Five ways cloud computing can give you a competitive advantage

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The adoption of cloud computing and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is increasing. According to a study by IBM, ‘tailoring hybrid cloud: designing the right mix for innovation, efficiency and growth’, has contributed to the meteoric rise of the hybrid cloud. 1,000 C-suite executives from 18 industries were interview as part of the study and over three-quarters (78%) of respondents say their cloud initiatives are coordinated or fully integrated, compared to just 34% in 2012.

Rather than a ‘nice to have’, cloud computing is becoming vital to business operations. If organisations want to improve, and even maintain, their competitive advantage then they need to consider migrating their operations to the cloud.

Here are five reasons why adopting cloud computing can give you a competitive advantage:

Quickly launch new applications and services

Cloud computing is ideal for growing businesses as it reduces the time needed by organisations to go from an idea to a service or app. It facilitates collaboration and innovation, allows you to analyse huge amounts of data effectively and you have the ability to easily and cost-effectively upscale cloud computing so that your organisation can quickly build and launch new applications or services – just sign up to an application and start using it.

Free up your IT staff

When it comes to cloud computing, providers take care of all the maintenance of the hardware and updates and security patches to the software. Testing, patching and upgrading hardware and software can take up day’s of your IT staff’s time every month. But when your systems are in the cloud you don’t need to worry about maintaining the systems and fixing bugs, enabling you to free up your IT staff to concentrate to strategic projects that deliver additional value to the business and its bottom line.

Gather product and data insights

With information held in the cloud you can focus your efforts on the business and use the data gathered to work out what products and services your customers want and how you can provide a better customer experience.

In addition to product and data insights, cloud computing will also give you a total business view. Running your accounting, HR and marketing software in the cloud means that your businesses can be fully integrated and senior managers can keep their fingers on the pulse of the entire organisation.

Improve your bottom line

Pay-as-you-go services and cloud business applications mean that you don’t need to invest in purchasing, maintaining and upgrading your IT infrastructure which can lead to cost savings and is friendlier to your all important cash flow. There are no annual licence fees to pay, you can make savings on power use and because you only utilise what you need you’re not paying for redundant systems and you don’t need to spend extra money upfront to account for future needs. In addition, you can also make productivity improvements that will positively impact your bottom line through improved document control, better collaboration, streamlining processes and reducing downtime if hardware fails.

Improved flexibility

Cloud platforms provide businesses with an unmatched level of flexibility enable your employees to access systems and data from almost anywhere. This means that employees can work more flexibly to suit their lifestyles and find a better work-life balance, for example by working from home or outside of normal working hours. The ability to instantly share documents through the cloud increases collaboration between employees and organisations and their clients, and in addition, allowing employee to use their mobile devices through Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies can provide extra cost-saving benefits to the business.

Forward-thinking organisations understand that the cloud can help them improve their customer’s experience, improve their business processes and ultimately improve their bottom line.