Companies across all industries are already using cloud services to optimize their processes, improve agility, and enhance their profitability in their day-to-day operations.
In most organizations, cloud computing has moved beyond the CIO and has reached other C-levels and corporate management.
Cloud services offer all kinds of possibilities in business management, from information storage and software-as-a-service to virtual desktops. It adds value to companies and their business models, gives them a competitive edge, and presents them with new business opportunities.
In addition, as these services are gaining traction, new and more customized models are emerging to cater to each type of organization.
What’s the cloud?
The concept of the “cloud” is complex because it’s not tangible. It comprises a network of servers connected around the world that run software and databases to store and manage data, run applications, or offer services such as email, calendars, streaming, social media, etc.
The cloud replaces local equipment and allows users to access data solely by connecting to the Internet. So, thanks to cloud services, users can access information from any device, anywhere in the world.
Cloud computing benefits organizations, especially small businesses with fewer resources, by reducing overhead and technology costs. Companies don’t need to have their own servers or worry about updating and maintaining equipment. Instead, they rely on cloud providers to do the heavy lifting.
Cloud computing v. cloud storage
The cloud encompasses the Internet in general. But when it comes to its applications, users often confuse cloud computing with cloud storage.
People tend to think that cloud storage is one of the applications of cloud computing, but this is incorrect.
Cloud storage has a single purpose: storing data in the cloud. Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud are examples of cloud storage systems. Locally storing terabytes of data would involve a considerable investment, extensive maintenance, and qualified staff with technical expertise. Instead, with cloud storage, companies can cut costs, enable greater data security, and outsource maintenance and servers to external providers.
On the other hand, cloud computing encompasses everything that can be performed in the cloud. The cloud acts as a virtual computer that allows different tasks to be completed. Gmail, Outlook, and Office 365 are a few examples.
Thanks to cloud computing, companies can work together, accessing data from cloud storage to perform different tasks.
The role of the cloud in corporate innovation
Around 94% of companies have adopted cloud services due to the economies of scale and cost reductions.
Cloud services enable serverless computing, also known as the FaaS Model (Function as a Service). It’s a type of cloud computing where users can run applications without spending time provisioning and managing servers.
This is a breakthrough for companies: it saves time and human resources because it doesn’t require extensive technical development expertise and reduces financial costs. Instead, companies can focus on their core product.
This cloud model allows companies to process different functions such as database changes, event scheduling, file sharing, etc.
Some of its benefits include improved transparency, collaboration, efficiency, and innovation, reduced communication barriers, and the ability to reach a more significant number of customers and a larger audience in general.
Companies have also turned to integrated cloud platforms, which offer broad product portfolios and enable the business to move towards success at a faster pace.
Integrated cloud platforms offer everything from computing services, big data, storage, security, and management tools to the Internet of Things (IoT).
Cloud data management as an alternative to traditional data management
Cloud data management has offered organizations a wide range of growth opportunities that can propel them to a new level.
Acquiring data management systems in the cloud is a game-changer in business strategies because it helps cut costs and presents companies with new opportunities.
The benefits of cloud data management
- Greater adaptability. Cloud data management is a scalable service: it adapts to the company’s growth and can be expanded or reduced according to business needs. Therefore, companies have much more freedom in terms of resources and can operate without worrying about infrastructure.
- Greater integration. Since these systems allow users to share data files and work on them together, companies can develop new capabilities, break down silos, and foster collaboration.
- Structural flexibility. The systems allow data to be shared in public and private clouds while being stored locally.
- Security backup. The cloud prevents data loss by reducing human error and does not require technical staff for server maintenance. So, since companies don’t need to update their systems constantly, they can innovate without risks.
- Remote work. Another business advantage of cloud services is that they enable remote work. As the information is stored in the cloud, anyone can access it regardless of where they are or what device they use. Also, cloud storage services facilitate work between companies and customers worldwide.
Cloud model innovations
Cloud computing offers many benefits to organizations: it saves time, speeds up software development, and promotes experimentation.
Here are some other capabilities it can offer:
Serverless cloud systems allow companies to run services without needing a virtual server.
Serverless services feature automatic scaling, a pay-per-value billing model, and high integrated availability.
Pre-built virtual machines
Virtual machines are virtual computers that allow users to run applications and operating systems, and they play a decisive role in developing apps or tools. They run on physical machines but access computing resources through software.
Companies use virtual machines to optimize servers, improve their ability to recover information after failures, and create hybrid environments or development and testing environments.
Some vendors are adopting globally distributed databases through redundant interconnection, data networks, and consensus algorithms to work efficiently and reliably.
Amazon DynamoDN, Google Cloud Spanner, and Fauna are a few examples.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have increased the demand for GPUs in the cloud.
A GPU is a processing unit that improves image and graphics manipulation efficiency. Companies use them to deal with massive workloads linked to artificial intelligence or deep learning.
With cloud GPUs, companies don’t need local units, so they can cut costs and use fewer resources. Cloud GPUs are highly scalable, save time, and increase productivity.
Edge computing aims to bring data closer to the geographical place where they were created, thus expanding the cloud environment to many more locations.
This strategy arises from the need to process data immediately and avoid high latency levels.
It helps prevent failures, improves IoT operations, and makes it possible to process information close to the appropriate equipment instead of sending it to a data center.
Thanks to edge computing, companies can offer more reliable and faster services at a lower cost.
The future of cloud computing
According to Wikibon’s Cloud Vendor Revenue Projection Project (2017) report, cloud revenue will reach 1.6 billion by 2026.
Many companies are already adopting cloud services because of their benefits. In fact, 100 zettabytes of data will likely be hosted in the cloud by 2025 due to the cost-effectiveness of the cloud.
Another reason why companies are adopting cloud services is to accelerate the development of new technologies such as IT, telecommunications, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
In addition, organizations increasingly demand fast and secure environments because they handle greater amounts of data each day.
Five factors will shape the future of cloud computing in business models:
The rising popularity of artificial intelligence has led cloud providers to diversify their services and focus on advanced data analytics and AI.
These services are designed to process natural language and predict and optimize information derived from AI and machine learning, enabling the processing of images, sounds, and cognitive skills.
Cloud services are also being used to personalize virtual customer-employee interactions through data-driven experiences that enable improved user segmentation.
Distributed digital ecosystems allow for the creation of marketplaces and the development of new models that improve competitiveness. Also, these ecosystems make it possible to obtain new sources and types of information for their subsequent use in artificial intelligence and data analysis.
Cloud services for AI models significantly reduce the time spent executing processes and their costs. This way, downtime and production failures are avoided, reducing barriers and improving collaboration between different areas.
IPFS: An interplanetary file system
IPFS is an interplanetary file system supported by blockchain technology. This new system is one of the latest technological developments and could replace the current HTTP.
With an entirely distributed P2P web powered by blockchain technology, IPFS could transform the Internet as we know it.
As a distributed file system, IPFS makes data and files permanently available through multiple copies in different nodes.
There’s more information on how this file system works on the IPFS website.
Cloud computing will continue to change the business world with its numerous benefits.
Today, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and telecommunications are expanding business avenues for organizations and increasing competitiveness.
Cloud computing gives companies a wide range of opportunities at all business levels. On the one hand, it offers cost reduction, greater speed, and improved system security. On the other, it provides a competitive advantage and allows companies to focus on further improving technological systems.
Little by little, more and more companies are adopting cloud services to avoid becoming obsolete and compete with other organizations in their sector.