Why businesses should keep their head in the clouds if they want to succeed

EU adoption of cloud computing increased to 26% in 2018, up from just 18% from four years prior, according to new research published by Eurostat. However, while the majority of EU businesses are utilising cloud services for emails and file storage, fewer are embracing more advances cloud-based business applications like accounting software, ERP, CRM data analytics, or team productivity tools.

For business leaders, cloud computing represents an opportunity to improve business flexibility and facilitate increased growth by providing elastic, on demand access to core business applications, key analytics platforms and collaboration tools.

While third-party cloud services are often associated with reduce capital cost, including fewer FTE’s compared to traditional locally hosted infrastructures or privately hosted cloud servers, the price of this flexibility may incur some additional operating costs. However, often these additional costs are justifiable for reducing complexity and increasing business flexibility. Cloud vendors assume the responsibility for keeping their software up to date, backed-up, and applying all security patches; removing the need for in-house specialists to do the same.

The availability of new cloud hosted team communication tools can also help to improve cross departmental collaboration and ultimately, improve business efficiency. Cloud collaboration tools such as video conferencing, web conferencing and project management platforms can help to increase creativity, teamwork and efficiency. The ability for entire teams to work seamlessly and concurrently on a single project, irrespective of time or location can help to streamline workloads and decrease project timelines.

Utilising cloud-based software means businesses can also foster a culture of organic collaboration within their organisation; by unifying office-based employees and remote employees with teams across the globe and giving them the tools to build collaborative working relationships.

Another key driver in the increasing adoption of cloud technology, across both the EU and the US, is flexibility. In adopting cloud services, companies are able to scale their transaction volumes up and down depending on the immediate business needs. This model is an incredibly attractive proposition for companies who experience cyclical resource demands, as the provision of computing and storage resource capacity is elastic and can be scaled up or down in direct response to changes in the number of application users, number of customer calls or volume of customer orders.

Cloud computing vendors can also offer businesses great value by offering to handle the ever-increasing amount of data businesses gather from their customer base. Vendors’ specialist in-house teams can build internal processes into their platforms to ensure that all data is handled in line with best practice, regional laws and regulations.

In a post-GDPR landscape, businesses on both sides of the Atlantic need to ensure that they are appropriately safe-guarding European citizens’ data. Not only are cloud vendors well versed in the legislative landscapes of the regions they serve, but they can also offer a series of storage offerings such as virtual private clouds. Cloud vendors will also ensure the necessary levels of encryption are implemented to keep your customer’s data safe, compliant and minimise the risk of breaches.

Ultimately, cloud services can help to significantly improve the scalability and elasticity of a business, while simultaneously providing companies with the opportunity to improve connectivity, communication, and organic collaboration across their organisation. They also present an opportunity to out-source many business-critical systems and services, improving their accessibility and reliability. Cloud services can offer considerable strategic value to business leaders by enabling their teams to focus on the core business capability, whilst providing them access to a range of scalable key business applications to give them the opportunity to gain a competitive edge over their competitors.

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