Conventionally speaking, Cloud is generally defined by many experts mostly as a computing model. Which is true to a certain degree, since this technology mainly deals with on-demand access to be shared, as well as is about configurable computing resources like servers, storage, and applications. However, research carried out by IBM has shown that the use of cloud technology has also the power to enable innovation, and thereby add to business value. This survey has discovered an array of six characteristics of cloud technology that can be described as “Business Enablers’. Here is presenting to you a brief explanation on all 6 of them. They are as follows:
- Cost Flexibility: It is due to the ‘Cost Flexibility’ its usage provides that many companies have begun adopting Cloud. As per the survey conducted by IBM more than 31% of company executives have agreed that the use of this technology has considerably reduced fixed IT costs, which has resulted in the development of a more beneficial ‘pay as you go’ cost structure. Now, it is a fact that IT capital expenses are generally quite large because it includes enterprise software licenses, servers, and networking equipment. However, the availability of Cloud technology has meant that companies do not anymore require to buy hardware, install, customize software, or even pay software license fees. Furthermore, its increased usage also helps an organization to shift costs from capital to operational or from fixed to variable. In other words, they need to only pay for what is required. Additionally, a few leaders of large business enterprises have challenged the benefits of using cloud solutions while leaders of smaller enterprises possessing less capital have embraced it as the most cost-effective model of enabling business.
- Business Scalability: Apart from cost-effectiveness, IT scalability is also another major benefit that can be gained by making use of Cloud technology. Moreover, the adoption of such a digital platform can also help an organization scale up its business operations by supporting organic as well as M & A (Marketing and Advertising) driven growth. This it does by allowing rapid provisioning of resources with fewer limitations. Above all, cloud technology allows a company to gain benefits from economies of scale without ever achieving large volumes of its own.
- Speed and Agility: In today’s ‘Digital Age’ that we live in the ability to respond to changing customer’s need is what is expected from business organizations. As a result, companies these days are continuously trying to find new ways to improve their speed and ability in adjusting to the demands of the market. Under such circumstances, the availability of Cloud Technology is a boon since it helps businesses to very rapidly adjust processes, products, and services. It also enables rapid prototyping and innovation. For example, a leading retailer that looked to improve its inventory performance wondered whether by leveraging cloud-based supply and demand forecasting, and effective solution that helps improve performance might be obtained. And so, this retailer instead of using the costly traditional analysis technique made use of cloud technology to establish pilots with multiple vendors. This enabled the retailer to test each vendor’s forecast with real data and results. In other words, what once would have involved a complicated pilot and implementation has become a simple process of uploading data to cloud partners.
- Masked Complexity: One of the biggest advantages of using Cloud technology/computing is its ability to ‘Mask’ complexity of its operations from end-users, which in turn helps simplify adoption. This is because by masking the complexity of its functioning from the end-user the company can quietly go about expanding its product and service sophistication without having to increase the level of knowledge or necessary involvement required to utilize or maintain product or service. For example, upgrades and maintenance can be done in the background without having the end-user actively participate in the procedure. Masked complexity is thereby a perfect enabler of a business carried via cloud technology which not only hides the location of the data being stored but also provides companies with the seamless experience of exploring various devices and mediums.
- Context Driven Variability: Since Cloud technology possesses a computing power and a huge capacity to expand, it can store a wide range of information including user preferences and location thereby providing enabling of effective product or service customization. This then means that customer preferences can be easily determined by using cloud computing to study and analyze the buying behaviour and usage patterns. What’s more, it can also be used to customize advertisements offers and suggestions. For example, Amazon’s online contextual product recommendation. Similarly, ‘Siri’ the Apple iPhone 4S cloud-based natural language “Intelligent Assistant” is also another good example of context-driven variability that this phone possesses. Besides, the use of this phone based on cloud technology also enables the user to send messages, schedule meetings, find restaurants, place phone calls and much more. More importantly, Siri makes use of artificial intelligence as well as knowledge about the user which includes his/her location information, to understand not only what is said but what is meant too. In simple words, applications based on cloud technology can be effectively used to enable individualized context-relevant customer experiences.
- Ecosystem Connectivity: One of the major enablers of business powered by cloud technology is ecosystem connectivity. It helps an organization collaborate with its value chain partners and customers, which in turn may lead to an improvement in productivity and significant improvement in innovation. Furthermore, Cloud-based platforms when used can also help unify disparate groups of individuals who can collaborate as well as openly share information and processes. The increased use of cloud-based software solutions has led to the development of a recent trend known as ‘Open Innovation’, which has proven to be very effective in connecting various parties as well facilitating the sharing of ideas. And so, to become more efficient in doing business many retailers have stopped making use of a traditional paper-based approach, and have it replaced with a modern technology-focused cloud-based approach. For example, Safeway and its vendor partners such as Kraft have begun using a collaborative cloud-based deal management platform called ‘eDeals’. This is mainly because using such technology-driven solution helps retailers such as Safeway to streamline the presentation, negotiation, invoicing, and reconciliation of trade promotions they receive from their vendors that too in a safe and secure cloud environment.