Not too long, technologies like machine learning, big data, and artificial intelligence were considered to be less fact and more science fiction. Now, these technologies have found their way to daily life. They have changed how we see business and have made old practices inefficient and obsolete.
There are many businesses that have been operating using antiquated technology for a long time. They had a way that worked for them. While it’s likely that they would have had to change to adapt in the future, in the short term, it seemed like they would be able to continue with business as usual.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. Now, businesses that were reluctant to embrace certain technologies have found themselves behind the eight ball. They must learn how to adapt and adjust their traditional business processes to meet the demands of customers in a business environment that is more competitive.
Many believe that the shift to cloud computing, which was previously thought to be a decade away, will be fully realized within the next couple of years.
The Role That Cloud Computing Will Play in Digital Transformation
Cloud computing is where a series of servers are used over a network. These servers provide a variety of functionalities, including analytics, security, processing, and storage. Digital transformation requires a company to revamp its existing business practices and take advantage of technologies that rely on the cloud, such as the Internet of Things.
Technologies like augmented reality, big data analytics, chatbots, and machine learning require more computing power, massive storage, and a complicated IT structure. Cloud computing allows businesses to access these services based on their company’s individual requirements. With cloud computing, resources can be scaled up or down relatively quickly based on a business’s needs. This is done without needing to invest money in hardware or a physical IT infrastructure.
Cloud hosting is just one aspect of the digital transformation that is making it possible for organizations to play catch-up. Hosting Canada’s expert Gary Stevens conducted a year long research showing that cloud hosting loading times are very fast with great uptime score, making them ideal for business websites (you can check his report here). That’s why so many businesses are moving their websites to the cloud.
The Flexibility Offered Thanks to the Digital Transformation
It would be naive to see the digital transformation as a one time thing, morphing from the system that was to the system that will be. In fact, the digital transformation is something that is happening and will continue to happen as new technologies come online.
This means that businesses will need to be flexible and adapt their business processes multiple times in years to come. Cloud computing facilitates this pivoting because an organization does not need to continually invest in new IT resources. To the contrary, it’s the company that provides the cloud service that will need to keep its technology up-to-date. Customers will benefit from state-of-the-art infrastructure, computing resources, and platforms in real time. Using cloud resources allows businesses to be flexible, agile, and transformative in a way that will help them keep pace with what their customers and the market demands.
SaaS as one of the major categories of cloud computing has recorded a noticeable growth over the last few years. Businesses and apps are switching to SaaS because it means they’re no longer responsible for installing and running software applications. Some statistics show that the top growth activity for SaaS businesses is the acquisition of new customers at 89%. Gaining new consumers and clients is a huge task that SaaS businesses maintain almost effortlessly if done correctly.
Finding a Cost-Effective Approach to Digital Transformation
Without cloud services, it’s likely that small businesses could not take advantage of the technologies being offered thanks to the digital transformation. It would just be too expensive for a mom-and-pop shop to invest in the hardware needed to make use of artificial intelligence or machine learning.
Cloud services can be offered using a scalable model, which makes new technology affordable and attainable for small businesses. A small mom-and-pop shop may not need the big data analytics that a large enterprise needs, so they will only pay for the resources they will use. Cloud services are making it possible for small businesses and large enterprises to save capital that would otherwise be spent buying and managing IT infrastructure. It also makes it possible for companies to scale their resources based on their actual needs.
Keeping Security in the Forefront While Undergoing Digital Transformation
A common refrain heard by many businesses that have needed to quickly adapt to the unfamiliar environment created by COVID-19 is, “Expediency cannot trump security.” Businesses are quickly trying to migrate to a work at home environment and simultaneously attempting to maintain the same level of security they enjoyed when all their information was stored and shared on in-house servers.
Migrating to the cloud has been the solution. Cloud hosting allows enterprises to create multiple backups of their data. Cloud hosting can be more secure than in-house hosting. With in-house hosting, there is the ever present risk of data breaches, unexpected power outages, natural disasters, and brute force attacks that can cause a company to lose critical information.
Cloud computing adds a layer of security for businesses managing big data analysis. There is a higher chance of system failures with big data analysis, so the repeated backups offered by cloud hosting make adapting big data analysis more appealing to modern enterprises.
Digital Transformation in the Cloud Computing Age Leads to Improved Collaboration
There can be no digital transformation if an enterprise is not willing to adapt its company’s culture to accept innovation and creativity. This can be difficult, especially if those in leadership roles came up in a system entrenched in hierarchical chains of command.
The power of the digital transformation is that it decentralizes power and allows multiple individuals to give input with the goal of improving the product or service a business offers. Cloud computing means that employees can be granted access to see files and information at any given time and from any place.
Provisioning means that only those who have the right access will see certain files, so it’s not like the cloud is the Wild West with no oversight. However, it makes it possible to easily create an atmosphere where teamwork and collaboration are the order of the day as opposed to hoarding information.
It’s easy to see the benefit of this when you think about an advertising company, for example. In a traditional environment, the marketing side of an ad firm and the accounting side may rarely interact. However, there are several areas where marketing and accounting duties overlap. Allowing marketing teams and accounting teams to see the same information in actual time may improve efficiency and a better allocation of marketing funds, which typically account for a sizable portion of a business’s expenditures.
Clearly, any business that is thinking about a digital transformation should turn to the cloud as it is the optimal and logical solution. Cloud computing is no fad. It is the present and will likely be the technology used going forward.