In these technology-driven times, organizations that do not have an online presence risk going obsolete or losing credibility. Going digital has become a necessity for enterprises to remain viable, provide good customer experiences, and remain competitive.
Since success in this context is generally measured in terms of customer experience, digital transformation becomes a key business requirement. And among the many proven technologies driving digital transformation and offering great customer experience, cloud computing is at the forefront.
This technology enables enterprises to have a robust vision for the future, accelerate digital transformation services, and provide a better experience for the customers.
Businesses have begun to realize the inevitability and benefits of going the cloud way. In a technology-driven world with growing competition, the focus is on garnering transformational benefits rather than settling for the incremental ones.
To achieve this, businesses must set up a robust technology infrastructure. However, for any enterprise digital transformation initiative, the focus should be on remaining flexible and embracing the industry trends.
Cloud computing is slowly becoming an integral part of the enterprises that are embarking on their digital transformation journey. As the digital future seems nearer than ever, the drivers of this future, i.e., the software developers, need to gain a complete understanding of the cloud and its nitty-gritty.
Further in this blog, we will try to explore cloud computing in depth and its benefits for developers and businesses at large.
What Is Cloud Computing?
The process involves the storage, maintenance, management, analytics, processing, and security of data by leveraging a network of internet-based servers.
It is in sharp contrast to the data stored on a personal computer or a local server. The distributed storage and management of data help enterprises to make more informed and accurate decisions.
Further, this helps them to improve productivity, streamline processes, save costs, innovate, accelerate time to market, enhance customer experiences, and achieve ROI.
Types of Cloud Computing
The cloud consists of three types of services, viz., Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
In SaaS, a third-party cloud provider hosts software applications and delivers them on demand to customers over the World Wide Web. Some examples of SaaS are Google Apps, Dropbox, Salesforce, BigCommerce, MailChimp, HubSpot, and DocuSign, among others.
In PaaS, the third-party provider delivers software and hardware tools, operating environments, database, or computing platforms that are needed to develop applications over the internet. The examples include Windows Azure, Force.com, Apache Stratos, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Heroku, among others.
Similarly, in IaaS, a third-party vendor offers access to computing resources, viz., storage, data center space, security, scaling, network components, or servers, among others. Some examples are Linode, DigitalOcean, and Rackspace.
How the Cloud Can Play a Role in Digital Business Transformation
To disrupt the status quo and stay competitive, enterprises embrace digital transformation services wherein they need to upgrade their legacy IT infrastructure.
Moreover, to enable digital disruption, enterprises need to—besides streamlining their business processes—leverage advanced technologies.
These include Augmented Reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning, Big Data Analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), among others. Since these technologies demand heavy computer power and storage space, cloud computing comes as a savior. It offers a high ease of deployment by allowing developers to configure automated builds while preventing any downtime. It takes away the scalability issues by making quick and easy scaling of applications possible.
The overall benefits to be accrued from the cloud during the digital transformation process are as follows.
To ensure the success of any digital transformation strategy, the business processes of enterprises can be changed many times. The cloud allows any organization to save costs by not investing in setting up and maintaining costly IT resources in-house, such as software or hardware.
This way the organization can remain flexible and agile, as it can leverage cloud-based resources based on its requirements. For example, if a project needs greater computing and storage power, the organization can scale up its on-demand cloud requirement by paying an extra amount. The reverse can also hold true, leading to the optimization of resources and cost savings.
Any information stored in-house can be vulnerable to situations like security breaches, unexpected system downtime, and natural or man-made disasters. Since all data, including backup data, are contained within a singular IT system, any security-related issue can wipe it clean.
On the other hand, cloud hosting can maintain multiple backups of data in a distributed system. So, even if one node gets affected, the data in other nodes can remain unaffected. In cases of big data analysis where big chunks of data are involved, any system failure or security breach can have devastating consequences.
Any digital transformation implementation entails continuous innovation, testing, and delivery of products or services. This is where the cloud can help enterprises with platforms to build, test, and deliver/deploy applications, bypassing the need for a complex IT architecture.
So if an enterprise builds multiple products, then the cloud platform can allow quick prototyping of such applications, saving cost and time in the process.
Implementing digital transformation solutions would require every stakeholder in the organization to embrace a culture of collaboration. This is congruous to the requirements of DevOps that aim at breaking hierarchies or silos to achieve creativity, quality, innovation, efficiency, and glitch-free delivery.
With cloud computing, different teams can work seamlessly in parallel to develop, test, and deliver applications. It allows access to computing resources, anywhere and anytime. Furthermore, the optimal delegation of authority can be assured by controlling the level of user authority.
Cloud services are highly flexible in meeting user needs. They offer a scalable model wherein enterprises only pay for services that have been used. Thus, there is no need to set up and maintain a costly IT infrastructure (hardware and software), thereby saving capital expenditures in the process.
Cloud – An Imperative for the Digital Future
The need to enable digital transformation has become imperative, given the cost of setting up and maintaining a robust and functioning IT infrastructure.
As business processes become agile with the inclusion of new technologies and the need to uphold greater user experiences, migrating to the cloud environment becomes a necessity. It helps enterprises to bypass the challenges of legacy systems and build test-driver-quality software applications consistently.
The increasing demand for the cloud-based infrastructure is opening new avenues. One thing is certain: The cloud is going to be even bigger than what it is today. Having said that, developers can fathom how critical it can be for their growth and career acceleration.