In the world of software consulting, it is impossible to ignore the recent precipitous growth of cloud-based software solutions. Since 2016, worldwide spending on cloud-based software has increased by 42% and is expected to rise another 38% by 2020. Cloud capabilities enable new streams of connectivity to take shape in our global networks that make our businesses operate smoothly and more efficiently.
Equally important to creating a software solution that is accessible is making it simple to use and efficient to scale. The more refinement and consolidation we commit to during the software design process, often the better because we end up with a product that is suitable to a wide range of users, employs clearly-defined interfaces, and is adaptable to future changes. But achieving simplicity in software design can be challenging. We often hear of “the complexity of simplicity” in software engineering. This paradox highlights the degree of difficulty businesses must overcome when searching for the right platform to meet their unique needs. Finding that simple solution often requires the maximum effort.
If you or your company are encountering the Cloud for the first time, this guide will provide an introduction that will help you look for the right solution and begin the transition so you can experience the benefits that have propelled so many to new heights.
What is a Cloud-Based Solution?
“Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.” Microsoft Azure
One of the key decision points your project team is likely to face is locating where your software solution will be hosted: either “in the Cloud” or “on premise.” For some, this decision may be a no-brainer, but for others who are unfamiliar with the benefits of a cloud-based solution this article will provide a foundation for getting started. Let’s first define some key terms.
The Cloud isn’t really as mysterious as it sounds. All servers are physically located in a data center. If the data center housing your server is located on property you own or rent and is staffed and maintained by your employees, then the server is referred to as an “on-premise” server. When referring to “the Cloud,” all that really means is that your server is housed in a remote data center staffed by a third-party. At the very least, using a remote “Cloud” server allows you to offload the effort and responsibility involved with maintaining a physical data center–supplying uninterrupted power and network connectivity, cooling systems, air quality, etc.–to someone else. Most cloud providers also enable you to offload the server maintenance effort as well (software updates, storage and memory provisioning, virtualized network hardware configuration etc.)
Current Cloud Computing Trends
The great thing about asking the question of whether or not your business should migrate to the Cloud is that there is no shortage of analysis available regarding cloud computing trends to help us make the right decision. Here are some important facts to consider:
- By 2020, more than $1.3 trillion in corporate spending will be impacted by continued mass migration to the Cloud.
- Experts estimate that 30 percent of all computing workloads will be run on public clouds alone by 2019.
- Companies and organizations using some form of cloud services:
- Companies by sector using cloud-based management:
- 26 percent of IT budgets are dedicated to funding cloud efforts.
- Gartner expects adoption to hit $250 billion with the worldwide software-as-a-service (SaaS) market growing at an astounding rate of 20.2 percent every year.
- 49 percent of cloud budgets are allocated to SaaS-based applications.
Cloud computing is giving businesses a competitive advantage over their market rivals, lowering costs and speeding up the time it takes to transition to new software and make upgrades. As many as 82 percent of companies have reported saving money by moving to the Cloud, and 50 percent of cloud users have reduced their IT spending by 25 percent.
Let’s look a little deeper at the benefits of migrating to a cloud-based solution.
Benefits of a Cloud Solution
When it comes to choosing a simple software solution that meets your business needs, you have numerous options and, thus, several things to consider. Here are the seven key benefits to take into account when choosing a cloud-based software solution.
- Initial Low Cost. Choosing cloud-hosted software means enjoying a low initial cost of ownership. On-site solutions generally require you to buy expensive hardware and software licenses just to get started! Unfortunately, with an on-site solution those won’t be the only costly expenses you’ll need to cover. Hosting your company’s software in the Cloud simplifies your bottom line and allows your teams to get up and running at a rapid pace.
- Quicker Go-Live Date. For those of you who have lived through an on-site installation you know the pain and time it takes for the software to actually go live. For a cloud solution, the initial setup and implementation are far less complex and take much less time as there are fewer variables to manage. This means that your go-live date is right around the corner from your initial setup.
- Minimal or No Upgrade Costs. All software and hardware have a lifespan. With technology quickly changing you’re likely to go through a three to five year upgrade cycle to replace obsolete hardware and software. What does that mean for your company’s pockets? You guessed it–dumping more money into devices and programs that are nearly obsolete the second you get them out of the box. With a cloud-hosted software there are minimal to no upgrade costs as there is no need to buy specific hardware to host it.
- Minimal Maintenance Costs. Maintaining a cloud-hosted software solution costs very little, especially in comparison to an on-premise solution. On-site software solutions typically require a dedicated IT staff to maintain servers, hardware, database, and software. While you may need a support person to act as a SME to your cloud software you will definitely not need as much manpower to maintain it.
- No Long-Term Commitments. Cloud software affords you the freedom to leave, as they often take on a subscription model that can go from monthly to yearly commitments depending on the company and your business needs. Expensive hardware and software purchases from an on-site solution does not afford you the same flexibility and can often leave you tied down to a long-term commitment.
- Easier to Upgrade or Migrate to New Solution. Because a cloud solution is hosted online it makes it much easier to upgrade to a newer version of itself. Similarly, your data and information hosted in a cloud solution also makes it easier to migrate to a different solution should your business needs change. An on-site solution makes an upgrade and migration much more difficult since the implementation itself was so expensive.
- Frequent Updates. The updates on a cloud-based solution tend to occur more frequently than on a locally hosted program, which allows you to always get the most of the solution you’ve purchased. This allows you to use newer features much faster than it would should you have chosen an on-site solution. Like the difficulty an on-premise solution brings with its initial setup, the updates to it are no different; they are time consuming and sometimes even more expensive than a cloud-based solution.
The benefits listed above only scratch the surface of the potential positive impact our clients experience when we build a cloud-based software solution that’s right for them. If you are looking to streamline your operations and save on your bottom line, contact our team of experts to find out more about our cloud-based software solutions.
Mi4 Corporation possesses the technical skill and know-how to execute a range of software and cloud services including developing proprietary software platforms, conducting proactive database monitoring, and building functional BI Dashboards capable of driving your company toward its future-forward objectives.
If you’re at all skeptical that a cloud software is the right choice for your software needs, feel free to ask us questions. We’re more than happy to answer them!