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As an owner/operator, you have a lot of tough choices to make, whether they are based on intuition or extensive research. Knowing what your peers think about business trends and what your IT staff says about new technology solutions can help you make sound decisions.
Along these lines, Microsoft recently commissioned a survey on cloud computing that lends some insight into how IT decision makers (ITDMs) can examine the benefits of cloud computing and how it might help their businesses. Conducted by 7th Sense Research, the survey found that ITDMs across the U.S. strongly agree that cloud solutions present a strategic opportunity for businesses and concur that the cloud is "an engine of growth."
Additionally, more than 35 percent of the 2,211 ITDMs surveyed are currently, or are planning to implement, cloud-based solutions within their organizations sometime in the next year. The larger the company, the more cloud computing projects they have planned or in process.
Underscoring the sentiment that the cloud is an engine of growth, more than half (54 percent) of survey participants indicated that they are looking to hire as a result of implementing cloud technologies. Cloud computing, then, is perceived as a key component of business growth, rather than a passing trend or a threat to IT.
Why do these ITDMs have such positive feelings about the cloud? While many reasons exist, here are just a few that stand out from Microsoft’s perspective:
Increased flexibility: Ever wish you could have a little more say in how you use your software? Perhaps you’re tired of purchasing expensive solutions that you only need for a single project or for a select group of employees. Well, the cloud helps give you just that – more choice with respect to where, when and how your solutions operate. The Windows Azure Platform, Microsoft’s operating system for the cloud, provides a pay-as-you-go model designed to provide cost-effective options. This means businesses can choose to use only the software that they really need, when they actually need it.
Seamless transitions: Moving to the cloud need not equate to the hassle of moving your business across the country. The cloud complements on-premise software, which means it operates smoothly with your existing platforms and applications. When moving to the cloud, you and your employees can enjoy an efficient transition process that allows everyone to focus on business priorities, rather than time consuming technology issues.
Room for growth: When software resides in the cloud, it creates opportunities to innovate. With new tools at your fingertips, lower operating costs and increased efficiencies, entering new markets, devising new business models and creating new customer experiences becomes that much easier and more feasible. Take expanding your territory, for example. With Microsoft SharePoint Online and Exchange Online, your business can establish a well-equipped satellite office, without the hassle of server purchases and deployment.
In the end, adopting cloud-based solutions ultimately comes down to what your business’ needs and goals are, not what the masses are saying. Take time to learn more about what it can do for your business.