Operations-centric businesses generally aren’t technology ‘early adopters’. Manufacturers and field service businesses alike prefer to take a conservative view of new technologies, embracing them only when the advantages (and risks) of doing so are well understood. But today, cloud computing has reached that tipping point.It’s not difficult to see why. Simply put, unlike most new technologies, cloud computing offers multiple advantages—not just one or two. And in terms of its risk profile, many observers reckon that cloud computing has a higher uptime than ‘on-premise’ computing on a manufacturer’s or field service provider’s own servers and IT infrastructure.
So should your business head to the Cloud? Here’s a rundown of the main business benefits of cloud computing.
1) Cloud computing: asset-light IT
Owning your own IT infrastructure is expensive. Servers, data warehouses, server rooms—it all adds up. And one of the most-cited reasons for businesses remaining on old IT applications and old hardware is the sheer capital cost of upgrading.
No more: cloud computing is rented IT infrastructure, not owned IT infrastructure.
Meaning that scarce capital is freed-up to invest in the things that your business should really be investing in—new equipment, new products, new premises, and new markets.
2) Cloud computing: ‘pay as you go’ software
So too with software applications. Say goodbye to eye-wateringly expensive software licences, and say hello to simple monthly subscriptions, with software that is consumed ‘as a service’, rather than owned.
Consequently, as with IT infrastructure, applications are paid for out of operating expenditure, rather than capital expenditure.
What’s more, advocates of cloud computing point to the lower barriers to entry in terms of trying out new applications—because they can be easily ditched if they don’t deliver.
3) Cloud computing: Business Continuity without tears
Business Continuity can be a headache. But with cloud computing, it’s someone else’s headache.
So it’s their job to take backups. Their job to negotiate and maintain ‘instant failover’ alternate computing sites. And their job to carry out the various checks and audits required so as to provide an assurance that your backup Business Continuity provision is there for you, should it be required.
Typically, too, compared to an average mid-sized company, cloud computing offers a higher standard of Business Continuity fallback than in-house efforts usually deliver.
4) Cloud computing: goodbye, upgrades
Software upgrades can be painful—and expensive, too, if re-licensing is required.
But because you’re consuming software ‘as a service’, cloud computing delivers truly pain-free upgrades. Basically, as with Business Continuity, the headache of software becomes someone else’s problem: as the user, your role is simply to consume the service.
In practice, this offers another important advantage, as well. Not only do software upgrades become less painful, but they also become more frequent.
In short, because there’s no additional effort required, and no additional cost—it’s all part of the subscription package—there’s no decision to make. Upgrades simply arrive.
5) Cloud computing: instant access from anywhere
The Cloud is ubiquitous. And that means that remotely connecting to your cloud-based systems becomes much more straightforward.
Ordinary users, for instance, find that it’s much easier to work remotely, accessing systems just as they would if sat at a desk, or on the factory floor.
But perhaps more importantly, the same thing becomes true in terms of connecting enterprise applications to third-party applications—an increasing number of which are also cloud-based, of course.
What sort of third-party applications? The choice is almost endless. Supplier connectivity and e-commerce applications, for instance. EDI. Cutting-edge specialist human resources applications. Global trade management applications. And so on, and so on.
Cloud computing: the bottom line
In short, cloud computing is a game-changer. And if you’re not already thinking hard about how best to exploit it, rest assured that your competitors are.
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