There’s a lot of hype surrounding “the cloud.” To the average person, the term is mysterious, intriguing, and sexy. To the IT professional, the cloud represents the future of technology. Here at vConstruct, we see the cloud as all these things, but above all, it means revolutionizing business. We agree with Phil Wainewright’s assertion in his most recent ZDnet post, Cloud and the reshaping of business, that “the most important innovations on cloud platforms are going to happen at a business level.”
According to AMI research, small and midsize businesses in the U.S. will spend more than $49 billion on cloud services in 2015, nearly double the size of the market today!
But it’s inevitable that while many businesses will adopt cloud technology, others will fall behind. Wainwright quotes Bill McNee, CEO of analyst group Saugatuck Technology, and speaker at SIIA All About the Cloud conference as stating:
“Many established franchises are feeling threatened—and in some cases they are threatened. You’ve got all these nimble little guys providing a lower price product and they have to get out ahead of this.”
The most obvious example of this is Netflix’s use of the Amazon cloud to store its movie library for delivery on platforms like the Nintendo Wii and the Apple iPad. This move has left its ancient rival Blockbuster struggling for survival.
Other giant companies are taking advantage of business opportunities the cloud offers. Apple, Google, and Amazon are competing to offer the best cloud music service. Another example is The New York Times—they have scans of all public domain articles from 1851–1922 available free of charge. A lesser known, but equally interesting example is 3M, a conglomerate based in MN with operations in over 65 countries. 3M utilizes Microsoft Azure’s cloud to allow advertisers to tap into software that helps determine, in less than a minute, how effective an image is in directing attention towards the object being sold. This work has typically been done by experts, but the cloud allows 3M’s automated process to be cheap and quick.
However, many companies have concerns about adopting cloud technology. These concerns mostly revolve around data, especially in light of the Amazon outage and Sony hackers. According to an Open Group worldwide survey of 307 technology buyers, 18% said data security was their major concern.
Like with any new technology, there will be mishaps. But from these mishaps, comes improvement. After the outage, Amazon wrote in their 5,700 word post-mortem “we will audit our change process and increase the automation to prevent this mistake from happening in the future.”
Companies shouldn’t let these road bumps stop them from using cloud technology. The According to an IBM survey of 3,000 global chief information officers (CIOs), 60 per cent said they planned to use cloud services in the next five years to gain a competitive advantage. If companies don’t utilize the cloud, they run the risk of being pushed out of the market by the younger, “more hip” companies that recognize the endless business possibilities in the cloud.