In the last few years, Cloud and cloud computing have been on the lips of business leaders and policymakers. Cloud has transformed how businesses store their troves of data that keeps growing every minute.
Policymakers concerned by the security of citizens’ private data have moved with speed to introduce a raft of regulations to govern the Cloud. For computer scientists, IT gurus, and CIOs, the Cloud has been an exciting innovation that keeps on giving.
How has Cloud Adoption Been Like?
Most businesses initially wary of first-mover disadvantages of Cloud, such as data security and costs, have now radically shifted position. The International Data Group reports that a whopping 69% of businesses have adopted Cloud with 18% having the technology somewhere in the pipeline.
A report by Dell Inc. indicates that investing in Cloud will see companies grow their business revenues by up to 53% more than their closest rivals. With additional benefits such as ease of compliance with regulations and the positive growth outlook, it is expected that more businesses will join the cloud bandwagon going forward.
What Advantages Accrue to a Business on Cloud?
Cloud computing most significant contribution is how businesses, small and large, store their data. With the amount of data that a business produces, it has become practically impossible to have an in-house data storage mechanism.
Cloud has presented companies with a new data storage ecosystem and a host of other advantages such as batch processing, competitiveness, and data security. Two additional benefits that businesses have reaped from cloud storage are expounded.
The essence of a business is always to keep costs as low as feasibly possible. Cloud has helped businesses depart from on-premise storage and, in doing that, achieve lower costs. With the cloud pay-as-you-go option, businesses only pay for the services they use hence reducing the cost of operations.
To survive in an environment presented by established enterprises and ambitious new entrants, agility is a must-have quality. Cloud has enhanced businesses attain agility in several ways. First, Cloud has enabled businesses to access useful data with a few clicks whenever and from wherever. Secondly, Cloud has eliminated the need for numerous IT infrastructure on the business premise.
This has allowed IT staff to concentrate on the core activities of the business. The greater benefits of cloud-powered agility have been the ability to make critical business decisions using easy-to-find real-time data. The closure of a commercial deal or the acquisition of a business component could mean all the difference between survival and death.
How has Cloud Business Applications Transformed Business and Industries?
The impact of Cloud has been nothing short of monumental in small, medium, and large corporations. Some of the industries to feel the cloud effect include the consumer services sector, finance, and healthcare industry.
On consumer services, cloud technology has enabled businesses to scale up exponentially. For instance, restaurants can now manage staff and customer data remotely besides efficiently managing a chain of businesses.
Other consumer services to benefit from cloud technology include the provision of education, enabling learners and teachers to accomplish their respective goals effectively.
The financial services sector has been at the forefront of reaping cloud dividends. Banks hold troves of highly sensitive data for its customers. With cloud technology, banks have launched new products without heavily investing in IT infrastructure.
Cloud technology has also enabled investment banking to improve efficiency through cutting edge analytics and portfolio management.
Access to quality healthcare for every global citizen remains a top priority for policymakers. Cloud technology will be critical in attaining the global health agenda, such as the sustainable development goals.
Cloud allows the storage of health facilities data, patient information, and aids in data collection, especially during global health challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
What has Cloud Left Behind and What does the Future Hold for Cloud Business Applications?
It is now a foregone conclusion that Cloud has been the ubiquitous piece of the big technology puzzle the world has been hanging onto. That notwithstanding, some cloud business applications have not taken off as anticipated. These lagging applications have fallen short in the race to reap the benefits brought about by cloud solutions.
Wil Buchanan, the President of the Technology firm Philantech3 Consulting Group, reckons that even though many applications have made it big with Cloud, some are still playing catch up.
In particular, the Philantech President decries the slow uptake of cloud solutions in the real estate closing/Title segment. The consequence of this lag is apparent.
Wil observes that “many of our clients in that space are unsatisfied with their current solution but don’t appear to have options for full cloud-integrated solutions.”
What does the future hold for such applications in a tech world hurtling at speed towards full cloud solutions? Russell Smith from Advantage Industries opines there will be little disruption.
Russell notes that small and medium businesses are incredibly dynamic in the business applications they use, and this trend is likely to continue in the foreseeable future. With the stiff competition in the cloud business application space,
Russell predicts a pattern of “enterprise-level and enterprise priced tools facing challenges from startups that are doing 80% of the same functionality for 20% of the cost.”
The cloud service provision space is currently dominated by the Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. In his projection on the future of cloud and business applications, Ravi Jain from Technijian reflects that there is no going back to virtualization, which gave way to the cloud platforms.
Ravi hopes for a seamless working relationship between the Big Three platforms, which will portend a big win for businesses. He also projects that cloud solutions will be forced to be adaptable to businesses, unlike the current scenario where enterprises have to mold to the cloud solution they chose.
Ravi states, “in the future, the cloud will adapt to the way the business wants to use it.”
Tech leaders predict a more robust role of Cloud in business with some predictions boldly exclaiming that every business will be cloud-based a decade from today. Businesses will simply acquire a monitor, mouse, and keyboard with all applications operated by a cloud service provider. In terms of business application, the trend of a cloud service solving a specific problem is likely to continue. Large solve-it-all business applications are likely to lose traction.