Cloud computing: Empowering businesses of all sizes
Tue 26 Sep 2017 | Sam Pavin
In the build-up to his appearance at Cloud Expo Europe, Frankfurt, brand strategist and unified comms expert Sam Pavin, discusses the impact of cloud computing on businesses of all sizes, and its influence on the future of marketing
Cloud computing is now widely accepted as a solution that is here to stay for businesses looking to streamline, centralise and add value to their operations. Pavin argues that cloud, while not a game-changer for large companies, has brought forward a revolution for a huge number of businesses, in particular when it comes to adding enterprise-level capabilities on a small business budget.
In a business, it also offers an easy way to deploy tools, services and manage access. Pavin notes from his personal experience the ease of no longer having to ask the IT department in order to get access to specific tools, to get accesses validated for different systems, or having to ask an IT guy to come and actually install software on a laptop. Cloud allows for easier deployment and management in a controlled and secure environment.
For Pavin, cloud services have made life for corporate organisations a lot easier but, for smaller businesses, it has been a life-changing evolution.
Startups can leverage tools and capabilities on par with larger businesses while retaining a strong ability to collaborate and move fast
Startups are known for their fast-moving and adaptable setup. The trade-off against this is a lack of resources. A typical startup is unlikely to have access to technologies and software that an enterprise business has, meaning there is the potential for a successful business to fall at the first hurdle.
This problem has been alleviated by cloud technologies, argues Pavin, noting that a startup can leverage tools and capabilities on par with larger businesses while retaining the ability to collaborate and move fast. From a technical point of view, the ability to monitor and adapt server capacity and storage, and paying for use only, has removed a huge roadblock: expenses.
Additionally, the ability to quickly scale and account for spikes in traffic means startups are able to deal with demand when it comes and have no need to pay for it when it’s not there.
Pavin opines that cloud and the various digital services have already had an impact in enterprise – empowering competition and in turn accelerating the drive towards the cloud for these companies.
Despite this, larger companies face a plethora of issues when it comes to cloud migration. Pavin argues that the direct, measurable impact is the amount of work and expenses required to move legacy systems to a more agile environment.
Bandwidth issues can be a roadblock too. In enterprise settings, there are a lot of hybrid cloud environments but also hybrid systems where large databases, for instance, cannot be moved into the cloud because of their sheer size and the accessibility problems they may pose, especially when bandwidth is limited.
The approach to cybersecurity has to evolve – and keep evolving
A permanent challenge is privacy and security. Pavin adds that most companies have solid rules in place when it comes to privacy but with ever-evolving rules, such as having to host data in particular countries, there are constantly new hurdles to face.
Cloud security is also paramount. The cloud means access via the internet, creating an entry door into the system. With the growth of cloud-based tools, also came the growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for which lots of companies are not prepared. Firewalls and anti-viruses are not enough anymore. The approach to cybersecurity has to evolve (and keep evolving) to embed predictive analysis and, simply but importantly, education on best practices.
Technology for marketing
Thanks to their position at the ‘centre of the company’, Pavin argues that marketers are bound to be knowledgeable about every component of the company, what is happening in the market and what trends are likely to impact the business.
Tech trends fall into that latter category as they may offer new pathways to reach an audience – for example with the cloud and internet came the likes of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Amazon – or present new kinds of competition, think of the impact that mobile and online shopping had over brick and mortar shops.
Technology changes fast and while it is important not to chase every new shiny object, we have to be aware of them and be ready to face or leverage them.
Pavin predicts AI being a major disruptor in this field. Marketing to a connected fridge that would automatically place an order for milk when the current carton expires is one instance of how that world might change.
Pavin’s insights illustrate the breadth and depth of digital disruption. The only thing we can be sure of is that the pace of change is likely to continue, and continue to affect more and more industries.
Sam Pavin will be speaking at the forthcoming Cloud Expo Europe, Frankfurt, 28th and 29th November 2017 at Messe Frankfurt. To hear from Pavin and other cloud computing experts from around the world, register today for your FREE ticket.