Businesses have been hearing about the benefits that cloud applications extol for many years now. Is it all true?
Despite the obvious potential benefits, the Cloud Security Alliance took note of numerous barriers holding back cloud adoption. Security of data is at the top of the list with 73% of companies holding back their cloud projects. Followed by regulatory compliance (38%) issues, IT services control concerns (38%), and potential knowledge and experience of both IT and business managers at (34%). This has prompted organizations to put forth strategies to address their security and compliance concerns including creating corporate policies to identify challenges with data in the cloud. The new policy guidelines should include investments in closing the cloud skills gap to more fully take advantage of the benefits of cloud services.
Even with the barriers mentioned above, businesses are turning to cloud services in record numbers. Business motivations may vary, but this is not stopping the movement toward the potential efficiencies potentially gained by cloud. According to IDC, almost half of IT spending will be cloud-based in 2018, “reaching 60% of all IT infrastructure and 60-70% of all software, services and technology spending by 2020.”
We are at a crossroads, CIOs need to see cloud computing as a critical element of their competitiveness, not just as a cost that needs to be carefully managed. Being more than halfway through 2018 we need to know that in 2019, CIOs will have to balance the capabilities of the newest cloud technologies while keeping security high on the radar.
The top factors that continue to drive cloud adoption have been noted by numerous market research companies such as Vanson Bourne and Goldman Sachs, according to their latest studies; there are more than 8 drivers of cloud adoption along with improvements that have dramatic effects on productivity, cost and competitive performance.
1. Cloud saves money!
First and foremost, cloud saves you money! Whether you’re using IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service), the cloud reduces custom app development costs.
For IaaS, savings come from the virtualization of infrastructure; there is less equipment to maintain on-site plus the benefit of remote monitoring and management. Scalability for growth is not seamless, however it is more streamlined and less costly than owning your own equipment, and it can be included in your growth strategy for additional storage and server capability.
PaaS has additional money-saving benefits. There is no need to maintain anti-virus software, patches or hardware updates, and scalability is seamless. PaaS also provides ubiquitous access from any modern browser and is more flexible for add-on productivity-improving capabilities such as Google App Engine’s Task Queue.
2. Software is easy to keep fresh!
The latest SaaS options allow for the latest versions of a business’s applications to be made available to all users as soon as they’re released. Immediate upgrades put new features and functionality into user’s hands to make them more productive. The added benefit is that with the methodologies like Agile, software enhancements are typically released quite frequently. With out-of-the box types software applications, you might have to wait for major new releases; only once a year or more for the latest feature enhancements.
3. Workflows improve with cloud
Digitally-driven workflows will improve according to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index with a cloud IP traffic growth of 27% over 5 years between 2013-2018. The adoption of cloud will enable the adoption of digital driven workflows to flourish.
Automation of your workflows leverages the technology adds the benefits of not only reducing the cost of time spent on checking other systems but provides more accountability.
Centralization of your information empowers your staff to get the information they need without time-intensive searches or having to contact others to get the information they need. Collaboration is a natural part of the increase efficiency of workflows.
4. Optimize your mobile strategy with cloud development
A mobile presence is not an option any longer with most businesses. Mobility is and should be your first thought when planning and developing applications for your enterprise. The large divide between desktop and mobile apps is disappearing. Users demand applications that work on any device. The cloud is the best choice for development and maintenance of business enterprise apps because it best supports mobile user needs and the infrastructure beneath.
Using the Agile development process helps to ensure applications are created and maintained at a quicker speed with the latest iterative methodology. The pace at which mobile markets are moving, presents challenges with operations teams and is unlikely to slow. Cloud development methodologies will help smooth the way for development and maintenance.
Data and applications are available to users no matter where they are in the world. Users can do their work anywhere via smart phones and tablets and laptops, healthcare options include visiting patients via mobile devices in their homes or offices.
5. Reducing is not a bad thing!
Cloud platforms can dramatically reduce many things; development time, data centers, servers and staff. These types of reductions can go a long way to reduce the software and maintenance cost and can significantly reduce IT costs without impacting an organization’s IT capabilities.
“Cloud-based development platforms in PaaS and IaaS public clouds — such as Google, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com… show cost savings and better efficiencies. Most developers are surprised when they review the metrics,” according to an InfoWorld article by David Linthicum commenting on the Evans Data report.
6. Cloud is a reliable and secure option
The unique aspects of cloud infrastructure help to reduce risks for businesses and organizations. With the multiple redundancies and multiple locations and multiple copies, cloud is actually the best place for your data to be. Compared with traditional storage models, this reduces the risk of lost data.
“[Servers] are physically removed from where the data is stored, and you don’t have the personal relationships with the person who does have access to the data,” Matt Davies, senior director of EMEA marketing at Splunk told Information Age in 2015. “The argument could be made that the lack of physical access and relationships with people could make data in the cloud more secure.”
Cloud providers are known across the board to be extremely reliable in providing their services, with many maintaining 99.99% uptime. As long as users have an internet connection, they provide an always on access point, users can get to the applications they need from practically anywhere. There is the added benefit of some applications even working off-line.
7. Cloud allows for the best kinds of flexibility
Are you looking for flexibility? Cloud is the best kind of flexible facility that can be turned up, down or off depending upon circumstances. You can plan for expanded capabilities without the increase cost until it is ready to happen. For retail it will help reduce costs by only scaling up when you need the bandwidth.
8. Business must expand or die?
If you are thinking about how you will allow growth by merger without compromising your core business? Cloud architecture can accommodate changes faster so that two companies can become one much faster and more efficiently. Traditional applications might require years of migrating applications and or spending time and energy on the how we will combine rather than how we will succeed as one company.
What we really need to remember is:
Whether we want it or not, cloud is quickly becoming the core support of business processes in all industries for a number of reasons including increasing digitization of workflows, cost-control and scalability benefits, and risk reduction. The best businesses who look at the whole picture and assess their options will find that the cloud is a superior choice for custom apps work because they can take advantage of the cloud’s benefits immediately — and not be left behind.