Putting your faith in the cloud on the horizon? For the more old-school among you it may seem somewhat flimsy to all but totally rely on a computer operating system called ‘the cloud’ to hold together your entire company’s computing needs and services.
However, cloud computing is revolutionising the way in which companies operate in terms of data storage, data sharing, the organisation and application of man power, communication and the use of software. In the past, company executives would have to employ IT specialists to ensure their entire work force had access to the appropriate hardware and software, purchase software licenses and purchase new operating systems every few years to upgrade and keep up with technological advances. Stress and money flying around were commonplace. There is a much cheaper alternative.
Recent statistical reports from Manchester Business School and surveys put forward by cloud computing service providers such as McLaren Software indicate that, on average, UK businesses are saving £255,000 annually and are reducing their overall IT costs by a whopping 18 per cent by using cloud services. Being able to leverage the power of statistics software at a fraction of the previous cost could give UK business a competitive advantage.
Further survey results from UK businesses showed that 58 per cent thought cloud computing has reduced the workload of their IT departments. IT workers need not freak out about a potential work shortage either. These developments have allowed a shift in attention away from tedious infrastructural maintenance to more progressive areas such as innovation, research and strategy.
How do cloud services work?
A cloud is a web-based server to which you can upload work programmes and schedules, complex analysis, word processing and even email software. Your cloud would be run by remote machines owned by another company, which your workers can access anywhere via the Internet and with their individual login information.
This saves you having to purchase copies of software and spending time systematically installing it onto an entire network of computers. It also means the burden of running the software programmes is more or less removed from the individual worker’s computer. The cloud network hardware runs them instead.
All the cloud user has to do is sign into some user interface software run by the provider. If it all sounds complicated, or a little space age do not be put off.
The chances are you already use cloud computing services through your email. If you use Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail or the like as opposed to opening email software on your computer then you are logging into a remotely run email service. Cloud computing applies the same concept.
There are other financial considerations to employing a cloud computing service. Aside from savings in software and hardware alike, you could also save a bundle on renting or purchasing an office space. With cloud systems in place alongside other internet-based advances such as video conferencing, email grouping, Skype and file sharing technology your entire work force could feasibly work remotely from one another and still work efficiently.
This means your workers will be using their own hardware, and have a vested interest in its maintenance, as well as feeling more comfortable with their own equipment whilst working. All of this could improve your finances greatly, regardless of whether you are running a start up or a large corporation.