Whatever the business, chances are cloud technology can help drive value. Here’s why you should be investing in it.
As a business tool, the cloud is more vital than ever. According to a study by IDG, 70 per cent of organisations use cloud technology as a staple of their infrastructure, with at least one application in the cloud. Companies are recognising the business value of the cloud and are investing heavily. On average, they will spend $1.62 million (€1.31 million) on cloud computing. Of these, enterprise organisations will spend the most.
The message is clear: the cloud is an essential way to add value to your business.
From collaborative work to AR and AI
As a collaborative tool, the cloud is unbeatable. “It’s complicated to share data that’s stored on your hard disk,” says Sylvain Ansart, Technical Architect, EMEA Global Acquisition at Lenovo. “But once it’s in the cloud it’s very simple to share it with other people. This is good for collaborative working. You can all work on the same document at the same time without having to be in the same room.
“To work collaboratively on CAD [computer-aided design, used in design work and engineering] you need an infrastructure that can quickly replicate what’s done on one machine onto another machine,” Ansart continues. “The cloud is perfect for this. One of today’s most established car manufacturers has engineers working in France and Japan. So they need a secure way to share information in order to make spare parts. Hence they use the cloud.”
But the cloud isn’t only good for collaborative working. It also means you can access your own documents wherever you are. That means you can work on a document on your laptop on the train without having to remember to copy it from your desktop’s hard drive before leaving the office.
The cloud has many other uses too. It offers a huge amount of computing power to users with all sorts of devices. This opens up multiple opportunities for enterprises, such as augmented reality.
“It takes a lot of processing power to render new information to the virtual elements used in augmented reality,” says Ansart. “As does the ability to recognise objects and people. A lot of power and a huge database, which is just too much for a smartphone or smart glasses to handle. That’s why it has to be done in the cloud.”
The same goes for the knowledge database used in artificial intelligence, as well as deep learning and algorithms.
As Ansart concludes: “Basically, anything that’s collaborative, or requires a lot of processing power, needs the cloud.”
Reaping the rewards
The results speak for themselves. According to Accenture, organisations with high levels of cloud adoption are more likely to report multiple quantifiable benefits than those with lower levels. These benefits include improvements in customer satisfaction, efficiency and cost savings.
Because of its flexibility, the cloud also empowers organisations to innovate and experiment with new ways of working.
But before you embrace cloud wholeheartedly, there is something to be aware of.
Who controls the data?
“When your data is in the cloud, you don’t have control over it,” Ansart says. “This is a particular worry for European nations, considering the hostile agendas of some non-European countries. It’s such a worry it’s been enshrined in law that certain strategy data must be stored on servers within the EU.”
The problem is that not all cloud storage companies guarantee where your data will be stored. Add to this the problem of hacking and cyberattacks and it’s understandable that some enterprises are hesitant to embrace the cloud.
The answer is a private cloud that lets you keep control of the data. As Ansart says: “Data is the new gold.”
Hang on to yours at all costs!
The cloud has many tangible business benefits. It can enable collaborative working, open up many of opportunities including artificial intelligence and augmented reality, and in turn improve customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and cost savings. As long as you choose your provider carefully, your business should flourish thanks to its new cloud-based capabilities.