Cloud computing is a concept that has at its core a single element: on demand, computing services are delivered over the internet from a remote location, rather than through a desktop, a mobile device, laptop or even on an organization’s servers. This implies that computing will become location and device independent, meaning that where information is housed or where processing is taking place will increasingly cease to matter. In a nutshell, computing tasks and information will be available any time from any device, provided there is access the internet (Michael, 2010).
The diagram above shows the arms of cloud computing.
Use of Cloud Computing In Business
For individuals and organizations alike, the cloud concept is increasingly being viewed as an infinite, and not as a finite resource. In the same way, people use and pay for electricity as their energy needs change, is the same way computing has taken an on-demand, scalable form, an additional computation capacity, network bandwidth and storage can be added as needed (Michael, 2010). The current paradigm shift in the evolution of computing only means one thing: the advent of cloud computing is changing both our work and our personal lives.
Benefits of Cloud Computing In Business
The Creation of New Generation of Products and Services
This is among the most important benefits of cloud computing. The economics of cloud computing is allowing firms to create products that were either hard or are relatively less expensive than the competition. Businesses are in a position to incorporate the economic advantage of cloud computing in their product formulations once they have experienced their success, especially if it works for their competitors (Michael, 2010). New business models and business ideas that require prohibitive amounts of computing power or scale or those that were hard to implement due to existing technical limitations and effectiveness, can now be realized with ease (Charles, 2010). Cloud computing has also allowed businesses to improve their storage, processing power and technological innovations that were not possible before. Cloud computing is making these opportunities unusually accessible.
Companies traditionally outsourced their IT services some years ago. Unlike this traditional outsourcing of IT, cloud computing provides agility and control unmatched by traditional outsource for the most part. Cloud computing is making it easier for companies to switch than changing IT outsourcers (Nikolov, 2011). The awareness of the greater internet has reached a new leverage. Most companies are using cloud computing to access and interact with the online world in many ways, and it helps them in the employment of social tools, non-relational databases and a host of other technologies in their new cloud. The benefits of these applications are serving companies well by allowing them to acquire the skills and perspectives necessary to compete effectively in the 21st century.
Easy Storage and Maintenance
The responsibility of storing, maintaining and processing information is outside the company. The company therefore does not handle any glitches or malfunctions, meaning that the business does not need to participate in such problems.
Improving Internal Communication
Businesses are using cloud-computing solution in improving their internal communications. With in-house software, the storage of data may need one or more computers, and often requires manual entry and tedious communication efforts. This increases miscommunication error. However, with a web-based software solution, all the company executives and other staff interact with the same interface that reflects the same information. Everyone therefore views the same information which ensures consistency and improves internal communications to a great extent (Charles, 2010).
Access to Accurate, Real-Time Information
Businesses can access accurate and current information via cloud computing solutions. Web-based solutions focused on customer relationship management, which are used to track, store and monitor all the trends of individual customers and more significantly, it is accomplished in real time (Michael, 2010). This means that any employee is in a position to retrieve data on-demand and compile an accurate report reflecting the most current information.
Understanding the Customer
Since the current and accurate information is easily accessible to sales and marketing departments, they can analyze this information and look for opportunities for growth by using sales strategies that are specifically formulated to meet specific needs and interests of different customers (Charles, 2010).
Improving Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management is crucial to any business’ success in today’s market place. Since sales and marketing departments strategies can be tailored to meet the specific needs of customers, and since these customers are given the opportunity to personalize their purchasing exchanges with the firm, the customer relationship is entire improved. When administrative work is cut, the resources that would have otherwise been used to keep information current manually can be used elsewhere, like carrying out market research.
Better Business Tracking
Top executive, partners and company heads are using cloud computing to carefully monitor the profitability of the business with more up-to-the-minute information (Michael, 2010). The ultimate goal of adopting cloud computing both in business and governments is cutting costs. Costs are cut in the data entry, IT departments, marketing research and customer call centers.
Uses of Cloud Computing By the Government
Cloud computing offers attractive advantages to the public sector by delivering infrastructure, software and services required in its operations. One of the most advantageous cloud computing opportunities for the public is the ability to share ICT resources among different agencies. Although governments have tried hard to provide the framework for shared services, these efforts have not always been rewarded. Governments have particularly found cloud computing important, since it offers an easier and less burdensome pathway for the efficient and effective management of public information (Nikolov, 2011).
Governments also benefit from cloud computing through decreased maintenance or upgrades of IT resources. This allows improved resource utilization, flexibility, elasticity and efficiencies. Governments are also realizing improved economies of scale as well as improved collaboration capabilities (Nikolov, 2011). Cloud computing has also contributed to improved disaster recovery capabilities, since the public can access information more easily. Cloud computing is also green –friendly, and has contributed to the achievement of reduced environmental degradation.
Traditional computing required that each work station is installed with software that functions independently of other work stations. The software must be legally licensed to that station, and its maintenance had to be independent. This requires cost, time and energy since organizations have had to hire IT personnel to ensure the maintenance and proper functioning of each station’s software. With the advent of cloud computing, the software is web based and one only requires internet access and a web browser. Organizations and governments have been relieved of many IT duties, and thus, costs, that would have otherwise been handled in the house.
Cloud computing is changing the way organizations access and use ICT products and services. Instead of owning and managing ICT products and services or using the traditionally outsourced IT services, organizations and are finding it easier to employ cloud computing services since they can meet their ICT services using a flexible, on-demand and rapidly scalable system that does not require ownership on their part or dedicated resources on the cloud services provider.