What is Cloud Computing?
The term is being heard throughout the corporate and private sector. Everyone from Amazon to SalesForce and NetSuite is championing it as the wave of the future. But just what is cloud computing? Before answering that, an accompanying question must also be considered, “What does cloud computing mean for my business?”
The Why before the What
Most IT departments spend a considerable percentage of their time and resources on the never ending cycle of implementing, maintaining, and upgrading systems. Adding to the frustration is the fact these endless cycles often add little to a company’s bottom line. As a result, organizations are turning to what seems to be the answer to that revenue draining cycle.
Enter the Cloud
IT departments are moving toward cloud computing technology to minimize time, personnel, and financial resources spent on low value activities. This frees those resources up so IT can concentrate on strategic activities that have a greater impact on their business. Cloud computing offers unique advantages to a business that makes it more competitive in today’s economic climate.
Cloud computing users can take advantage of a vendor’s computing infrastructure to conduct its business in a more cost efficient way. Instead of investing time and money for internal software and hardware, cloud computing customers only pay for the resources they use, as they use them. This means the customers using a cloud vendor for IT services do not have to continue that cycle of implementing, maintaining, and upgrading systems. When the vendor upgrades, its customers are automatically upgraded as well.
Pre-tested Web Services Integration – Because of its design, cloud computing technology is much simpler to integrate with your existing enterprise applications. Implementation can also be accomplished in a much shorter time frame.
No Hardware or Software Installation – The infrastructure is in the cloud, or housed by the vendor. This means lower capital expenditures with more efficient results.
Premium Service Delivery – Cloud computing infrastructures offer improved scalability, fool proof disaster recovery, and greatly decreased downtime.
Lower Risk and Faster Deployment – Implementation of cloud computing can be accomplished in a fraction of the time of older methods. Older systems often took months and even years with huge financial outlays before the system could ever be used. Cloud computing applications often go live in a few weeks or months at far less cost.
Freedom to Customize - Cloud computing not only allows for extensive application customization and configuration, it preserves customizations during upgrades. As a result a cloud computing system such as ERP or CRM can evolve at the same speed of your business.
User Friendly – Though this is an overworked term these days, cloud computing defines user friendly. The technology allows for on-the-fly customization that can be accomplished by point-and-click. End-users in your business can generate detailed reports and make minor changes without tying up your IT department.
Hassle Free Automatic Upgrades – In the past, every single upgrade to a system required additional IT resources that were already overworked. The result was hesitation to upgrade to the latest-and-greatest version of an application. Cloud computing doesn’t force you to choose between preserving all your hard work and upgrading.
Pre-built, Pre-integrated Apps – Not only do many cloud vendors offer apps from their products but numerous third parties offer inexpensive apps to integrate with the system you choose. NetSuite, for example, allows integration with Google Apps such as Gmail and Google Docs.