The Cloud. CDW Claims to get it but they really never say why. And they’re not the only ones.
Most cloud providers still aren’t quite sure how to tell their customers about the value of their services. Granted, “the cloud” is buzzed about at networking meetings and watercoolers. Carbon Footprints are reduced. The potentials are limitless. The costs are pennies on the dollar. Or so most businesses believe. Which probably explains when we first talk to clients their first question is typically,
What is the Cloud?
The concept of “The Cloud,” - aka Cloud Computing - has actually been around since the 1960s. The idea is that using one incredible machine to provide everybody’s computer needs is better than using a bunch of little computers to do the same job. The Cloud is the industry’s all-too-cool name for leasing top-of-the-line equipment to suit your needs instead of purchasing the hardware. It’s very much the same as leasing a car but to stick with the example, in this case it’s actually much cheaper to lease a new, tricked out Mercedes SUV than it is to buy a 3-year-old domestic sedan.
Actually, when you put it like that, it doesn’t sound nearly as cool. But it’s true.
Where Are the Costs Saved? Let’s take email for example. When email first became a primary method of communication, many small businesses started off “needing” their own email server at their offices to conduct their company’s email and calendar needs. Recently, companies like Google blew that need out of the water with their Google Business Apps. Pending on your business needs, Google gives you the opportunity to take all that data and use it on their system for a fraction of the cost of what it takes to pay for and keeping your own hardware data. Email accounts can be as little $50 a year. For some of our BakedFinn projects, we’ve used the free version of Google Apps. We even have our email server we use for email marketing and we still use Google Apps for our business needs. Microsoft’s server and email models are based on businesses using their own hardware. They have an intricate network of certified companies who deal with their products and services, even basing their levels of certifications on illustrious metals to show you how much their partner companies have paid for those level of commitments. With that in mind, even Microsoft is offering cloud-based variations of their exchange email for small and medium-sized companies that simply don’t need the hardware and IT support to run email and calendars.
What Services Can Be Offered By The Cloud?
Great question. The Cloud’s capabilities are often limited by one’s imagination. Since the Cloud is typically perceived as an SAAS (Software as a Service), it typically depends on what you can use as software. Which means the following services can be used in the cloud:
- CRM Software
- Accounting Software
- Internal Chat
- Video Hosting
- Audio Hosting
- Speciality Software
- Custom Software
- And everything else I wasn’t smart enough to think about as I was writing this.
You do have to be mindful of licensing - pending on your software, and how the user accounts can break down, but otherwise, as long as you have an internet connection and remember you logins, you can access your company online tools from anywhere in the world.
It’s why BakedFinn is a cloud company
Check out this infographic on Cloud Computing.