In recent years, there’s been a rapid surge in companies adopting cloud technology, enticed by the possibility of accessing distributed computer processing and storage capabilities. In fact, a 2016 poll showed that 41% of businesses surveyed were planning to increase spending on cloud technologies. It also concluded that larger companies were jumping on this trend even faster than smaller companies with 51% of large and mid-sized companies planning to increase spending on the cloud, compared to 35% of smaller companies.
But why has there been such a significant shift in attention toward the cloud? Favorable economics and convenience were the main reasons why 64% of surveyed companies said they would increase spending on cloud services. In a nutshell, cloud technology can improve operations and customer support, while saving on costs and enabling employees to work remotely. Let’s take a closer look at these benefits.
- Maximize operations
With cloud-based solutions, such as those offered by RingCentral, companies can scale their technology solutions up and down as they grow or downsize. The days of forecasting the number of servers to purchase is a distant memory. That means businesses no longer need to reserve dedicated space for a server room and large equipment when they expand. Instead, all companies must do is simply alter their usage with their cloud provider. The cloud provider will then assign more space and charge accordingly. On the other hand, if a company’s need for cloud resources decreases, the company can also reduce their usage. Cloud technology is built to scale with the needs of the business.
For larger enterprises, cloud technology is opening a whole host of new applications. Case in point, Toyota is leveraging the cloud to transform the humble car into a “connected platform,” according to Business Insider. Using Microsoft Azure, the car company can host apps that connect the car to Facebook or reward “eco-points” for using an electric vehicle. These apps, made possible by the cloud, can provide endless opportunities for adding customer value.
- Effective and efficient customer support
Not only does the cloud allow companies to create more valuable apps for customers, it enables better customer support. No longer will a single person need to man a telephone from nine to five. Today’s customer wants real-time responses and the ability to purchase products at any time of day. Cloud communication companies, such as RingCentral, make this a possibility by offering employees the flexibility to connect with customers, one another, and vendors anywhere, anytime via a mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer. This enables employees to access the information and services they need to support customers whenever and wherever they need to.
The cloud also makes it easy to share information with customers. The high-quality, high-bandwidth information that customers crave is now a service that even the smallest of companies can offer. If a company wants to host videos or other useful content all they need to do is upgrade their cloud service to provide more bandwidth. This makes it a lot easier to engage with customers using the kind of high-quality web content they’ve come to expect.
- Infrastructure cost savings
With employees connecting from home using their own devices, companies benefit from a decrease in infrastructure cost. Less space is needed if employees can rotate between the office and home. Many startups, including Zapier, are even experimenting with an entirely remote workforce. Their business model doesn’t require maintaining an office building, which can save a lot in business overheads. It also makes sense for startups like these to adopt cloud technology because it significantly lowers the costs of starting a business. The infrastructure cost of servers and computers is spread across everyone connecting through a cloud service like Azure or Amazon Web Services.
Startups and entrepreneurs can also take advantage of cloud-based services, which often integrate seamlessly via APIs. For example, a company can easily integrate its accounting software with its customer relationship management (CRM) software. It comes as no surprise that many software as a service (SaaS) companies have highlighted these integrations as a benefit. Like any cloud-based technology, these services also scale, so businesses can start with a cheaper, less feature-rich service and then expand their services as the business grows.
- Data security guaranteed
As companies, large and small begin to adopt these cloud-based services, security has become paramount. To stay ahead of this crucial requirement, these services are starting to improve their safety records. Due to these efforts, a survey found that security is no longer the top concern of companies adopting cloud services. These cloud providers have had no choice but to up their game to accommodate big players like Toyota. Turning a car into a connected device can be dangerous if the data is compromised. Toyota’s CIO highlighted that Microsoft’s dedication to security is the main reason that they chose that platform for their cloud apps. While security is still a concern for some companies, cloud services are constantly upgrading their security measures to meet the demand.
- Increased productivity
Investing in cloud technology allows businesses to provide a central repository for all their data, communication, and processing capabilities that employees can access from anywhere in the world using their preferred internet-connected device. Allowing employees and customers to connect through the cloud 24/7 greatly improves the quality of work and service offered.
The cloud can bolster productivity further and reduce costs by enabling companies to integrate their cloud services. For example, a cloud accounting software can easily link to customer relationship management software, allowing it all to work together. Many startups are taking advantage of these additional services, which can also scale with the company’s growth. Upgrades are as simple as adjusting the cloud service fees. Although cloud services are a relatively new technology, they are already changing the way we do business by vastly improving productivity.
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