Resistance to new technology concepts is inevitable, and cloud computing is no exception. But today, cloud computing has matured to the level where it is a viable technology, ready to embrace and bring benefit to your company.
The reasons why cloud computing’s time is now include:
· Economic necessity
· Support from major mainstream software vendors
· Demand from small business for high-end features
· Demand from enterprise users for more cost-effective solutions
· Need for collaborative tools
· Cloud technology has already passed the proving ground stage
Economically, the market today is not only ready for cloud computing, it demands cloud computing. On a macro level, the world is facing a huge recession from which it will be slow to recover, and businesses of all sizes need an edge just to stay competitive. Increasing revenues is always a key strategy of any business, but the reality of the situation is that many companies are not able to do so in a struggling economy. This leaves only cost cutting as a way to stay flat or increase the bottom line.
When a business needs to cut expenses, it’s not prudent to cut those areas that contribute to the company’s overall mission. Staff reductions may provide a short-term shot in the arm, but in the long run, this may be detrimental. The better strategy in cost-cutting is to re-evaluate the company’s technological underpinnings, and implement new technology that allows them to do more with less. Cloud computing is such a technology.
Furthermore, mainstream software vendors have all staked a claim in the cloud computing market. Enterprise software vendors, many with reputations for massively expensive implementations that take months or years to install successfully, have already rolled out cloud-based versions of their otherwise bulky systems. The results have been astounding. Enterprises have been using cloud-based versions of ERP software for example, to get up and running on individual modules immediately, instead of having to wait months for a custom rollout. Even if an on-premises solution is ultimately desired, the cloud-based system allows them to make an easier transition—and one of the hardest things about a major ERP installation is the transition. On the lower end, midsized businesses are taking advantage of these cloud-based enterprise systems to get functionality that they couldn’t afford before they became available on the cloud. On the low end of the market, small businesses and SOHO companies also have the cloud at their disposal as well, with offerings from mainstream vendors like Microsoft, Google, and even Apple delivering a wide range of cloud-based applications and services that promote not only productivity, but increased collaboration as well.
The consumer market is especially important for the acceptance of cloud computing, as this is where the technology initially filters into the business mainstream. Consumers that have become accustomed to using Google Apps, Microsoft Live, and Apple MobileMe will demand the same functionality in the workplace.
The collaborative potential is just as important as the functionality of the applications themselves. The fact that the cloud promotes collaboration fits in well with today’s ways of doing business. The decentralization of the workplace, the growth of outsourcing, and the desire for telecommuting and work-at-home solutions all demand collaborative technologies to work, and this is now possible only through cloud computing technology.
And finally, we have to look at the adopter stage of any technology. Early adopters jump in when a technology is new and unproven, and serve the purpose of providing a testing ground for the rest of us. Today, we see that cloud computing has a rich collection of providers, both well-established and startup; and that users come from all segments and all business size classifications. Furthermore, cloud computing providers have expanded to encompass the entire range of cloud computing technology (infrastructure, platform, and application), with prominent vendors already offering robust deliverables in all three categories. Cloud computing has passed that early adopter stage and is now entering the mainstream.
To technologists, the future of cloud computing is easy to understand, because we have the advantage of history. To truly understand the future of cloud computing technology, we merely need to examine the historical evolution of earlier computing platforms. The cloud is evolving in many of the same ways, with infrastructure, platforms and software.
More important is the effect of the cloud on the people who use it. We may even say that cloud computing is reaching “critical mass.” That is, it has come too far to put it back in the bottle. It’s here, the technology is ready, and it is already making dramatic changes to the way people do business, the way we work, and even the way we think. It is creating a new class of entrepreneurs and ushering a second dotcom boom.
What are the implications of this technology achieving critical mass? For one, IT buyers will not need to defend why they are buying cloud computing services—the argument instead will focus on “why are you using antiquated technologies?” and “Why are you spending ten times too much on this project when you could be using cloud computing instead?”
This blog is brought to you by Virtual Global; provider enterprise-class cloud computing solutions. Since 1995, our technologies have helped commercial and federal customers worldwide with their enterprise IT needs.