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Mention the words “cloud computing” to anyone outside the tech industry just five years ago and chances are you’d have been met with a blank stare. Today, everyone has some level of knowledge of the cloud, even if it’s just to understand that it’s where our smartphone stores our pictures.
Cloud computing has come a LONG way since its birth in 2000. While it took time to pick up steam, today the volume of computing processed in the cloud is enormous and growing rapidly. Industry leader Amazon Web Services may reach $10 billion in annual revenues this year, and generates more profit than its entire retail division. And they are not alone. Microsoft Azure, IBM and Google are also seeing strong growth. Clearly, cloud has moved well beyond startups and small companies. Organizations of all sizes from all industries are shifting their infrastructure and data into the cloud. Even companies in traditionally change-resistant sectors are waking up to the fact that cloud solutions cut costs and risk and drive greater productivity.
While security remains a concern for cloud computing, a study from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) suggests 65 percent of security officers and IT managers think the cloud is at least as secure as their on-premises software. Perhaps we are reaching a tipping point as IT pros own up to the fact that their own datacenters are not entirely secure either. And while organizations are aware of this issue, it’s not keeping them from moving forward with the technology.
But Cloud is really about backend processes; the infrastructure of computing and automation. It’s about the ability to harness massive IT resources on demand. But how do organizations deliver the benefits of Cloud to non-IT staff? How do we stretch the boundaries of the major benefits beyond the backend?
The answer is mobile. The combination of Cloud and mobile is responsible for delivering next generation cloud-based solutions for B2B applications (and far beyond). Another major wave of new combined solutions, with Cloud as the backbone and mobile as the delivery vehicle or interface, will continue to evolve to bring automation – resulting in massive efficiency gains far deeper than what organizations have already incorporated. This will enable companies to further streamline, automate, and measure tasks and workflows to increase productivity, resulting in faster revenue growth.
Considering the fundamental drivers, it’s easy to see the tremendous potential. There is now practically unlimited computing power available via flexible Cloud infrastructure that the business community is getting more and more comfortable using. That alone is transformative. But when combined with the ubiquity of smart phones and our expectation as users that “there’s an app for that,” the impact will be truly exhaustive. Use cases where software has been widely adopted will see a wholesale refresh. Think CRM, ERP, HRM etc., and areas of business that have traditionally been resistant to automation and change are now ripe for new approaches.