Lindsey LaManna| Business2community

The cloud, cloud computing, SaaS…like it or not, we hear these terms mentioned incessantly in the technology and business world. And for a good reason – the benefits of cloud computing are vast.

The fact is that the role of the CIO has shifted in a way that makes cloud very difficult to ignore. The CIOs of today’s organizations are no longer solely responsible for the management of IT, but now for supporting business growth by reducing costs and driving innovation in effort to build a strategic advantage.

Driving innovation AND lowering costs? That’s a lot of pressure. The solution is the cloud. By adopting cloud solutions, businesses can lower total costs and transition from a fixed cost structure to a variable one while freeing up critical IT resources for strategic initiatives and innovation.

Unlike traditional on-premise software applications, cloud applications are located and managed remotely and built with a single code-base customized to the company’s needs. Cloud applications also differ in that the cloud provider, not the customer, is responsible for the maintenance, operations, and bandwidth of the software. Finally, cloud applications are typically accessed through standard web browsers, providing scalability and agility to the customer.

The whitepaper The Cloud: When & Why from SuccessFactors, an SAP company, summed up the biggest benefits of cloud computing perfectly. Here are their six top benefits of cloud:

1. Increased speed in responding to unforeseen events

With cloud deployments, capacity and location planning are no longer in the hands of the customer, but are the responsibility of the cloud vendor. This allows companies to respond quickly to any business changes that may arise unexpectedly because operations are handled by the cloud vendors.

2. Easy to get the latest and greatest updates

Software updates and renewals are also handled by the cloud vendor and occur several times a year at no cost to the customer. This ensures that the user interface remains modern and up-to-date with business demands.

3. Adoption is quick and simple

As mentioned earlier, users access cloud applications on standard web browsers anytime, anywhere. Using web style user interfaces, like that of eBay or Yahoo, allows for more widespread adoption across the company without the need for detailed training.

4. Improved information security

One of the top concerns of cloud skeptics is the fear of sacrificing data security when allowing company data to exist outside the internal firewall. Well according to SuccessFactors, security is actually increased when using cloud solutions due to strict ISO security standards that cloud providers must adhere to, in addition to the regular security audits. This means no more worrying about lost laptops with confidential data and treacherous hacking threats.

5. Deployment time decreases from years to months

Time to value with cloud solutions is significantly lower than with on-premise applications. A “go live” for cloud solutions takes typically 2-3 quarters, whereas on-premise solutions require 2-3 years to implement. Not only is implementation time reduced, but the IT resources required to roll-out cloud solutions are much less.

6. Lower risk with subscription based cost model

With a pay-as-you-go, subscription-based cost structure, cloud services require a lower initial investment and typically much lower overall costs than on-premise. In addition, cloud solutions provide an “easy out” if the customer is dissatisfied with the product. Therefore, the business risk is in the hands of the cloud vendor and not the company itself.

According to SuccessFactors, “software will never be the same again.”

Increased strategic agility, short deployment times, lower risk and costs – the advantages of cloud computing are compelling. And yet, companies still struggle with the decision to purchase cloud solutions and therefore, miss out on a massive business opportunity.


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