Cloud computing has established itself as a transformative force through its ability to fundamentally reshape the way organizations can access, store and process data and applications. Today, while most companies are utilizing the cloud to advance their business at least in some way, not all of them are leveraging it to its broadest and fullest potential.
The following are four often-overlooked cloud-computing opportunities for business leaders to explore when planning IT expenditures for 2024:
- Hybrid Cloud and On-Premises Integration. Haven’t transitioned all of your data and applications to the cloud? That’s perfectly okay, as many organizations continue to utilize on-premises data centers for very solid reasons (such as data sovereignty and regulatory requirements, for example). But as computing demands begin to place a strain on the data center’s capabilities, you can add cloud resources (public and private) to run workloads and augment capacity in other areas. Benefits of hybrid-cloud expansion include rapid scalability, reduced costs as the organization grows by reducing the need for expanded on-premises computing infrastructure, lower latency and improved performance (including in IoT and edge computing), and the ability to choose different cloud providers to best support specific computing needs, avoiding vendor lock-in and effectively future-proofing your organization.
- Cost-Efficient Global Expansion and Outreach. If your organization does business in other countries, you should know that most leading cloud providers operate data centers in numerous locations around the world. Leveraging these providers’ global footprints enables organizations to move their computing closer to international offices or customers, again improving performance and reducing latency. Not to mention, different countries have different laws regarding data storage, and cloud service providers make it easier to be compliant with each country’s data security and privacy regulations. If your organization is only just considering expanding internationally, cloud computing is an option that makes it possible to set up shop in new geographic areas with minimal resources so that you can test the waters prior to making substantial IT investments away from home.
- Collaborative Software Development. Cloud computing allows software developers to access resources from pretty much anywhere, facilitating remote work and collaboration without borders. Specifically, cloud-based version control tools provide a central repository for source code where multiple development teams can collaborate, track changes, and merge code efficiently, ensuring their individual work isn’t in conflict. From an HR perspective, cloud computing also allows you to tap into a much broader talent pool, as you can recruit and hire developers regardless of geographic location. This also makes it possible to forego the full-time employee (FTE) route altogether, if you wish, and engage highly trained outside specialists for projects only as needed.
- Increased Data Analytics for Knowledge and Decision-Making. Cloud services offer the ability to scale up to manage vast volumes of data without the need for significant hardware investments. Many of these services also offer robust tools that are designed to simplify data ingestion from a broad range of sources. Data lakes, for example, allow the storage of data in its raw and unstructured state for future organization and analysis. Other cloud-based tools enable visualization and machine learning to help organizations use their large amounts of collected data for improved decision support.
All in all, cloud computing offers today’s organizations unparalleled scalability, flexibility and cost-efficiencies. It has also leveled the playing field in terms of delivering more democratic access to advanced computing power, allowing even smaller businesses and startups to do more with less and compete on a global scale.
As we move closer to 2024, organizations of all sizes should begin thinking about how to extend their use of the cloud to help drive their digital transformation initiatives and foster innovation beyond what our traditional computing paradigm delivers.