What was it that elevated 21st century business above the old-fashioned ways in which commerce was previously conducted? It was not magic; it was not some emergent property in our DNA that spontaneously decided to evolve.
The secret of its success was the discovery that allowing employees within a business certain freedoms – in particular, the freedom to dictate individual working patterns – would drive a previously inconceivable spike in productivity. Of course, previous generations did not have the means to liberate workers in this way. The catalyst has been the power of cloud computing: the platform upon which modern business technology is based.
Where Did It Come From?
The power of cloud computing stems from a 1960s concept known as “time-sharing.” In principle, the concept was developed on the basis that a single user would make inefficient use of computers, but a large group of users would not. It was also around this period that the theory of an “intergalactic computer network” was born. Fanciful terms, perhaps, yet remarkably the forerunner of modern business’s go-to IT platform.
Further development on the idea continued through the second half of the 20th century. Virtualisation started to take off in the 1970s and 1980s with VMware, while the 1990s saw telecom providers offering VPN services at comparatively lower costs. Finally, the stage was set for true cloud computing at the turn of the millennium – with Salesforce (1999) and Amazon Web Services (2002) beginning to offer browser-based enterprise applications.
The Power Of Cloud Computing In Business
The cloud quickly emerged as a platform for 21st century innovation – culturally, professionally and technologically. It liberated employees from the shackles of the 1990s cubicle farm office, giving them freedom to choose their own ideal working environment and collaborate with others at will. With the cloud granting them remote access to all necessary company data, the importance of being present in the office has quickly diminished. Instead, a more fluid and consistent output is derived from the removal of working restrictions outside the office.
Morale and wellbeing – both positively correlated with productivity – have also been propelled upwards as a result. In addition, the cloud plays host to today’s most popular professional applications, covering areas of CRM, finance, marketing, communication and support. These have improved operating standards for both vendor and consumer. As time passes, the cloud’s dominance of business has compounded – and seems all but certain to progress ever further.
The Zenith: Cloud Computing For Everything?
The cloud’s potential currently seems exponential, which begs the question: what are its future prospects, and where are its limitations? Are there areas of business the cloud couldn’t improve?
Future commercial cloud will liberate businesses in a number of key areas. It will allow more businesses to leave their own internal data centres, thus eliminating upcoming legacy concerns or hardware investments. This will automatically lead to company-wide use of on-demand IT for almost every business function. It will also enhance the efficiency, and productivity, of real-time marketing and sales communications. Perhaps most importantly, it is the best solution for enabling education and business development across multiple geographical locations: crucial in an increasingly globalised world economy.
However, as Gartner notes, some businesses still demand a hybrid IT structure – one where cloud computing is married with more traditional technologies. The reason for this comes down to the individual business. Some want a greater internal degree of autonomy over the network. Others want to maintain certain workloads outside the cloud, while retaining the fairer, subscription-based pricing structure of a software-as-a-service model. There are still those with lurking suspicions about cloud security (though studies have shown that a cloud system is in fact more secure than an on-premises one).
The Leading Role
Nonetheless, a hybrid structure still requires a reliable, scalable and significant cloud component – and a provider or vendor should certainly be able to run it alongside a localised server. The simple truth is that the cloud now represents a secure, business-as-usual mechanism, with IT teams now up-skilled to take account of this. Will large enterprises abolish their own data centres completely? Unlikely in the immediate future – but this is not to say that they couldn’t, nor that they would not benefit from doing so. The only real reasoning for not doing so is to avoid short-term disruption to a workforce’s activity.
In the long-term, however, the cloud can mimic and then surpass all localised services. In reality, there is little in business that cannot be improved through the use of a cloud desktop. The power of cloud computing is such that it represents a worthwhile investment for the present and future.
Viastak work to support businesses looking to leverage technology, in order to streamline the way they operate. We believe in creating flexible, dynamic enterprises that are equipped to deal with the demands of the modern global economy. To find out more, please get in touch.
Written by Oliver Kiddell
Oliver Kiddell, Author at Viastak Technologists.