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Cloud Computing Enables Business Efficiency and Cost Savings

Cloud computing systems are impacting business organizations significantly. The costs in maintaining an IT infrastructure to ensure continuous service availability within the organization is becoming complex and running costs are increasing. IT managers or executives are keenly aware of the issues in managing an IT infrastructure. Cloud computing service models provide an alternative to existing IT infrastructure in overcoming issues of IT management and as a business enabler with significant cost savings.

What is Cloud Computing?

Simply put, cloud computing is a method of providing a standard set of shared computing resources with the objective of providing ubiquitous IT services delivery. Cloud computing can be understood as an approach to a shared infrastructure in which large pool of systems are linked together in public or private networks to provide IT services. Cloud infrastructure normally consists of clusters of servers, networked storage, and related hardware with adequate fault tolerance to provide service availability. Cloud computing services focus on the user, since they decouple computing services from underlying technology resulting in extremely user friendly. The need for adopting cloud services is very much in demand by enterprise organizations, government, educational institutions, SMEs and also small organizations and individuals.

In cloud a business company can use an appropriate resource to accomplish a task and return the resource back to the pool. From the perspective of the user the technology virtually remains invisible. Cloud computing service is available for many service areas and the major services are: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and PaaS. They are briefly given below:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) allows users to obtain storage, networks, and basic computing resources as a service. Users can deploy systems software (an OS) on the infrastructure.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) provide the facility to build and deploy newly developed applications on the cloud infrastructure. PaaS also has the ability to provide a computing environment and the related development and deployment stack needed to deliver a solution to the consumer.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) offers to deliver the application in which the processes are matured to run on a cloud infrastructure. The application can be accessed from clients in different locations through a web-browser. A typical example is web-based email.

The cloud computing services are available as three models namely the private cloud which is a secure infrastructure owned and used internally by an organization, like in a corporate office; the public cloud model which allows global use of resources, but the infrastructure is owned by one party, for example Gmail from Google; the other model is called the hybrid cloud which is a combination of both private and public cloud model scenarios.

Cloud models provide services that are not easily available in a normal client server based network infrastructure. The advantages of using a cloud in businesses are many. The advantages include,

  • The ability to scale up or down as the need for resources increases or decreases. This is also known as elasticity
  • Provisioning and de-provisioning of resources is automatic respectively with self-service metering
  • Centralized pooling of IT resources (storage, data and applications)
  • Billing and metering of service usage. Users can monitor their resource usage and pay for per resource or pay for each service availed.
  • Applications and services are available efficiently and without disruptions
  • Reduced costs in IT infrastructure maintenance and management

Larger enterprises have higher IT budgets and they are able to reach the global market quickly by using the internet. SMEs often face the challenge of competing with bigger enterprises and the cloud provides the much needed leverage for them to capture potential opportunities found beyond their geographical boundaries.

The Cloud Maximizes Business Performance

During the last decade, the technological advances in electronics and digital equipments have progressed rapidly resulting in massive use of hardware components to increase the operational efficiency in IT environments. This trend has invited many issues related to manageability of resources, high costs for running the equipment and power related issues for efficiently using IT infrastructure to achieve business objectives. CIOs and IT managers often come across these issues in their day-to-day working. The need to manage IT as a unified resource gave rise to cloud computing because the infrastructure is scalable, flexible, and can be managed by the users themselves. Moreover, the cloud can provide superior computing performance for business operations and market expansion without failure. This paved the way for adopting cloud computing models that are currently available from major IT and data center vendors.

      • Elasticity: In a normal client-server system the resources are fixed and are designed for certain amount of computing power, network and storage. When the need for more storage or computing power arises additional hardware is required. Similarly when the volume of transactions is low, the higher configurations and resources become redundant. In the case of a cloud, the resources are available to expand as the business data expands and can also scale down. This feature offers the availability of bandwidth, storage, etc the company can utilize the exact amount of resources required and pay for what is used.
      • Economy of Scale: Cloud computing provides the ability to allow many companies to share their best practices and technical expertise. For example, a SME may not be able to incur cost on hiring skilled personnel, but by collaborating in a cloud they may obtain this benefit without any cost.
      • Self-service and Metering: This is ideal for most companies because IT staff in a company can request the amount of resource required to fulfill the company’s needs. Cloud service providers offer an interface by which the user can request the resource, or a seat or license for one or many user(s). The user is billed for the type of resource and the number of resources used in the system.
      • Business Process Services: The cloud infrastructure can has the ability to handle repetitive business processes such as payroll processing, supply chain monitoring, automated production processes, etc. A self-service interface allows the use of this service and customization is also possible.
      • Security and Management Services: Cloud services use the same internet data-links for transferring data and they co-exist with the world-wide web. Hence it critical to protect these systems from viruses and threats related to data protection and privacy. A well-planned security strategy is mandatory for companies planning to adopt any type of cloud service.
      • Optimized IT and cost benefits: IT optimization is possible in a cloud computing because resources are configured for maximum cost-benefit. Cost benefit is high in the cloud because the cloud models supports massive scalability to meet periods of demand while avoiding extended periods of under-utilized IT capacity. Users with a mouse click can quickly expand or contract a service without requiring overhauls to the core data center. Business companies can eliminate cost on deploying and running an on-premise IT infrastructure. There is cost savings in personnel too. The other cloud benefits include low cost of ownership, which fosters higher profitability, enabling a business to more easily reinvest in their business expansion programs.
      • Collaboration Services: With the cloud it is easy to collaborate because of its ability to use networks on the internet. The cloud platform can collaborate between employees, partners, businesses and customers in different locations. Social business collaboration is quickly gaining popularity. This service enables companies to collaborate with the right experts at the right time to achieve business goals.

The services mentioned above are broad in nature and available with any cloud service. Companies that rely heavily on the internet to expand their business and retain customers require better performing IT systems where cloud computing service is an ideal option. SMEs derive many attractive benefits by using the cloud service because adopting an appropriate model for their business is proved to drastically reduce their IT infrastructure and resource costs. An SME can simply deploy an application in the cloud and avoid the costs of managing the application (namely IT staff, storage, hardware, network, etc). Further, the application running on a cloud is highly efficient and available 24×7 without break downs, resulting in customer retention and a happy user experience.

Benefits of Total IT Infrastructure Outsourcing

With total IT infrastructure outsourcing on the rise, many companies look at it as a cost saving factor. Cost saving is one of the many benefits that total IT infrastructure outsourcing has to offer. However, having just this one factor in mind isn’t enough; there are other factors and benefits that come along with total IT infrastructure outsourcing to be considered. This will help you make a sound decision in this crucial aspect of your business outsourcing.

IT infrastructure outsourcing has emerged as one of the most sought after service for small and medium enterprise. The reason is obvious; tough competition in the market with competitors who come with big and established brands to their credit. Given the scenario, survival in itself seems a herculean task. Technology and IT have a major role to play in a business setup where the primary goal is national and international brand management. Big companies have both, the manpower and the money power to have the best in IT infrastructure and technology working for them. On the other hand, small and medium businesses which are still struggling to find their foothold in the market may not be in a position to invest in the sort of IT infrastructure that can give them a level playing field with industry biggies.

IT infrastructure outsourcing can be a blessing for such companies who want to have the best and the latest technology working for them without having to drain their finances. Though many big brands have also started considering IT infrastructure outsourcing as a very viable option to save cost, they look at outsourcing for just a few aspect of their IT needs. On the other hand, a small and medium enterprise may look at it as the affordable option. Though cost saving is a major factor in total, it is just one part of the whole story.

Let us consider four major benefits that come from total IT infrastructure outsourcing.

Competitive Edge
For a company to gain and maintain a competitive edge, it needs a more responsive IT infrastructure. IT infrastructure that can respond to changing business needs, technological advancement and need for competent workers is essential. Outsourcing your IT infrastructure needs, gives you the needed expertise to handle all these aspects proactively and with ease, saving you a lot of time and hassle.

Flexibility and Agility
The rapid advancement in technology and a corresponding change in market scenario, demands a more flexible and agile IT infrastructure. This is especially essential to accommodate the introduction of new products and services faster and with greater efficiency. Outsourcing your IT infrastructure can help you setup an IT infrastructure module that will guarantee operational excellence. This will in turn, will help you focus on exploring new markets and reaching new customers.

Money Management
With the global financial crisis hovering, there is a much greater need for businesses to protect and maintain the operation expenditure of the business. Total IT infrastructure outsourcing will help release some of your capital expenditure, thus enabling you to divert those funds into your operation expenditure and giving you more financial flexibility and better fund management options.

Manpower Management
Manpower management is crucial from any business point of view. You would want to hire and maintain employees who are highly productive definitely. But you also need to concentrate on your core business module if you are to increase your competitive edge. Outsourcing your IT infrastructure will free you from the hassle of maintaining an in-house IT team. This will help you have more people concentrating on strategically important aspects of your business like sales, marketing, business development, and so forth.
It is very crucial that you consider these benefits when looking for a total IT infrastructure outsourcing provider. Keep all these factors in mind and choose a IAAS service provider whose goals for your business encompass all of them.