How Integrating Cloud Services into Your Operations Can Result in Significant Savings
There has been a lot of talk about cloud services over the last decade, and while some initially considered the field to be a passing trend and a marketing buzzword, time has proven that this is far from the case. Many organizations of all sizes have seen remarkable success from integrating cloud services into their operations, and some have even managed to completely transform their business model through their adoption of cloud technology. If you oversee a data-heavy operation and you still have not checked out what the cloud market has to offer, it is time to take a more serious look at the field.
Avoiding Upfront Hardware Costs
One of the biggest benefits of cloud services is that you do not have to invest in any hardware yourself. Everything is handled on-site by the service provider, and they are responsible for hardware procurement and setup. You will be able to pick the configuration that most closely matches your needs, and you will avoid the risk of investing in hardware that might become obsolete soon afterward.
Reducing Operational Expenses
The same goes for any long-term expenses associated with running the machines you are using – the cost of running and maintaining the machines falls entirely on the shoulders of your service provider. You should consider this point in detail because business owners and managers often tend to neglect the operational expenses associated with more complex data operations. If you are in a field where you can expect to accumulate large volumes of data that requires processing in short notice, this is going to be a crucial factor in your decision.
Healthcare and finance are common examples of this – and in many aspects, it seems like we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what these fields are going to require down the road. As their potential for tackling more complex analysis has increased, so have the demands of major players in these industries.
Flexibility in a Rapidly Moving Market
There is also the question of eventually falling behind your competition. There is a high chance that companies which fail to adopt cloud technology in a timely manner are going to suffer from that in the face of competitors that are fully embracing the new front. And the timeline for that might be much shorter than some anticipate – it is expected that cloud-supported organizations are going to have the full advantage less than a decade from now.
Waiting for things to catch up later is also not an option. This is not something that can be easily integrated into your operations in a few days or weeks – it is something that often requires you to base your entire fundamental approach to data handling and manipulation around it. The earlier you get involved in the cloud market and start exploring the options it provides you, the better prepared you will be for the future.
Long-term Maintenance and Support
On the topic of long-term prospects, you should also consider the cost of maintaining all the hardware you would need to replace the equivalent cloud services, as well as the technical support involved. Hiring an in-house team to handle that can be a significant expense of its own. Outsourcing is often a problematic option when you are dealing with sensitive data, requiring you to establish your own department for this. Competent specialists are not cheap, and you will need to keep hiring more of them as your use case expands and you acquire more hardware. This may be a sustainable option for some companies, but it is rare to see even big players making this kind of investment nowadays.
Security is another aspect that can steer you towards using an established cloud provider. If you are working with sensitive data, you will have to invest a lot more on top of your initial infrastructure to ensure that things stay locked down. When you are using cloud services, this is the responsibility of the service provider – and they usually have entire dedicated teams to handle their security.
And that brings us to another key point. You might be able to cover the initial investment without any issues, but you will have to scale up that part of your operations eventually. And this is going to become increasingly expensive as time goes by. The sheer cost of recruiting and onboarding competent specialists that can keep things running is going to play a significant role in your bottom line. And do not forget the complexity of physical expansion, something which can be a huge financial drain on its own. Unless you have a very precisely developed plan for your approach over the next five to ten years, investing that capital in cloud services is always going to be a better option.
Important Considerations Before Diving In
The main thing you should consider before investing in cloud services is the level of competence on the subject within your organization. While most of the complex work will be handled by your chosen cloud provider, you will still need competent specialists to work with them on your side, and to advise you on how you should progress in those business relationships. Hiring those specialists and retaining them over a longer period is still going to prove significantly cheaper compared to the manpower you will need to set up and maintain your own data center though, so it is still a cost-saving opportunity.
You should also explore the market carefully. There are several major service providers, and they are not at all alike, which will require you to pay close attention to the specific differences between their offers. Most of the time you can get an in-depth consultation with the specific company you are considering before agreeing to work with them.
Is This a Viable Approach for the Future?
The long-term prospects of the cloud market are great, for all the reasons we outlined above. Investing in these services right now is a fantastic opportunity to expand your company in the right direction, and to make it more sustainable for the years to come. If you already have an established work pipeline, it might take some time to get things up and running in the beginning. But once you have set everything up and have successfully integrated cloud services into your workflow, you are going to start noticing the benefits pretty much immediately. And you will keep noticing them every time you reach a major milestone that requires you to scale up your operations on the data front. It is hard to predict how exactly the cloud market is going to look a decade or so from now, but one thing is certain – it is still going to have a highly active customer base.