As 2011 begins to wind down, technology has continued to surge, bringing about new idioms and new abilities that we hadn’t thought of until the technology was available to us. One of these new abilities is that of cloud computing.
Cloud computing, simply put, is the ability to access files and documents from anywhere in the world, on any computer or mobile device. The idea is that these documents are stored within servers on the Internet – “the cloud” – that make access to them easy and convenient. It means no more storage drives or CDs to carry around when you aren’t at your primary computer.
Society has actually been using a popular type of cloud computing for years – email. Consider that many of the email applications that we use can be accessed through other computers or other devices – Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Web Outlook, etc – could be checked from a home or work computer and with the continued growth of mobile technology, such as smartphones and tablets, people can check their email no matter where they are.
The market for cloud computing has grown and continues to grow – several big named corporations and organizations, such as Merril Lynch, Gartner, and AMI, have estimated that billions of dollars (from 16 billion to upwards of 160 billion) will be spent in businesses utilizing cloud services and products by at least 2014.
Why is the cloud so interesting? What exactly can it do for business?
For most business, the ability to respond quickly to consumers or clients is an important factor and th
is agility is the number one reason many businesses are switching to some sort of cloud or SaaS system. A survey by Information Weekly found that 65% of those asked state that the agility to quickly respond and thus keep ahead was a main factor in going to the cloud.
There’s also the mobile technology growth and how it’s changing business everywhere. Many corporations have outsourced jobs to other providers, but with the economic downturn that began in 2007, many businesses have sought freelancers or consultants to help with their business procedures or have sent employees out for telecommuting purposes in order to cut down on office expenses.
This means that more and more people are not working in a traditional office atmosphere; many will either work from home or from a local coffee shop or library. The popularity of smartphone usage and the introduction of the tablet have moved employees from a desk to a table at an airport, while still maintaining connections with co-workers and managers.
This allows for managers, IT folks, and employees to connect remotely to solve issues, collaborate with others, or respond to critical notices without needing to physically be in the same office setting. Meeting can take place via video conferencing, while permitting access to files and documents means you never forget a presentation when out of town.
There are still concerns involving the cloud, but the ideas behind it are strong and could change business production.
Does your organization use cloud computing in some way shape or form? Do cloud services integrate into your organizations processes and procedures? Does it align with organizational goals or that of the vendors and latest trends? Do the vendors that manage your cloud know who your customers are and how they get affected if certain services are not available? Are you aligning your organization based on cloud services or aligning those services based on your organization and its customers?
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David G. Peterson is a business consultant and author of Handling the Remedy. He has extensive international experience managing projects and operations for large financial institutions. He has worked in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia skillfully managing business and technical requirements, core systems enhancement and support, merger and acquisition integration's, business process reengineering, off-shoring and outsourcing.