Leveraging the Cloud to Drive Business Efficiency

December 8, 2019

Data is being generated, collected, and analyzed by companies at an immense rate, everyday. So massive in fact, that according to the World Economic Forum, the total volume of the datasphere will reach roughly 44 zettabytes by the end of 2020 and continue expanding rapidly.

According to various marketing intelligence companies, it is estimated that today anywhere from 1.5 to 2MB of data is being created by every person, every second. Or how about this; roughly 90% of the entire world’s data has been created in just the past 2 years! These statistics may seem very exciting, but behind the scenes, how many companies are really able to operate efficiently in this kind of environment? What does this mean for their business process?

Keeping up with the growing data volume means investing into more powerful computing capacity. This translates into substantial cost growth for companies trying to ramp up traditional IT infrastructure and servers that reside on-premises, and it is becoming a huge burden. This is precisely where Cloud comes to the rescue and allows companies to maintain their existence.

Migrate to the Cloud

Companies are trying to process large volumes of data, run complex workloads and analytics, all while trying to make sense of it to produce valuable information. They then use this information to make better decisions, improve their operational efficiency, optimize their business process, and constantly tweak their product or service to meet customer demands. However, with the amount of data being generated at present, companies are falling behind and experiencing growing limitations especially with on-premises IT infrastructure and traditional software. Choosing to migrate applications, data, and workloads to the cloud, removes these constraints.

Leveraging Cloud’s infrastructure as a service (Iaas) means companies can host their servers in a virtual environment and pay for as much computing resources as they need. Scalability is one of the key advantages which immediately reduces or even eliminates the costs of keeping unused hardware in physical server rooms. Elasticity is another major component, allowing companies to utilize load-balancing and adapt to workload changes in real time. Platform as a service (PaaS) is another great feature that companies can use to stay efficient.

Companies can develop and manage their applications virtually without having to spend large amounts of money on physical resources that would normally be needed. Another option is to leverage Software as a service (SaaS), where companies only pay for a subscription and use software that they need for research and development. All software is provided by the third-party client, again saving money, and eliminating the need for on-premises storage. Consideration must be given to optimizing the data volumes, applications, workloads, and workflows, whether it be a lift and shift, a re-factoring, a re-platforming, or a complete rebuild. Performing a detailed assessment and analysis will help you better determine the optimal migration strategy.

Operating in the Cloud

With a cloud implementation, companies gain a whole new level of flexibility when using their applications, which was not possible with a conventional IT infrastructure. Users simply connect to a third-party provider through a secured internet connection and instantly gain access to all of their data and applications as needed. This shortens development time and substantially improves the efficiency of the company operation.

With such large volumes of data being generated and stored, lack of security especially the threat of cyber attacks has become a major issue that companies have started to experience. With physical servers stored in a traditional on-premises manner, companies could easily come under a cyber attack and the physical location of their servers could be exposed to hackers. Cloud largely eliminates these issues as all data resides in virtual servers. Additionally, the cloud service provider still offers the advanced protection features such as penetration testing, firewall setup, tokenization, and virtual private network connections at a much more customizable level depending on the needs of the organization.

Possibly the biggest advantage of operating in cloud is the fact that costs are substantially lower. Gone are the days where companies had to spend large amounts of initial capital to purchase hardware, software, and storage. Again, in cloud everything is run and maintained by an external cloud service provider in a virtual environment. Companies only pay for hardware and software as needed and they can adjust their usage on the fly. There is no need for an organization to build giant raised floors with storage racks as far as the eye can see. This way companies are relieved of many painstaking tasks associated with cost management and maintenance of their assets. It helps companies stay lean and provides operational efficiency and better decision making throughout their business process. As cloud computing evolves, automation has really become essential especially with the incredible amount of data being generated and managed. Business processes are starting to be designed more as an outsourced and packaged offering known as Business Process as a service (BPaaS). A concept similar to Platform as a service (PaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS), they are designed as more “universal” procedures. This allows them to be integrated into virtually any type of environment with higher reusability by organizations. This speeds up the flow of the business process and allows for organizations to deliver their products more rapidly with greater confidence.

Similarly, Integrated Platform as a service (IPaaS) is becoming a vital component of a company’s operation. Companies struggle because on one end they may have social media platforms or mobile applications generating immense volumes of data, and then attempting to run underlying programs using aging legacy applications. This combination simply cannot function efficiently and is certain to cause bottlenecks in the business process. Companies leveraging IPaaS, can create a seamless integration of legacy applications with the cloud. Integration simplifies the overall system structure and companies can focus on managing their platform in one place. Equally important is the fact that IPaaS is scalable and is capable of handling those large volumes of data generated by mobile environments. This optimized structure boosts business process efficiency, reduces development time, and most importantly enables companies to maximize use of their data. Again, consideration must be given to the types of as-a-service models you wish to implement as well as self-service capabilities in terms of security, privacy, and governance. Leveraging cloud capabilities mixed with aspects of change management and user training will ensure a smoother transition to and adoption of the cloud.

What about gaming and multimedia-based companies that require high performance combined with maximum data storage? Once again, cloud has a service offering in the form of Gaming as a service (GaaS). Games and other interactive media products can be stored and streamed virtually by the customer. Companies do not have to worry about keeping their media products in physical warehouses and paying for associated costs. They also do not have to manufacture increasingly powerful gaming consoles to handle the high graphic resolution. Games can be run using multiple virtual servers at a single moment if needed to cope with performance spikes and to offer the absolute best end user experience. It gives companies a huge advantage over traditional on-premises operation and boosts business process efficiency and operation.

Upgrading to The Cloud

When it comes to better computing power, increased storage, and overall improved performance, a heavier price tag is somewhere in the bundle. More than ever, companies are finding the need to upgrade their infrastructure to be able to cope with large amounts of data and increased market demand. On-premises servers residing in physical datacenters, are very costly to upgrade so it cannot be performed very often. Upgrading legacy software is a daunting task which most companies prefer to avoid. Conventional platform or software upgrades can also cause painful incompatibility issues within a system, leaving companies to find a temporary fix which usually becomes permanent.

This is where companies that have made the transition to cloud, have a serious advantage. Upgrading PaaS means the service provider performs an update to not only the platform itself but also the underlying and dependant applications, ensuring a seamless transition. The cloud-based provider can also provide the virtual upgrade to the end user anywhere in the world, so the upgrade is not limited to a particular area. Additionally, there is no downtime during the period when the upgrade or platform maintenance is performed by the provider. Upgrading in the cloud means efficiency for the business process and the removal of disruptions for the enterprise.

Upgrading SaaS is the same deal, where the cloud service provider ensures that the latest version of software provided is compatible with the company’s current environment specifications. Companies do not need to purchase a bundle where they may only utilize a portion of the features and the rest becomes obsolete. The cloud service provider can offer tailormade upgrades to only components that require them. Also, upgrades happen behind the scenes with as much as a simple restart of the application, in terms of disruption.

This again points to the advantage where companies save and lower their operational costs. Upgrading becomes fast, efficient, and accurate, none of which would be possible with legacy applications or conventional platforms running on premises. Consideration must be given to the level of high availability, fault tolerance and SLA requirements to round out cloud operational efficiency and the balance of IT service costs.

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