Regardless of how “nebulous” the definition and understanding of cloud computing remains, its march to becoming an ubiquitous part of everyday life is relentless. In fact, chances are you are already using the cloud even if you may not be aware of it. And there is no slowing down of this trend. Cloud based services are expected to grow by leaps and bounds in times to come. Consider the following statistics…
- Forrester predicts that the total public cloud market will touch $178 billion this year and will continue to grow at a 22% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).
- 50% global enterprises will rely on at least one cloud platform to provide a better customer experience.
- Morgan Stanley believes that cloud computing is at an inflection point where it will experience accelerated growth through 2020, at which point it will account for 50% of the market.
- 81% enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy already.
In other words, there is no stopping the cloud juggernaut and in times to come, we will see it dominate every sphere of both commercial and day to day activities. If you are still not sure of what the cloud is and how it works, read on…
What is Cloud Computing?
It is important to understand that the cloud is not a new technology in itself. Rather, it’s a new delivery model for existing technologies. In its simplest, cloud refers to storing data on the internet rather than on your own hard drive. Your files may be located anywhere over a network of different computers which is what is called a cloud.
One great example of how cloud computing success is Google Docs. Instead of purchasing, installing and updating say, MS Office or Apple Pages on your computer, you can simply sign up with Google and start using Docs anywhere and anytime you want. You actually do not have the software on your computer, rather you are simply accessing it through the internet on Google’s servers. No need to worry about updating it or missing out on them if you forget your computer at home. It’s all there in the cloud.
Soon enough, many people thought it would be convenient to offer any manner of software and services. Similarly, cloud can not only lessen the cost, but also make it easier for users to interact with said services.
Consequently, we are beginning to see multiple apps move to a cloud based delivery model. SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SECaaS (Security as a Service) are all different versions of the same method of working where different services are offered through the internet.
The technology is already revolutionizing different industries, some more directly than others. Let’s take a look at four industries that will benefit greatly by moving their operations to the cloud…
One of the most complex sectors, automobile manufacturers can stand to reap rich dividends by moving to the cloud. Industry 4.0 has revolutionized the car manufacturing systems from design and functions to the servicing of physical components. It also empowers easy management of different business processes, thereupon, reducing the overall cost of manufacturing.
Indeed, many companies are using the cloud to transform their entire supply chain. Even though automotive firms have some of the most advanced manufacturing processes ever conceived, there are still issues that can be potentially solved with the aid of cloud computing.
For instance, by using cloud services, manufacturers can achieve a more flexible manufacturing process as they only pay per use. Furthermore, server virtualization means their energy footprint is lowered and operating costs are reduced across the board.
The cloud can also help auto companies run crash test and other simulations and analysis without needing to bother with upkeep. As their IT systems will be taken care of by a dedicated staff, chances of hacks, downtimes and other security risks reduce dramatically, too. While the automotive industry has already embraced the cloud, suffice to say they are only scratching the surface of what’s possible in the future.
The healthcare industry being one of the most progressive, demanding and regulated is always on the lookout for technologies that can help it provide a better care to patients, not to mention increase in efficiency..
The US healthcare industry is adopting the cloud solution as a means to cut operational costs of running a practice and has increased its focus on quality of care. As value-based system takes effect, good quality care at controlled costs is one of the top priorities of governments and service providers alike.
As over 50% americans cannot afford a doctor, healthcare companies needs to find more innovative means of bringing down their operating costs. One of the primary advantages of cloud computing is lower storage costs, the technology couldn’t have come sooner!
Not having all the data in one place dramatically lowers risk of disasters and improves access for everyone, too. Cloud technologies allow healthcare establishments to analyze patient data with better efficiency that can in-turn help them provide more accurate assessment and personalized treatment.
Finally, remote patient care can become a reality as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more widespread. Wearable technologies coupled with powerful applications can help doctors make accurate diagnosis and even provide consultation over vast distances.
Just like automotive and healthcare, the retail industry too is heavily investing in cloud technology. The statistics show that retail’s investment in 2017 alone was $15 billion. How is it helping the retail industry?
The retail industry is already making more informed decisions by using cloud services. For instance, Lisara, a Berlin-based fashion house adopted cloud-computing to make number-based choices about how many clothes to produce and sell. Data from various sources like Google, social media and other e-shopping portals proved to be helpful in this regard.
The most important benefit of running the inventory management software on the cloud is that we can readily access it from anywhere. The cloud can help retailers both access and manipulate data securely regardless of location, employees of a business spread on multiple locations can collaborate with each other. The system allows an employee at one place to enter data for another employee working on some other remote business site.
As talent continues to become an ever-increasing competitive advantage, more firms are looking for technologies that can help them find and sift through the right candidates. The cloud movement provides HR departments with never before seen capabilities to gain insights into talent pools across the board.
Cloud technology allows department heads to strengthen the bond between employees and business associates. Employees working location doesn’t matter because in a cloud-based system they can access their personal benefits data from anywhere in the world. It helps communicate better and develops a sense of community within the organization.
According to a report, more than 50% of the Fortune 1000 companies have a data breach every year, and they consequently lose almost 100,000 business files with sensitive data. From easy access to documents to less paperwork and no more uncalled for breaches, the cloud has it all.
With Cloud, one can efficiently manage all the policies of an organization. Every organization needs more rules as it grows and making them available at all times is crucial. The user-friendly nature of cloud-based systems allows everyone to read the latest compliance details and apply them to daily tasks more effortlessly.
Similarly, moving the Payroll and Time Management System (TMS) of any organization to a cloud platform can have a massive impact on the operations of a business as companies can stay on top of payment and attendance issues at all times.
We are only at the first stage of cloud computing and we have to wait to see how it pans out in the future. However, by all accounts, it is here to stay and companies that learn to leverage its many features will leapfrog ahead of their competitors and become market leaders. As modern business continues to become ever more competitive, companies that value their market share will want to find every method possible to slash costs. The various forms of cloud computing can help them do just that.