(this article was originally written for and published by Westpac Bank, Australia)
How to decide if cloud computing is right for your business.
The cloud is big and rapidly getting bigger. The survey by the international cloud management company, RightScale on recent trends, reveals some very interesting figures:
– 94% of respondents are using the cloud at some level
– 18% of Enterprises are, as the survey describes, Cloud Focused, 31% are Cloud Explorers, 35% are Cloud Beginners and just 16% are on the sidelines
– 90% of Cloud Focused enterprise organizations saw a tangible improvement in their performance through cloud adoption
Australia has been an early adopter in using remote servers to host IT systems. Back in 2011, we led the Asia Pacific region in embracing cloud computing. And the reasons why cloud is growing so fast is because of the benefits it offers business.
5 business advantages of cloud computing:
1. Universal access – when you switch to a cloud infrastructure, you and your employees can access it via the internet using any device.
2. Spreading the costs – when you move your data to the cloud, you are paying a single upfront fee plus an ongoing monthly fee. Your IT budget changes from a capital cost to an operational cost which, overtime, may save you money.
3. Up-to-date software – the cloud will provide you with the newest software releases as well as a range of different options so you can find the best software for your business.
4. Disaster and recovery – if all your computer files were damaged or destroyed, how well would your business run without them? Such losses are much less likely in a dedicated high security data centre.
5. It’s greener – when different organizations are sharing the same physical resources, i.e. cloud storage, the average energy usage is much lower.
Australian cloud expert and evangelist Steve Twist – cloud lead for IBM Software Group, gives companies advice on how cloud can transform their business. His simple answer to whether business should go the cloud is, “Yes”.
“A cloud strategy is imperative to staying competitive. Without cloud, your products and services will not have the reach that your competitors do, and that will affect your business’ market share and revenue,” he says.
“Cloud is an enabler for business-to-business and business-to-consumer interactions. This means that the business is able to be wider-reaching without the constraints of peer-to-peer networks that we’ve seen in the past. It provides them with the ability to outsource non-core business functions such as supply chain management, enterprise marketing management, infrastructure management and so on to cloud providers that specialize in these areas. This allows their company to focus on their core business and be more nimble for their products and services through their new cloud partner environment.”
So, are there reasons not to use the cloud? If internet connectivity is an issue for your business; if you’re worried about security and control of data (despite the fact banks are using cloud); or, if the monthly operational expenditure is an issue, maybe it’s not for you.
But if you are considering using cloud data storage, be sure to do your due diligence. Engage a trusted operation with an impeccable track record. Compare monthly costs and ask about ease of access to customer service. Finally, have a cloud strategy for your business.
Cloud – the next evolution
Despite the impressive figures cited in the RightScale survey, perhaps you’re still worried that cloud computing is a passing fad? There is still debate about this among tech experts online. However, the signs indicate the evolution is here to stay. Some predicted trends for the cloud include:*
– By 2016 over a quarter of all applications will be available on the cloud.
– The ‘software as a service’ market (companies leasing, rather than selling software) will grow by 20% a year.
– 50 percent of enterprises will have hybrid clouds by 2017 (where you hold on to your most sensitive data in-house but still leverage the cost and scalability benefits of a public cloud).