Will Cloud Computing Really Cut Costs?

It's being sold as one of the key advantages of cloud computing. But is there really money to be saved, wonders Simon Brew?

In short, we head towards a IT departments buying services instead of products, adding in more storage when they need it, rather than buying up more drives and configuring them as required. Also, it potentially streamlines and simplifies security and back-up policies and, if all goes to plan, there are genuinely significant economies to be made.

Outside of the balance sheet are benefits too. The notion of collaborative working is one that each edition of Microsoft's Office suite tries hard to sell us, yet few organisations convincingly utilise it. Instead, even though the obstacles in the way of using Office's collaborative options are minimal, they do tend to be enough to dissuade organisations from making the most of them.

Cloud software, however, is organically collaborative. Even a simple Google Docs spreadsheet can instantly have several users both contributing to it and chatting about it on the same screen. Just think of the extensive benefits there. The need for a central office in some cases disappears, as users can join together from remote locations wherever they happen to be.

Furthermore, collaborative tools continue to mature, and while in some instances they're still a little clunky, there's more and more that can be achieved.

Incidentally, Google tried to push this to its logical end point with its Google Wave service, yet there's a thinking that it was simply ahead of its time here.

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