Industry observer Chris Bucholtz recently put together a good list of ten ways cloud computing can help make your business stronger.
And for good measure, he tosses in a pretty good definition of the cloud as it is designed for actual users: “It’s a global, virtualized on-demand computing infrastructure and the software designed to take advantage of it. In many ways it’s like a computing utility; you pay on a monthly basis and for what you use.”
Reduction of Up-Front Costs for You and Your Vendors. Unlike on-premise software, the price of deploying CRM, ERP and other applications in the cloud is far less, due to fewer hardware costs and the ability to buy the number of seats you need from month to month.
Universal Access for Remote Employees. On-premise software isn’t great for people working remotely or from home. In order to allow these remote workers to access the applications, you have to manage dial-in systems, security, VPNs and the other technical requirements of connecting outside of the Internet.
Built-In Business Continuity. In a catastrophe, every business will have 99 problems, but your cloud-based applications isn’t one.
Always Up-to-Date Software. From a business standpoint, the ability to rapidly update software means that your cloud software provider can convert user feedback into new features more frequently. There’s no need to store up new functionality for an annual or semi-annual release; that functionality can be added whenever it’s available.
More Options, Less Lock-In. With more options available – and without the risk of wasting a large investment, as there would be with on-premise – cloud users have flexibility to experiment, and to switch vendors if the need arises.
Allows IT Staff to Become More Strategic. Granted, the cloud may mean fewer IT people in your organization, but those who remain will have a new and more important role.
Breaks Down Barriers to Entry. The cloud provides an option that demands far less up-front investment and can overcome the apprehensions of your CIO, thus getting you into the CRM game earlier than you would have been able to otherwise.
Faster Implementation. The cloud allows you to go from negotiation to actually working with the application in a fraction of the time needed for on-premise in most cases. If you’re migrating from another application, you should give your data a quick once-over to make sure you can get to full speed as fast as possible.
Scales as Needed, When Needed. With the cloud, users can subscribe to what they need when they need it. In other words, in these seasonal situations, companies don’t have to pay for resources they don’t need – they can develop subscriptions that allow their payments to flex with their usage.
Green – Both Environmentally and Economically. Because of the economy of scale a cloud data center can achieve, the average amount of energy needed for a computational action in the cloud is far less than the average amount in an on-premise deployment.
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