Six things your business needs to know about cloud computing.
For many folks in forestry, hearing about “cloud technologies” may create a strong compulsion to run away and into an open pine stand full of briars. There’s a good chance you didn’t get into the natural resources to be up on – or even interested in – technology. However, an inability to harness the power of cloud computing in your operations could limit your growth and ability to serve your customer’s and employee’s changing needs. We hope this plain language post on the cloud provides some context for what continues to be biggest shift in how businesses use technology.
1. The most powerful business solutions (and your smartphone) rely on cloud computing.
The most capable and cost effective business technologies are based on – and enabled by – cloud computing. Not using computing platforms is like building a house by milling all the materials when you could use standard sized materials like 2X4s and 4X8 foot sheeting such as plywood and sheetrock which fit together uniformly. (you’d really have to want to do all that work!) Technology providers who have yet to embrace cloud-based computing platforms will spend more to deliver less since they will need to build out features that computing platforms have out of the box.
2. Always getting better.
No one likes to buy software and install it on a computer only to find out it’s rarely – or never – updated as the rest of the tech world changes, or worse yet becomes obsolete and must be replaced. In our experience, cloud computing technologies are always up to date and continuously improving. The technology landscape is rapidly changing, and the business world likes the fact that a tech provider is taking care of all the messy maintenance and updates so they don’t have to.
3. More functionality and flexibility.
Need to enable more than just email on company smartphones? Many cloud-based software are multi-user based (e.g. many can edit at once) with tools which can function across multiple devices and people at once through apps. These phone and web apps can function on a single source of data making it much easier to collaborate and be on the same page.
4. Reduced (or no) dependency on physical offices.
Since cloud-based computing solutions are in the cloud, they don’t rely on computers in offices. This means software can function independent of office power or internet. One does not need to be at the office to access information, or rely on an office computer because it has a certain software or files on it. Our experience is that cloud-based software is more reliable than software which runs on a personal computer. The value of systems being independent of offices has really hit home during Covid-19 when people needed to distance and still use business tools and data and share information between staff. One client stated that “Had we not worked with you all to move our forest technology to the commercial cloud, we would have been dead in the water for running our operations during several staff quarantines”.
5. More secure.
We know of many organizations which have been hacked or had their server data held ransom in part because they have delayed cloud adoption. These events come at a great cost and disruption to operations. In the commercial cloud (Amazon or Azure, etc) there are much more security options, and the machines being used are kept up to date and secure for you while also being backed up.
6. Highly Configurable.
Cloud-based computing platforms offer “low code” functionality that moderately technical users can manage. This allows components and features to be re-arranged in different ways to meet your needs. Low code, configurable computing is a huge movement for many reasons including reduced costs and avoidance of risks associated with custom on premise software. One our favorite benefits of configurable apps is that we can set up tools for new projects in hours.
Many organizations are avoiding adoption of the commercial cloud because they heard something in the news or don’t feel they understand what it is. We hope this post provides confidence as you walk towards a future which will be increasingly digital and where business success is inextricably linked to technology success.
In a recent post, the Motley Fool stated the cloud is “[the]#1 technology for the next decade. And ultimately be the foundation on which all smaller technologies in the near future are built.”
In a follow-on topic we’ll talk about some ways businesses can harness the potential of cloud computing.