cloud computing can be viewed as an absolutely indispensable resource for businesses but there is no doubt that it is growing in importance all the time.
It’s true there are many companies that are continuing to operate in a traditional manner and may not see the need to jump aboard this particular tech bandwagon.
However, it could also be argued that there are very few organisations – regardless of their size, sector or business model – that could not gain some sort of benefit from cloud technologies.
What is surely beyond any doubt is that, in competitive, forward-thinking industries where more and more businesses are enjoying the benefits offered by cloud migration, it is the late adopters that are most at risk of falling behind the times.