Technology was once the privilege of large enterprises, but cloud computing enabled SMEs to adopt technology to provide them with a level-playing ground.
Cloud computing is the on-demand availability or delivery of computing services through the internet (cloud), including data storage, servers, databases, networking, software, etc. without physical infrastructure on the premises and direct active management by the user.
Source: XaaS: The Anything as a Service Model (With 10 Example Categories)
Cloud computing offers the facility for companies to rent or subscribe to remotely access IT services - applications to storage to servers - from a cloud service provider instead of owning computing infrastructure or data centers on the premises physically. The major benefit of cloud computing services is that the users (individuals and organizations) don’t need to spend money upfront (CapEx) and maintain an in-house IT infrastructure. They have to pay for the usage and when they use it (OpEx).
The users who can avail of the service without bothering about a large investment of money and resources. Examples of cloud computing include email services like Gmail, backup of the photos or documents on the cloud, the services that allow enterprises to host data and run their applications in the cloud, Netflix streaming video contents, or a SaaS model for software delivery.
Tech analyst Gartner forecasts that as much as 50% of IT spending across application software, infrastructure software, business process services, and system infrastructure markets will have shifted to the cloud by 2025, up from 41% in 2022. They also estimate that more than 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025 and that over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms, up from 30% in 2021.
The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation plans of the companies driving the shift to a cloud environment and the lockdowns showed organizations how inevitable was to access computing services remotely. All studies and predictions indicate an accelerated shifting of workload to a cloud environment and transition to accessing and using applications, infrastructure, and business process tools from the cloud. Digital transformation initiatives across industries and regions are driving unprecedented demand for cloud services.
Cloud computing as a whole comes under the following three broad elements, based on the technology and use cases.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service refers to renting the computing infrastructure that include physical or virtual servers, storage, and networking.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform-as-a-Service is a cloud model that provides customers a complete platform—hardware, software, and infrastructure— on the cloud for developing, running, and managing software applications rather than on the on-premise platform.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service is the delivery of software applications and tools as a service, probably the most popular and widely used model of cloud computing. In this model, the end-user will access the service - from CRM to ERP to various other business applications - via a web browser or app.
Some businesses devise a strategy to spread the load across multiple suppliers to avoid being locked into just one vendor and to take advantage of the best mix of technologies. While this approach helps companies to avail the best blend of applications in each domain or process, the challenge is the shortages of resources with skills and expertise across multiple clouds. This is where on-demand services platforms like AiDOOS can be of help to companies, particularly SMEs, to source resources from diverse skillsets and domains to help deliver your tasks as a team or as an individual.
The fundamental benefits of cloud computing include the following:
Cloud computing shifts IT spending from CapEx to OpEx model allowing companies to avoid large upfront investments. The biggest beneficiaries of cloud computing are SMEs who could not afford technology adoption and digital transformation which involved huge initial investments in the on-premise model, by providing a level-playing ground to compete with larger enterprises.
The public cloud is the common cloud-computing model, where users can access a large pool of varied computing services over the internet to help rapidly scale the business by leveraging the relevant applications.
The private cloud offers some of the advantages of the public cloud without the concerns about losing control or compromising security over data and services because it is behind the corporate firewall.
A hybrid cloud is, as the name suggests, about using the public cloud, private cloud, multiple vendors, and different levels of cloud usage, simultaneously.
There won’t be any going back to the old days when applications were installed, run, and managed from IT infrastructure on your premise. What it means is that organizations, particularly SMEs, must evaluate their current and future needs and map them to their cloud strategy, to sustain and scale the business. Companies, especially SMEs, need to accelerate their digital transformation programs by shifting to a cloud environment to remain competitive. The biggest challenge for SMEs is about maintaining a large pool of diverse skills. Talent/Task-as-a-Service (TaaS) platforms like AiDOOS can enable you to deliver your tasks as a team or as an individual, a win-win for resources and user organizations.