The Cloud: Technical advantages
The Cloud has technical advantages that translate directly into business value
Looking beyond the hype around cloud, there is one unifying theme to remember: cloud capabilities — software, infrastructure and platform — are delivered “as a service.” Web-based email, for example, is a ubiquitous example of software as a service (SaaS). Instead of having software loaded onto your laptop or tablet, it is hosted on the Internet, largely insulating the user from the underlying technology. Infrastructure and platform services deal with the nuts and bolts of cloud computing — aspects that are primarily of interest to IT. Yet there are a number of technical and business advantages over traditional forms of computing that can have a direct impact on how businesses operate. These include:
- Broad network access: Services are accessible from a wide variety of devices (such as PCs, smartphones and tablets) and from any location with network access to the cloud
- Resource pooling: Computing resources are pooled to serve multiple customers, which creates significant efficiencies and economies of scale. Resources are deployed based on demand, and customers generally don’t know (and don’t need to know) where those resources are physically located
- Rapid elasticity: Computing capabilities in the cloud are essentially unlimited and can be quickly scaled up or down in response to an organization’s changing needs
- On-demand self-service: New services and capacity can be provisioned quickly and easily, often without vendor employee involvement
- Measured service: Businesses pay only for the cloud services and resources they actually use.
These technical advantages translate into some apparent, but significant, business advantages:
- Rapid implementation: Less time is required to get up and running on cloud-based systems
- Cost predictability: Cloud’s pay-as-you-go model, which includes the cost of system upgrades, makes it easier to predict IT costs
- Balanced ROI: Cloud delivers a faster return on IT investments, thanks to accelerated implementation and elimination of upfront licensing and infrastructure costs
- Agility: Companies can quickly develop and deploy new IT capabilities and business processes to stay ahead of the competition and keep pace with changes in the marketplace
- Scalability: Cloud provides a flexible platform that can grow or shrink as needed, enabling businesses to explore new markets, pursue new innovations and serve new customer segments.