Cloud as a digitization engine: This is what you should know

SNP Experts
| 5 min read

The implementation of cloud solutions has once again gained momentum: The current pandemic reinforces the tendency to store IT systems, applications and data on the Internet. After all, the cloud enables flexible access to business applications, gives companies more agility to react appropriately to unforeseeable events – and provides central access to other technologies.

 

In view of the global pandemic, large corporations and mid-sized companies are more dependent than ever on an agile and flexible IT infrastructure. Alas, it is the only way in which they are able to respond appropriately to the constantly changing challenges of the global markets. Cloud computing plays a significant role in this. By moving data, applications and computing services to the Internet, the necessary digital transformation can be accelerated and new technologies can be implemented more sustainably.

 

Cloud computing: Remotely accessing real-time data

Companies that opt for an infrastructure in the cloud create a central hub for all business-relevant information. Employees can use data, storage and applications flexibly from anywhere in the world and thus work completely remotely. If required, simultaneous access by several people to a single file is also possible. There is no longer any need to copy documents, which is often prone to errors, and data always remains consistent. After all, cloud-based applications offer transparency in real time: authorized users receive a comprehensive overview of time-critical processes and can control or optimize them immediately. Even complex data streams can be evaluated quickly and efficiently. This enables employees to better manage data and make decisions based on up-to-date information.

 

Organizing collaboration with partners efficiently and securely

Cloud-based data storage not only has a positive effect on the interaction of employees from different company departments and branches. Collaboration with customers, service providers and other partners can also be organized more efficiently. All stakeholders in a value chain can be integrated into the cloud infrastructure. If they access one and the same system or at least parts of it, they are able to react much faster to changing requirements – a clear competitive advantage, especially in times of crises.

In this context, it is important to define rules for access management, so that stakeholders can access only the data and applications that are relevant to them. After all, when it comes to the implementation of cloud solutions, the protection of sensitive data is still seen as a challenge by many companies. According to Cloud Monitor 2020, there are still security concerns, especially when using public clouds. Seven out of ten non-users think that unauthorized data access could occur. In contrast, user companies consider the public cloud to be less vulnerable than their own IT, and the solution is also expected to become increasingly secure.

 

Navigating through the pandemic with a maximum of flexibility and scalability

A higher degree of flexibility and scalability is a powerful argument for many companies to outsource applications and data to the Internet. Cloud-based IT services such as computing power, storage space or software packages can be accurately compiled and utilized as usage patterns fluctuate. A well-chosen provider who is established on the market adjusts the scope to the actual demand at short notice. Therefore, not only can peak times in e-commerce, such as the pre-Christmas and Easter season, be cushioned in a more efficient way. Capacity adjustment is also possible in view of increased access from remote working environments.

Further, the cloud offers flexibility in terms of the available usage models. While private clouds are exclusively available to a single company and are usually operated locally, public cloud providers rent out capacity to several or many users. Companies that opt for a hybrid and multi-cloud can combine both models as required.  

 

Best possible use of new technologies

The high performance of the cloud also makes it possible to leverage the enormous potential of evolving technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Machine Learning. A switch to a cloud solution pays off, for example, in terms of professional Big Data management. Thanks to the cloud, companies are able to efficiently collect and analyze huge amounts of data and subsequently visualize instructions required for taking action.

In the cloud, digital trends such as AI-supported chatbots can also be used more effectively for customer communication. In return, this can have a positive effect on customer satisfaction, as information are continuously available.

 

Preserving IT resources – and strategically driving the digital transformation

The principle of cloud computing is designed not least to reduce costs. A number of investments in the IT infrastructure, some of which are quite considerable, are no longer required. For example, essential hardware and software do not have to be purchased at high cost. Instead, services are rented from external service providers in the form of monthly or annual subscriptions.

Cloud-based applications are also easier to manage, which has a positive effect on IT department resources. Time-consuming and often cost-intensive maintenance work, especially on hardware, is no longer necessary because upgrades to the latest technology are carried out regularly by the provider. The capital that is not tied up and the IT capacities that are freed can instead be channeled by companies into important transformation projects that strategically drive the digital transformation forward.

 

Migration to the cloud: moving data quickly and securely

In view of the many benefits, now at the very latest is the time to promote the use of cloud services. Alas, before that, the migration to the cloud must be mastered. In particular, the migration of inhomogeneous systems with a long operating history is a demanding task. Legacy systems must be dissolved and data must be newly merged in the cloud environment. Decision-makers should be aware that the cloud conversion is challenging even for IT experts. They would do well to declare the topic a core component of the transformation strategy and to plan the progressive digitization of the company holistically. This also includes integrating know-how from external migration experts at an early stage. With competent advice and the use of innovative software solutions, a cloud migration can be realized with minimal risk and virtually no downtime.

 

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