Cloud Computing Isn’t Just For Cost Savings
Watching technology evolve is a beautiful, fascinating process. Take the telephone. The telephone initially was an improvement over the telegraph in the 1870s. It evolved into a household’s primary method of contact with the outside world and is now a personal device. Almost everyone you see out on the street has a personal device that they can use to call, email, text or even play video games. In just under 150 years, humanity witnessed a fundamental shift in the way humans communicate with one another through the persistent. A similar shift is taking place right now with cloud computing.
The discussion around cloud computing has moved beyond ‘if’ it is going to happen and is now a question of ‘when.’ The cloud makes IT hardware and software a commodity so only the largest companies will find value in financing and maintaining computing systems on-premise. With that same shift in the cloud dynamic, companies need to make similar changes in their cloud strategies. Cost-savings are at the forefront of any business’ adoption of the cloud. However, this is changing now as enterprises become more familiar with the technology and its operational benefits.
The operational benefits of cloud computing are gravely underreported. There are a number of business processes that immediately benefit from cloud computing’s integration.
One of the greatest challenges in the M&A process is integrating the two companies. This challenge is amplified when it comes to integrating the IT from separate companies. Disparate, non-communicative systems can make the IT integration between companies take months, if not years. Innovative use of the cloud can help avoid that mess. Data can be uploaded to a corporate SaaS system and then delivered via a cloud environment. This seamlessly integrates acquired companies into a new tech ecosystem without a troublesome and lengthy migration process.
This “Cut and Paste” functionality can be a critical competitive differentiator during the contract bidding process. Newly acquired companies operate as they always have without being forced to learn a new system. Back end data is passed transparently into the corporate system so employees never have to invest in expensive software upgrades or IT migrations. This is a huge benefit when negotiating with city and local governments as transparency is often required by municipal organizations.
Companies in heavily regulated industries know how difficult in can be in planning for the right processes and technologies within a company that ensure compliance with data privacy and security laws like SOX and HIPAA. Global companies are particularly strained as heterogeneous IT environments in multiple locations make tracking down specific data difficult if not impossible at times. Organizations that use the cloud do not experience this type of difficulty because their cloud environment acts as a centralized repository with 24 X 7 accessibility; a major auditing advantage over most companies with offices across North America.
Yearly budgets are an inexact science as the financial department meets with each corporate arm to divvy up the available resources. Most executives will make their proposal based on last year’s figure and then pad the number to accommodate projects set to take place in the coming year. Cloud computing gives IT managers an upper hand in these discussions because the pricing model for cloud vendors is consistent, includes performance guarantees and is easily scalable. In fact, I know a CIO at a major public transportation company whose CFO doesn’t even bother meeting with him for budget meetings because he knows exactly how much money the IT department needs based on the figures provided from years of working with the same cloud vendor. This knowledge sets the bar for the IT budget and can then be used to build on as the department takes on strategic projects that go beyond simply keeping the infrastructure up and running.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cloud computing’s ability to integrate operational efficiencies within almost any organization. The key is to match the strengths of the cloud with the inefficiencies of a particular business process. Once that connection is made, the rest is easy.
By Anthony Whitton, CEO, independenceIT
Anthony is the Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of the Board of Directors. His international and board level management experience combined with his working knowledge in both technology and service-based companies, makes him ideally suited for his role as CEO at independenceIT.