Thinking about migrating to the cloud? Here are 10 ways cloud computing can (and will) improve your business strategy
1. Lower cost-of-entry
When it comes to software, businesses have grown accustomed to the up-front costs associated with adopting a new platform: licensing, server space, training, etc. With cloud services, the licensing is spread over a monthly subscription (or annual subscription, often with a discount), the server space is hosted by the software company itself, and most training can be completed online through a knowledge base or similar resource. The majority of your upfront and overhead costs disappear and are bundled into the subscription cost.
To take the pricing thing a step further, the ongoing maintenance and management of on-premise software applications can have a lot of budget creep that you might not be aware of. With cloud services, your costs are consistent and predictable.
2. Less Commitment
From a slightly different angle, you should also consider that the lack of up-front costs will reduce your obligation or commitment to a single platform. With cloud applications, the actual commitment is only as long as your agreement with the provider – frequently just one year. After that, you’re free to move on to a new application if your current provider isn’t working for you (although, most tech professionals will warn you about the dangers of repeatedly jumping ship – a topic we’ll cover in a future post).
3. Speed to implement & scale
When it comes to new cloud software, the speed of implementation can often be immediate. With the exception of the physical setup your team will use within the software, there is no setup, no install, no hardware required before you can access the system. And as you grow, scaling the service is as simple as upgrading your monthly subscription.
4. Remote collaboration & enablement of decentralized workforces
Arguably the number one reason many companies have already begun implementing cloud services is the ability to collaborate with team members, clients, and partners regardless of physical location. Cloud applications enable us to share information in real-time, improving both internal and external communications and, ultimately, boosting productivity. With a recent uptick in remote workforces, it’s no wonder that cloud services have been continuously gaining a foothold across all industries.
5. Available-anywhere data
Beyond the ability to collaborate with anyone anywhere, cloud services enable you to access your information with mobile or web-based applications. The only limit to your data’s availability is your internet connection. There is no need for VPN or other remote-access tools because the cloud is everywhere you are. Pull up your documents, dashboards, reports, whatever from the comfort of wherever you are right now.
This is the equivalent of keeping the lights on. You want to know that your software won’t crash when you need it most. The stability and reliability offered by cloud companies is superior to that of local software. Bugs are patched, updates performed, and maintenance is ongoing – performed by people who work tirelessly to keep it running because that’s their only job.
7. More security
Security is a huge consideration when it comes to cloud services – is my data safe? How do I guarantee that it stays secure? It’s easy to be concerned due to the number of data breaches that have occurred in the past few years, but the truth is that most of these breaches originated from an internal database rather than the cloud.
Cloud platforms are often going to be far more secure for your data than any on-premise solution. Think about it: as with reliability, the cloud provider’s sole focus is providing a platform that is robust and secure. Unless you have a rockstar team of dedicated cyber-security personnel, you’re probably safer entrusting your data to the people who specialize in keeping it safe.
8. Document control
Cloud document control is a robust tool that – to a documentation advocate like myself – many businesses undervalue. The ability to securely share and collaborate on a single file within a cloud platform is convenient, sure. But the ability to easily recover previous versions of a document, or to access your documents from any location has made various cloud document management systems some of the most popular and embraced cloud services on the market.
9. Full Visibility
Data visibility is a huge benefit of working in the cloud. With many providers, your data is stored and available for reporting in whatever manner benefits your team. You can aggregate data across multiple cloud platforms using an API key or off-the-shelf integration tool (be sure to look into your providers’ capabilities in advance). This leads to actionable insights that help your business streamline, improve customer service, and hopefully save money.
10. Forever Fresh
And finally, the pièce de résistance for any cloud argument: No more major software updates. You’ll always have access to the most recent version of the platform as part of your recurring subscription cost. This means your features will never be out-of-date. Most cloud providers are continuously updating and improving their platforms for user experience and functionality, and you’ll reap all of those benefits.