Cloud technology has penetrated every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional. Our music and TV shows are in the cloud. Everything on our phones from to-do lists to random notes is backed up and accessible on the cloud. It has transformed the way we work. It has changed the way businesses function, how teams communicate and collaborate. Before we list how cloud computing is changing the world, let’s see how the cloud works
How Cloud Technology Works?
Cloud isn’t new. It’s simply another term used to describe the internet. The cloud symbol is often used to represent the internet in diagrams. Cloud can be described as the sharing of resources, information, and software through a network of computers.
The hardware and software required locally decreases. The local computers just need to run the cloud computing system’s interface software. The rest of the work is taken care of by the network computers, servers and data storage systems.
Cloud Computing and Business
1. Ability to Scale
Cloud computing allows business to scale efficiently. As they grow, they can expand their infrastructure and capabilities. Firms don’t need to forecast server requirements or buy extra storage space. They just have to adjust their subscription with the cloud service provider. The service provider just allocates more space according to your requirements. This improves operational efficiencies.
Cloud also enables organizations to scale down. This promotes efficient utilization of existing resources. This opens up a plethora of opportunities for both small and large firms.
Toyota, for example, is using cloud technology to convert its cars into a connected platform. Apps that connect these cars to social media sites are hosted on Microsoft Azure. There are also apps that track reward point for using an electric vehicle. These apps enable Toyota to offer an enhanced customer experience. (Source: Business Insider)
Another example is that of Etsy, an e-commerce site for handmade products. Etsy uses cloud computing to analyze data from its monthly website views to offer personalized product recommendations. This analysis is performed at flexible costs. This enables Etsy to be agile and scale up with ease.
2. Improved Customer Support
Employees can now access information that can help them serve customers at any time of the day, from anywhere. Cloud connects employees to potential buyers via a number of devices-mobile, laptop or a desktop. Customers need high bandwidth information in the form of how-to videos. This capability is not just limited to larger firms. Smaller companies can also provide high Bandwidth by leveraging cloud technology.
Many firms now have a self-service portal. This enables faster and more effective resolution of customer concerns. Cloud Technology and Automation work in tandem to streamline the service desk. This reduces ticket response times and improves the overall customer experience. Tickets coming in from multiple channels can be managed through omnichannel support offered by the cloud. This offers greater visibility and easier ticket submission tracking.
InterContinental Hotels Group, is a giant in the hospitality space with over 600,000 hotel rooms under seven brands, including Holiday Inn and InterContinental, uses a hybrid cloud model. IHG speeds up responses to booking inquiries by distributing the room lookup systems to Web sites in data centers 3,000 miles apart, so content can come from the facility closer to the customer.
3. Flexible Work Environment
Cloud computing enables employees to work remotely. Hosted virtual desktops are used to access files from anywhere, at any time. Cloud enables organizations to provide secure remote access to all its remote employees. There is reduced risk of virus outbreaks and other security threats. Firms are no longer concerned about remote employees’ productivity as this can be monitored in real time.
Advances in cloud technology allow firms to hire talent from across the globe. Geographical barriers don’t limit a firm’s ability to acquire a talented workforce. Collaboration and communication tools are also available on the cloud. This improves flexibility and productivity of the remote workforce. An increasing number of firms are thus able to make remote teams work efficiently Buffer for example uses Zoom to run it’s All Hands Meet. Zoom enables the team, spread across 10 different time zones to connect, collaborate and get upto speed.
4. Lower Infrastructure Costs
Firms like Zapier have begun moving towards an entirely remote workforce. This saves the infrastructural costs of setting up an office space. The cost of starting a business is reduced remarkably. Firms don’t need to set up servers and computers. They just need to invest in a cloud service such as Azure or Amazon Web Services.
A study by Backspace reveals that 88 percent of cloud users reported cost savings and 56 percent of respondents said that cloud services have helped them increase their profit margins. Advanced technology is made available at an affordable cost, thus eliminating large upfront investment and maintenance costs. APIs provide seamless integration between apps. For example, accounting software can be integrated with CRMs. These integrations can also be scaled up or down based on business needs.
5. Veiled Complexity
In cloud computing, complexity is often hidden from the end user. Companies can enhance both product and service sophistication while keeping the required level of user knowledge constant. The customer doesn’t need to be concerned about upgrades or maintenance. This can all happen in the background.
Xerox offers CloudPrint solutions, which allows users to get files printed by using Xerox’s cloud to access printers outside their organization. Printing via cloud involves complex data management. This involves file storage, conversion to print ready format and distribution to printers. However, all of this is hidden from the user.
6. Increased Access to Different Customer Groups
Cloud empowers firms to increase market adaptability. They can serve diverse customer groups spread across different devices.
Active Video offers CloudTV. This service combines all video content-Web, TV, video-on-demand and social onto a video device such as set-top boxes or laptops. Content is stored in the cloud and distributed via a consistent user interface across different devices. This increases the reach of web-based user experience.
CloudTV’s functionality creates a seamless environment for pay-TV operators, online video providers, and consumers., It ensures immediate delivery to set-top boxes; streaming cloud-rendered UIs as uniform, no-compromise user experiences to every STB; and delivering online services with the unparalleled quality of service of pay-TV managed networks.
Cloud computing opens up avenues for innovation and disruption in all businesses. As businesses continue to expand and data stockpiles, the cloud will provide new ways to build fast and flexible systems. ideas will continue to emerge and change the way we communicate, shop, work and collaborate.