What is the cloud and why is it important ?
In the advent of Shopify, Salesforce, and the Microsoft OneDrive, Cloud-based solutions have become the norm for businesses. Whether it is a SaaS (Software as a service) or a Cloud computing solution, Cloud-based services have emerged as a game-changer in the way organisations operate and communicate. We are going to explore what makes the Cloud so useful that more than 90% of organisations utilise it for their workloads and how it has transformed the way businesses run.
First, let’s discuss what the Cloud is! One of the best definitions of the Cloud I have seen is from Blesson Varghese, Assistant Professor at Queen’s University Belfast. He defines the Cloud as “a mashup of three fundamental concepts: the first is delivering a service, such as computing or storage as a utility; the second is multiple people sharing the same computer resource, which is possible through a technology, referred to as virtualisation; the third is accessing services via networking.”
So how is the Cloud benefiting businesses? Why has it become so popular?
Enhanced Flexibility and Collaboration
In this fast-paced digital era, businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to boost productivity and collaboration among team members. Businesses are embracing innovative solutions offered by the Cloud. Platforms like Google suite and Microsoft Office 365 foster enhanced collaboration by enabling concurrent document access and editing, alongside streamlined scheduling functionalities for project management and performance evaluation.
In the world of post-Covid19 lockdowns, more people prefer to work in a hybrid mode than ever before, therefore it is important for businesses to implement solutions that facilitate flexible hybrid/remote working. The Cloud offers a variety of solutions with products like Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive allowing users to access files, emails and applications from any location with just internet access. Teams are able to communicate remotely with Cloud solutions like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet and Slack to conduct meetings to speak and share developments on projects. Departments are able to manage and track each other’s workflows on projects with cloud solutions like Monday.com and Asana.
Automation through The Cloud
The Cloud has enabled companies to develop innovative automate solutions that automate workflows that would otherwise have been performed manually. Zapier is a Cloud-based tool that automates processes through integrating up to 6000+ platforms. Zapier can push data from one place to another, for example, if someone were to fill a form on your website, Zapier can push the form data to your Salesforce CRM and trigger an automated email which updates you on your new lead. The Cloud also facilitates companies to offer report automation solutions. Sage Intacct offers report automation for financial accounting on their online dashboards. Tableau Cloud enables users to automate their reports as can be seen from Tableau’s case study with AMR. AMR used to manually create weekly reports in Excel spreadsheets, but Tableau allows AMR to automate these reports without an engineer spending that precious time doing it themselves.
E-Tabs Cloud Automation Tool
E-Tabs have brought their award-winning report automation platform to the Cloud! Users can now automate their reports with E-Tabs Enterprise on the Cloud instead of needing the software on a desktop installation. E-Tabs Enterprise also integrates with the Google Suite, allowing users to have their chart-heavy reports automated in Google Cloud products like Slides and Sheets.
E-Tabs have also introduced two innovative Cloud-based project report automation solutions;
The E-Cloud API which allows seamless integration with existing BI platforms like PowerBI and Tableau to facilitate exports from online Dashboards, etc to fully editable PowerPoint and Google Slides documents, and
SlideCraft for instant bulk-generation of bespoke PowerPoint chart decks in seconds. Users simply upload Excel files of their crosstabulations, select the themes and types of charts and slide layouts they desire, and the questions or tables they wish to include and then SlideCraft generates the corresponding slides as custom-branded, fully editable charts and tables.
Secure Storage and Disaster Recovery
Storing and sharing sensitive data and documents over the internet can seem scary, but reports have shown that more than 60% of corporate data is now stored in the Cloud, how are so many companies trusting Cloud security? Cloud services provide robust security measures, ensuring that sensitive data is protected against unauthorised access. With industry standard AES security protocols providing anywhere from 128 bit to 256 bit encryption security and Multi-Factor Authentication, this means businesses can securely share documents and collaborate on projects without compromising confidentiality.
One unique benefit Cloud storage provides is the ability to backup your files. Through sending a copy of a physical or virtual file or database to a secondary off-site location, you can recover your files in case of equipment failure or human error.
Access from all devices
The Cloud transcends hardware limitations, offering cross-compatibility across diverse devices and operating systems. Unlike exclusive software solutions confined to specific platforms, Cloud-based tools ensure seamless accessibility and usability across a spectrum of devices, from MacBook Pro to Chromebook anyone can access it. Google Workspace is a prime example of this.
The Future of the Cloud
As we’ve seen, Cloud services have undoubtedly transformed the way businesses overcome challenges posed by modern work dynamics and it’s only going to get better. According to Gartner, by 2028, Cloud computing will shift from being a technology disruptor to becoming a necessary component for maintaining business competitiveness.
In 2024, worldwide end-user spending on public Cloud services is forecast to total $679 billion and projected to exceed $1 trillion in 2027. The future of business workflows is on the Cloud and it will continue improving collaboration and it will be more flexible and efficient than ever before.