Cloud computing and business

How will cloud computing change the way we work? Stephen Pritchard explores...

Agility in the cloud

The difficulties of moving to cloud computing which also include issues such as compatibility between applications, and the risk of data duplication, have to be set against the often compelling reasons for businesses to switch.

Cloud computing is often viewed purely as a cost saving measure. Cost is often the rationale employed by IT departments for moving less critical applications and services to the cloud.

And there can certainly be cost savings. At BT, for example, Sutton cites customers that have cut their IT costs by 30 per cent by moving to the cloud. For relatively simple applications, such as remote data archiving or email, cloud computing is often now justified on cost grounds alone.

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For business units, though, the cloud offers some more interesting advantages.

One is agility. Cloud computing services can be bought online often with just a credit card and set up very quickly via web interfaces. NaviSite, a vendor that is due to launch cloud computing services in the UK it already offers them in the US has a service that allows anyone to configure a full cloud computing system from an iPad.

At the other end of the spectrum, BT has a cloud-based service, the Next Generation Call Centre (NGCC) that allows businesses to bring on board additional customer services staff in days, sometimes even the next day, rather than the weeks or months it takes to hire staff and set up work space conventionally.

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