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How to Use Cloud Computing to Drive Online Business

Published on 21 May 13
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Although there is plenty of hyperbole to be found when examining cloud computing prior to adoption, there are some claims made by advocates of this type of IT platform which are more than mere promotional bluster. The cloud can indeed be used to drive growth in revenues generated online, while also allowing businesses to lower the costs of hosting such services.

Taking advantage of the online marketplace is essential for any modern business that wants to achieve its goals for expansion and improve its long term prospects of survival, with cloud computing offering the ability to benefit from the proliferation of web connectivity.

But how can your company use cloud computing to drive online business and what are the key solutions from within this family of technologies which will make it easier and cheaper than you might imagine?
Cloud Hosting

The core of a successful online business has to be its website, since this will be the digital shop window through which customers and clients first learn about the products and services on offer.

Whether the site is simply a conduit for information and advertising or a fully transactional e-commerce outlet, it must be a robust and reliable point of contact. Site downtime can compromise the reputation of your company and lead to loss of business, so resilience is just as important as good design.

Some companies choose to host their websites in-house, although there are obvious pitfalls to this approach, including the fact that you will be responsible for the maintenance of the hardware and also the cost associated with procurement and installation.

Bandwidth may also be an issue for those hosting sites internally, since you may not be able to access the kind of connectivity which allows your site to deal with demand during peak usage periods. Cloud hosting for business sites and a variety of other services can put businesses in a much better position, allowing you to pass the responsibility for resilience over to a third party provider which will be well equipped to live up to expectations.

Aside from the benefits to basic functionality, uptime and cost which come from cloud hosting, there are other areas in which this type of solution can give you an advantage. When a website is hosted externally, remote access to management tools can also be granted. This means that staff can access the site and make alterations whether they are in the office, on the move or at home. Increasing flexibility in this way will enhance productivity, which will in turn lead to greater business agility and allow a faster growth rate than might otherwise have been possible.
CRM and Software in the Cloud

Cloud computing is most commonly used to power SaaS (software as a service), which means that it can not only remove the need for businesses to worry about hardware and infrastructural elements of an IT setup, but also make it easier for them to adopt and use the latest programs to enhance operational capabilities.

This is again something that would have been handled internally in the past, if only because there was no alternative available. But now that businesses can invest in software solutions as a utility like any other, there is no need to rely on costly, complicated services.

Running CRM (customer relationship management) software in the cloud is one particularly pertinent example of how this approach can be beneficial to the growth of a business.

If you are operating online then you will be dealing with customers through a variety of communicative conduits, which can cause problems to the process of fielding questions, taking orders and fulfilling customers' needs. With CRM software hosted in the cloud, matters can be streamlined, with the same benefits to cost, resilience and scalability available here as in other areas.

The cloud is also capable of powering a wide variety of other software platforms, allowing you to handle almost any type of service without having to worry about installing programs on individual devices, acquiring the correct licenses and giving all staff the opportunity to gain equal access.
Future Adaptability

By now there are probably still a few businesses which remain unconvinced of the cloud's worthiness in spite of the compelling supporting evidence. But to ignore the necessity of cloud adoption in the face of a need for online growth is to take a very short-sighted view of the market. While the growth of online revenues has been significant in recent years, there is still an argument that most business is conducted in the real world.

This may be true for the time being, but with the unstoppable growth of web connectivity and the clear eagerness to harness the internet among business and consumer users, the balance will continue to shift towards the digital end of the spectrum. As such it is vital for firms to be prepared for any changes which rock the market in the future, because to be complacent about this inevitability will effectively hand the advantage to your competitors in a neatly wrapped package.

The malleability of the cloud means that it can be used for virtually anything, whether hosting a website and business software suite or providing the underlying IT infrastructure for an entire company. Since the cloud can morph to suit the needs of individual companies, it is perfectly placed to offer long term adaptability.

Cloud providers can update hardware and software at data centres, which means that businesses do not need to worry about shouldering this responsibility in-house. The benefits are then passed on to cloud users which can in turn help to stimulate online growth.

The cloud can be seen as both a tool for progress and a weapon in the battle for supremacy within whichever market you operate. So to be prepared for a world in which the cloud is virtually ubiquitous is advisable: some experts even believe it will become so common that the word and concept will slip out of usage. Improved reliability and cost reduction are becoming realities for many companies already thanks to the cloud, so it is important not to ignore this type of service.

This article was supplied by Jamie Garner, an employee of business telecoms and cloud computing provider Daisy Group.

Although there is plenty of hyperbole to be found when examining cloud computing prior to adoption, there are some claims made by advocates of this type of IT platform which are more than mere promotional bluster. The cloud can indeed be used to drive growth in revenues generated online, while also allowing businesses to lower the costs of hosting such services.

Taking advantage of the online marketplace is essential for any modern business that wants to achieve its goals for expansion and improve its long term prospects of survival, with cloud computing offering the ability to benefit from the proliferation of web connectivity.

But how can your company use cloud computing to drive online business and what are the key solutions from within this family of technologies which will make it easier and cheaper than you might imagine?

Cloud Hosting

The core of a successful online business has to be its website, since this will be the digital shop window through which customers and clients first learn about the products and services on offer.

Whether the site is simply a conduit for information and advertising or a fully transactional e-commerce outlet, it must be a robust and reliable point of contact. Site downtime can compromise the reputation of your company and lead to loss of business, so resilience is just as important as good design.

Some companies choose to host their websites in-house, although there are obvious pitfalls to this approach, including the fact that you will be responsible for the maintenance of the hardware and also the cost associated with procurement and installation.

Bandwidth may also be an issue for those hosting sites internally, since you may not be able to access the kind of connectivity which allows your site to deal with demand during peak usage periods. Cloud hosting for business sites and a variety of other services can put businesses in a much better position, allowing you to pass the responsibility for resilience over to a third party provider which will be well equipped to live up to expectations.

Aside from the benefits to basic functionality, uptime and cost which come from cloud hosting, there are other areas in which this type of solution can give you an advantage. When a website is hosted externally, remote access to management tools can also be granted. This means that staff can access the site and make alterations whether they are in the office, on the move or at home. Increasing flexibility in this way will enhance productivity, which will in turn lead to greater business agility and allow a faster growth rate than might otherwise have been possible.

CRM and Software in the Cloud

Cloud computing is most commonly used to power SaaS (software as a service), which means that it can not only remove the need for businesses to worry about hardware and infrastructural elements of an IT setup, but also make it easier for them to adopt and use the latest programs to enhance operational capabilities.

This is again something that would have been handled internally in the past, if only because there was no alternative available. But now that businesses can invest in software solutions as a utility like any other, there is no need to rely on costly, complicated services.

Running CRM (customer relationship management) software in the cloud is one particularly pertinent example of how this approach can be beneficial to the growth of a business.

If you are operating online then you will be dealing with customers through a variety of communicative conduits, which can cause problems to the process of fielding questions, taking orders and fulfilling customers' needs. With CRM software hosted in the cloud, matters can be streamlined, with the same benefits to cost, resilience and scalability available here as in other areas.

The cloud is also capable of powering a wide variety of other software platforms, allowing you to handle almost any type of service without having to worry about installing programs on individual devices, acquiring the correct licenses and giving all staff the opportunity to gain equal access.

Future Adaptability

By now there are probably still a few businesses which remain unconvinced of the cloud's worthiness in spite of the compelling supporting evidence. But to ignore the necessity of cloud adoption in the face of a need for online growth is to take a very short-sighted view of the market. While the growth of online revenues has been significant in recent years, there is still an argument that most business is conducted in the real world.

This may be true for the time being, but with the unstoppable growth of web connectivity and the clear eagerness to harness the internet among business and consumer users, the balance will continue to shift towards the digital end of the spectrum. As such it is vital for firms to be prepared for any changes which rock the market in the future, because to be complacent about this inevitability will effectively hand the advantage to your competitors in a neatly wrapped package.

The malleability of the cloud means that it can be used for virtually anything, whether hosting a website and business software suite or providing the underlying IT infrastructure for an entire company. Since the cloud can morph to suit the needs of individual companies, it is perfectly placed to offer long term adaptability.

Cloud providers can update hardware and software at data centres, which means that businesses do not need to worry about shouldering this responsibility in-house. The benefits are then passed on to cloud users which can in turn help to stimulate online growth.

The cloud can be seen as both a tool for progress and a weapon in the battle for supremacy within whichever market you operate. So to be prepared for a world in which the cloud is virtually ubiquitous is advisable: some experts even believe it will become so common that the word and concept will slip out of usage. Improved reliability and cost reduction are becoming realities for many companies already thanks to the cloud, so it is important not to ignore this type of service.

This article was supplied by Jamie Garner, an employee of business telecoms and cloud computing provider Daisy Group.

This blog is listed under Cloud Computing Community

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