Small business employees discussing plans

The State of Cloud Computing in Business

10 Mar 2016 by Jessica Hall

From Silicon Valley startups to small-town businesses, cloud computing in business is transforming the way midmarket companies handle production, commerce/e-commerce and operations. Nearly 40% of U.S. midmarket companies have completely transitioned to cloud business computing, according to a recent Forbes report.

A related 2014 Intuit study forecasts this percentage will reach 80% by 2020. Consider the four cloud computing benefits that could help your company: improving collaboration, reducing expenses, enhancing flexibility and supporting increased integration.

Chart of US SMB Cloud Computing & Services Expenditures
In billions. $10 in 2011. $16 in 2012. $25 in 2013. $34 in 2014. $43 in 2015. $55 in 2016.

Enhancing collaboration

Whether employees are sitting near each other or are located across the globe, cloud computing services provide meaningful and easy collaboration. Colleagues can share, evaluate and work on documents together from any connected device, from just about anywhere, with the infrastructure only large companies had access to in the past. Not only can cloud business computing facilitate collaboration among employees who work in different locations, but it can also help with external communication and activities such as sharing a large file with a vendor.

These advantages of cloud computing align with current trends related to the concerns of companies like yours. According to the report, collaboration was one of the four highest priorities for midmarket businesses in 2015.

Cutting down on costs

Not only can cloud services boost collaboration, they also increase production and employee output. Nearly three out of five businesses report that these offerings generate momentous productivity benefits, according to Forbes.

While this can have a direct impact on your company’s bottom line, it’s also important to note that cloud business solutions also help businesses reduce capital and operational expenditures. In fact, 82% of midmarket businesses report saving money because they used cloud technology.

The 18% who didn’t reduce costs probably didn’t have a firm understanding of the numerous advantages of cloud computing, or of how their needs matched with a given provider’s offerings. Don’t let that be your business.

You can download Forrester’s report, “The State Of The Cloud: Migration, Portability, And Interoperability, Q4 2015,” to gain a better understanding of the top concerns and questions you should be addressing with providers.

Boosting flexibility and focus

Cloud computing in business offers flexibility around when and where employees work, as files are stored and backed up reliably and securely. These services also require little to no maintenance for the user and Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) professionals, ensuring they can focus on what matters most.

It is important to note that interruptions in your internet service can reduce productivity. These disruptions cut employees off from the applications and data needed to complete their tasks.

Additionally, there are a few questions that you should ask cloud service providers before making a final choice, including:

  • Can data be shared among multiple cloud services?
  • What format will that data be in?
  • What measures do you take to protect the security and privacy of my data?
  • Can I get my data back in its entirety if I choose to stop using the service?

·         Will my data be deleted once I leave?

Businesses across all industries are carefully reflecting on this concern.

“The cloud conversation often centers on connectivity and movement of apps, increasing interest in open source tooling to bypass aspects of vendor lock-in, excitement around containers or API management,” according to the Forrester report.

Facilitating greater integration

By integrating cloud and on-premise applications, your midmarket business can prolong the life of its legacy systems and leverage robust data stores. Instead of eliminating and replacing legacy systems, which can be just as costly as it is disruptive, you can protect your previous investments.

The benefits of the unified integration of cloud services include increasing business agility as well as refining and automating business activities. The former is a top priority for many companies. An Oracle survey reported that more than 80% of respondents said, “…the ability to rapidly develop, test and launch new business applications is either critically important or important to the success of their business.”

Download Forrester’s report, “The State Of The Cloud: Migration, Portability, And Interoperability, Q4 2015,” to explore key considerations for planning a migration to the cloud or making changes to your existing cloud environments and applications.

Forrester interviewed over 25 enterprise and vendor thought leaders, including Insight, for this report. Use it to help make your decision when choosing cloud computing companies and services that can improve your business operations.