Cloud computing simply put is the technological solution that removes the storage of information away from the local computer or device. This transference of remote access to online services comes in various content formats but ultimately provides the business with a more agile solution.
This is nothing new. The use and consumption of information happen all the time across many daily devices connected to the internet.
Before the cloud, it was necessary to reserve space for storage on the computer for any activity, sometimes a considerable amount. Today, everything is saved in the cloud.
Listening to music is now done through streaming or replying to an email are just two examples.
How does this translate for business? Well, cloud technology is the solutions that allows remote access to a range of content. It has revolutionised the way we store files, process data and even run software.
And, best of all, you, your customers AND your workforce can access these benefits on any device.
As a business owner, you recognise the necessity to ensure that your business is leveraging the most effective and economical solutions to stay ahead. Cloud computing is where you need to be looking now if you’re not already.
Maybe you already use Google Drive apps to collaborate with colleagues but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Cloud computing more than just a fad, it’s here to stay and as an article over at Inc.com points out, “companies that don’t take advantage of cloud computing will be a minority in less than 6 years.”
As we have all been learning over the last few months, through this forced remote working experiment as a result of Covid-19, IT operations over the cloud is… Well, to simply put it “Cloud is good for business”.
How? you ask.
Cloud computing serves to facilitate remote access to a wide variety of information.
It is a disruptive technology, which has come to simplify the experience of people and companies.
But even though cloud computing seems to be a rather new concept, it really isn’t that new an idea…
But first – A Brief History of Cloud Computing
It all started with developments and tests in 1955 by the American computer scientist John McCarthy, who originally coined the term “artificial intelligence,” and create a theory of sharing computing time among an entire group of users.
He proposed computing as a public service, from which you would only pay for what was used. He also studied possibilities for shared computer use.
Getting the most out of computing time was an important consideration in the 1950s because it could cost upwards of several million dollars.
With the costs for computing so insanely high back then, small companies simply couldn’t afford to gain access to this new technological power, making moving to the type of automation enjoyed by larger companies impossible. Thus, McCarthy’s theory of “time-sharing” would become essential in helping small business get the most out of computing time available.
While development was very incremental, As early as 1962, physicist Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider came up with the idea to share data through interconnected computer systems
Then, he devised the Arpanet network, capable of joining military bases with research departments of the American government.
ARPANET is widely known as the “predecessor of the Internet” and was the first network that allowed digital sources to be shared among computers that were not in the same physical location.
Licklider also envisioned a world where everyone would be connected; to have the ability to access specific programs and data, regardless of where the access point might be located. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it should; it’s what is known today as “cloud computing.”
Both are considered the pioneers of the creation of cloud computing.
The decades that followed, from the 1970s to the 1990s, saw many advancements in the technology required for true cloud computing. Computer giant IBM, for example, released an operating system in 1972 called the VM (Virtual Machine) operating system. The 1990s saw several telecommunications companies offer their own versions of virtualized private networks (VPNs).
But who really used the term for the first time was information systems professor Ramnath Chellappa , in 1997.
Once it started to spread, cloud computing caught on quickly and just kept growing. While the origin of the term is disputed it is thought Ramnath was inspired by the clouds in the sky to create the concept, because they represent something that is in the air.
In 1999, the company Salesforce started offering cloud computing applications to companies.
As of the 2000s, the benefits of technology began to be disseminated throughout the world.
In 2002, Amazon launched cloud-based storage, computing and intelligence services.
Then, in 2008, Google also launched its service.
In 2009, it was Microsoft Azure’s turn to create a special platform for apps and also for cloud services.
Since then, the cloud has grown steadily.
Wondering what the numbers for this look like?
The IDC Salesforce Economy Study estimates growth of 241.8% in investments in public cloud computing in the period that started in 2015 and runs until 2020.
Fast-forward to present day
Cloud computing is creating new opportunities, both for businesses and people the world over both in how we work and live.
What are the other benefits? Read on
1. A More Connected Workforce
A recent survey by Frost & Sullivan showed that companies investing in collaboration technologies increased productivity by as much as 400%.
Cloud computing allows for easy collaboration between employees.
Workers can access relevant files and documents from wherever they are: prospects headquarters, on a plane, or at home.
When you eliminate the time-consuming and often unsecure process of sending files back and forth over email, you create a more streamlined process.
A more efficient collaboration system that enables employees to access files from one central location ultimately leads to an improved business bottom line.
2. Flexibility, Functionality, and Efficiency
In the ever-changing business landscape, history has proven time-and-again, that companies can and must adapt themselves to survive. For some, it can be the difference between life and death of the business. Do you remember Blockbusters?
Cloud computing allows you to adapt to market conditions with a certain flexibility that is not available when you use on-site, physical solutions.
Aside from adapting to external conditions, this virtual solution also enables quick responses to internal demands. If user demand increases, cloud services can be risen to meet the demand, and then be easily decreased as demand drops. Thus, eliminating the problem of over-provisioning or IT systems overload.
3. Disaster Resistant
Losing important data to a fire or some other disaster at your business premises can devastate your business. Data back-up service providers have preached this message for a long time, but with the availability of cloud services, it is now much more convenient to heed the message.
Many providers of IT security now focus their solutions on cloud storage rather than onsite fire-resistant back-up systems making their solutions ever-more disaster-resistant and ensuring business continuity in the event of a disaster.
Cloud computing simply put is the technological solution that removes the storage of information away from the local computer or device.
Virtualization technologies enable the incorporation of cloud-based recovery models which keeps a cloned version of all your data readily available at data-centres should something go wrong.
4. Greater Business Competitiveness
Research carried out by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services reported that 74% of businesses feel like cloud computing has given them a competitive advantage. The main reason that these companies felt like they gained this advantage is that the cloud-enabled them to “capitalize on opportunities more quickly” than competitors.
The cloud allows companies to develop a speed and agility that directly affects their ability to develop products and respond to customer needs. In other words, the cloud acts as a facilitator to enable a company to bring products to market faster. It means that small companies can effectively compete with large companies in this area.
5. Greater Customer Experience
Beyond the agility it brings to business operations, cloud computing increases the synchronisation between departments and the customer.
Year on year, cloud computing and marketing become increasingly integrated.
Over the last decade, marketing and IT departments have had to work closely together to deploy the technologies needed to help identify and build a company’s brand.
As the demands and accountability of marketing have grown over this time so too has the need for the marketing department to have complete control over data and content without intervention from IT.
Cloud technology and grown to reach this demand as more companies move into the cloud providing marketers with the ability to define, create and manage their content easier than ever before.
For the customer, this means more integrated and connected experiences across multiple channels both on and off-line.
Over the last twenty years, Salesforce has changed the face of the industry, inventing the enterprise cloud and building the world’s #1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Through this they have developed a suite of applications that unite internal departments AND the customer.
Cost-efficiency is the name of the game with cloud computing. With the cloud, companies no longer need to set up and pay for expensive infrastructure or spend money on costly hardware or licensing fees.
7. Levelling the Playing Field
As a result of the reduced capital costs as outlined above, smaller companies are finally able to play on a relatively equal playing field when compared to large corporations and sometimes, due to agility, outmanoeuvre them in the marketplace.
With cloud applications, small and large marketing departments can reach a larger audience, engage with a wide range of prospects and grow resources at the same pace.
Moreover, market, sales and operations can work in sync with both each other AND the customer no matter the scale of the organisation.
8. Makes Big Data Easy to Manage
Finally, cloud computing makes it easier for companies to handle so-called “Big Data.” Traditional data storage methods (not cloud) have not always provided a simple way for companies to carry out advanced analysis of their databases. In the case of large firms, this process can take many weeks and require highly knowledgeable specialists.
The cloud provides the necessary tools to sort through lots of unstructured data quickly and easily. Yet another area where cloud computing positively affects productivity and profits.
Companies such as Salesforce continue to widen their scope of solutions in this area not only in the type of data but in how it is handled. With the integration of Einstein, Salesforce’s Artificial Intelligence integrated through their suite of applications data can be manipulated in ways unimaginable before.
Three types of cloud computing
Want to plan the use of an available cloud service and bring cloud computing to your business?
First, you need to know that there are three types of cloud computing.
To make the choice, you will need to align: the cost involved, the ability to perform, availability and, of course, expectations.
Cloud computing simply put is the technological solution that removes the storage of information away from the local computer or device
Understand how each of them works:
With unified solutions, it is the cheapest type of cloud computing today.
Everything is available on the internet and can be shared simultaneously between multiple users. However, separately.
They are responsible for sending files to the cloud. The provider takes care of resource management, maintenance and security.
The solution is recommended for those who want to invest in cloud computing, but without spending a lot.
As the name suggests, a provide cloud allows the company to acquire the cloud infrastructure and select users to access it.
With this, you can customise functions according to your own business needs.
It is widely used by companies that need to work according to data security and privacy guidelines, such as banks and public agencies.
This is the model that combines the functionality of both the public cloud and the private cloud.
That is, it allows data and apps to be shared in both public and private environments. Thus, some resources can be used privately and others publicly.
This means it is possible to choose the best of them according to your strategy and business need.
This is where Salesforce steps in.
Using Salesforce in conjunction with the appropriate applications to suite your organisations goals and challenges means you can leverage your advantage over your competitors no matter how large they are.
Looking for ways to measure the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts?
By combining the number #1 CRM system with Pardot, you can actually measure the ROI of your leads, no matter which campaign they came from. What’s more, with Salesforce’s AppExchange, you can also uncover some hidden gems that will simplify and streamline the process even more. Ensuring you accomplish the unthinkable and synchronise the sales and marketing departments and more.
For help and advice on getting the most out of your Salesforce instance drop us a line.