The difference between using something and using it to its full potential is immensely significant in the world of digital technology. Consider something as ubiquitous as word-processing software, for instance. How many office workers have been using Microsoft Word for years — perhaps even decades at this point — without being aware of its entire range of features?
If you have not had the experience of unexpectedly discovering a convenient function within a familiar piece of software, you are probably in the minority of professionals. We tend to pick up new elements of technology as we go along, meaning our understanding of them is inevitably riddled with holes: even someone who attends a comprehensive training course on a new suite will not come away from it knowing absolutely everything there is to know.
Further complicating things, the immense growth of cloud computing and networking in recent years has greatly widened this disparity. Pushed along by the unexpected demands of the COVID-19 era, companies of all shapes and sizes have moved away from local networking, trusting their files and processes to the somewhat-mysterious online world.
That sense of mystery is impactful here because the nebulous cloud computing services have a lot to offer, and those who do not understand it well cannot use it very comprehensively. Are you making the most of the cloud technology at your disposal, or could — should — you be doing more with it? Might better use of the cloud be the key to growing your business? That is what we are going to consider.
In this article, we will prove three benefits of cloud computing:
Cloud technology is not just a convenient substitute to traditional operations but a lot more
Cloud computing services allow astounding operational flexibility, which you might not be using yet
Computing cloud technology offers convenient and intuitive automation, and not everyone is aware of it
Cloud computing services are far more than a convenient substitute
In many cases, the cloud is simply viewed as offering replacements for myriad facets of everyday operations. Instead of owning a private server, you rent a virtual server. Instead of storing your data locally and protecting the premises, you task a company with storing it elsewhere and handling the security (both physical and virtual) on your behalf. And for the sake of expediency, it is easy to see why so many people — particularly managers — would hold this view. When the time came to abandon the old way of working and migrate to the cloud infrastructure, they wanted to change as few things as possible. Possessing substantial skill in IT is not as commonplace as you might think.
Most workers only know what they need to know to get by: how to access their emails, how to create spreadsheets, and other such tasks. Accordingly, if things have been configured correctly while their companies moved to the cloud, things will seem much the same to them. Cloud storage can be mapped to local drive letters, after all.
However, cloud technology offers far more than equivalent user experiences. It brings immense power to the table, and taking every opportunity to exploit that power should be a major priority.
Still, there is nothing inherently wrong with using cloud technology as a substitute for the simplest business operations. In fact, it is a good thing. Reluctance to let go of old methods and processes often holds businesses back, and a simple cloud-based operation is more secure and reliable than its local equivalent. Such a view is, however, extremely myopic.
Cloud computing allows astounding operational flexibility
Underpinning so much of global cloud operations, complex platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure offer remarkable levels of opportunity — and perhaps the most special thing about them is that they are available to anyone. Enterprise businesses make great use of this Platform as a Service. Yet, the same way, an individual can pay the fees and use them however they like.
In addition to offering huge ranges of tightly-integrated applications with APIs for third-party access, cloud services are incredibly scalable, meaning they can spike or sink your resource use as needed. When you need enough bandwidth to endure a day of heated interest in your website, it is there — and if your data use dips to almost nothing due to inactivity, you will only be charged for what you actually use (assuming that is how you configured your plan).
Cloud computing services offer a wide variety of tools for diverse users, and these tools are scalable to make sure that neither your budget nor website performance will suffer.
All of this may sound intimidating, but it is not as complicated as it sometimes sounds. Consider that the cloud providers are eager to help businesses use their systems: the more data you use and apps you license, the more money they will make. This drives them to provide comprehensive documentation and support end-users wherever possible.
Very often, this support is outsourced to cloud-based solution distributors: they are somewhat analogous to the retail chains that sell (and assist with) products on behalf of the manufacturers. Each distributor has a unique set of specializations and relationships with developers. Whatever cloud system you might use, there will be a cloud solution distributor to deal with the deployment and provide you with any training you will need. This assistance will come at a cost, naturally, but it will be worth it. Having such a system in place will allow you to launch secondary projects at a rapid clip with minimal risk. If they do not pan out, you can simply shut them down whenever you want.
Cloud services offer convenient and intuitive automation
In addition to ramping up flexibility, cloud technology makes business automation accessible and surprisingly simple. Even among those who understand how transformative the addition of automated workflows can be, there is a prevailing acceptance that it is intimidatingly complex — but that is not the case if you use certain tools.
Since we already touched upon Microsoft, let’s use Power Automate (formerly Flow) cloud computing service as an example. Offering templates and a range of connectors allowing easy cross-system functionality, Power Automate is sufficiently approachable that anyone capable of using Excel should be able to cobble something workable together with little experience.
Cloud applications offer multiple opportunities for automating repetitive tasks.
And with everything (almost everything, at least) running in the cloud, these workflows can become incredibly potent. Think about how many areas of your business could benefit from repetitive tasks being handled by cloud services. Onboarding is a great example, particularly now that remote working is normal. Getting new hires up to speed at a distance can be tricky. Through automation, you can line up an onboarding process with clearly-defined steps to ensure that each new hire gets the guidance they need without requiring steady manual support. You can then check on them periodically to see how they are doing, but otherwise put your time toward vital tasks that better warrant your direct involvement.
And then there is a matter like customer support, something that automated chatbots can transform. Powered by the scalability of cloud computing, a chatbot can field an indefinite number of simultaneous queries, ensuring that it keeps functioning correctly long after you would run out of human resources.
To Wrap Up
Cloud platforms have near-limitless business potential. No one is truly making the most of it, and that is an exciting truth. It means there is always more you can do: there are always new options for improving operational efficiency or implementing new methods.
The main takeaway from this article is that you can not realistically be making the most of cloud technology because it is just that versatile.
What you need to focus on, then, is making a long-term commitment to technological iteration and improvement. When new features are added, take note of them, and determine how they might play into your day-to-day business. When you find new resources detailing the possibilities of cloud technology, learn from them. Provided you keep moving in the right direction, you will never fall far behind the curve.
Do you need help with augmenting your business processes with cloud technology?
We have sound experience in cloud app development, and we would be happy to apply this knowledge for your benefit.