Cloud Computing

Time and time again when speaking to people about how cloud computing can benefit their businesses I get a hostile reaction. This is the same reaction that I would get 1 or 2 years back when I mentioned utilising Social Networking. Now Social Networking is standard practice yet cloud computing is still having to fight for its place in business but its becoming mainstream.

Don’t get me wrong, cloud computing isn’t suitable for every situation. I am not suggesting we move your entire business over to the cloud, however business owners and senior executives need to understand cloud computing and adopt it where it makes financial sense.

Louis Columbus has written an interesting article on about how Cloud is revolutionising manufacturing.  I can’t say I know a lot about manufacturing but I can imagine some of the issues they have to suffer.

  • just in time stock ordering
  • customer support
  • process changes
  • large distributed teams
  • distributed manufacturing.

A few years ago the solutions to these issues were only available to big business,  now with cloud computing they are available to  much wider audience. The  correct systems selection and integration is the key and with all new technology you should get advice (try a Cloud Service Broker).  Whilst integration sounds daunting and expensive, it may be a simple point and click exercise   All of this in a model which is easy to cash flow.

So why is it still difficult to mention cloud computing.

Terminology plays a big part, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS all Cloud Computing all easy to misunderstand.  But in reality ignore the terminology and review the possible Return on Investment in your business.

Cost, if you have invested in technology in the last few years you still need to get value out of that investment, the easiest client to take to the cloud is one without existing infrastructure. Thats why new businesses adopt it, they have no previous cost to write off and the cost model is an easy one to cash flow.

Infancy is also a hindrance  Although cloud computing has been around for years (email is a cloud service in part as are websites etc) its still new to some people and they want other businesses to take the perceived risk first.  Salesforce a cloud computing business supplying CRM services have been in business since 1999 and in 2010 did $1,306m in turnover, a substantial business, where is the infancy in that!

Security, all cloud service suppliers have security as their number one priority, I would not hesitate in trusting Salesforce with data because they employ an army of security staff who are more diligent about backups, break-ins (physical and via the internet) than I could ever be.

For a more in-depth review of Cloud Computing why not look at my 5 part series What is the Cloud

So next time you are reviewing systems and processes looking for cost savings and improvements look to the cloud.