11 Mar Cloud Computing: Maximize Team Collaboration and Productivity
Millions of businesses turn to cloud computing to improve their IT infrastructure and boost productivity. The cloud refers to applications and platforms that an organization accesses from the cloud service provider over the Internet. You don’t have the hardware or software on-premises. All you need to do is login to that platform from an Internet-connected device to use it. This configuration is a shift from companies hosting everything on-site. You often need to access these on-premises resources from a specific workstation or intranet, which makes it difficult for remote users to use it.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing opens up significant potential for companies looking to do more with their technology. One of the biggest advantages to bringing in cloud-based solutions is improving team collaboration. It eliminates the barriers that stand in the way of people using the same software or accessing shared data, since it’s hosted through a service provider rather than installed on individual workstations or on-premises servers.
Many cloud computing services have easy integration options through built-in support or a comprehensive API. Connectivity between applications and platforms allows cross-department and cross-team collaboration opportunities to flourish. Sharing features are sometimes available on cloud platforms, which provides another way to work together.
Cloud computing also has a major impact on productivity, both directly and indirectly.
- Everyone works off of the same information, which reduces repeated work caused by lost or inaccessible data
- Standardized platforms make it easier to train new employees on the work.
- The cloud service is already set up for remote access, so workers who are out of the office can still access the resources that they need to do their job. Telecommuting employees and those on business trips can maintain the same productivity levels as they do on-site.
- Business process optimization through cloud services and modern automation tools decrease the time that workers spend on time-consuming tasks. They can move on to core business functions rather than paperwork or other administrative overhead.
Outside of the advantages to team collaboration and productivity, the cloud represents major cost savings for companies. You don’t have upfront equipment or development costs to contend with, which eliminates a great deal of capital expenses. Instead, you pay a monthly service fee to the provider.
Types of Cloud Services
Many types of cloud services are available to meet your needs.
Software as a Service, or SaaS, is the starting point for many companies. These cloud solutions are applications that are hosted by the service provider. For example, Gmail by Google is one of the most widespread cloud-based email systems. Since you can easily bring in a new application into business workflows, you can easily experiment with the cloud using SaaS options.
Platform as a Service, or PaaS, is most commonly used for application development environments. The service provider sets up the hardware and software tools needed for this process and your developers access the resources remotely. This configuration replaces the need to maintain a development environment on-premises. The developers can quickly create new virtual environments to test their applications out and get additional compute power as needed.
Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, is a full IT infrastructure based on the cloud. Specifically, you have a virtualization layer with your networking, data storage and compute power. You have more flexibility for customizing this environment to other needs outside of development.
Fast and scalable deployment are the biggest advantages to IaaS, as you don’t need to wait to install physical hardware to increase your capacity at any given time. Provisioning only takes a few minutes and several clicks, which can make a big difference in your overall operation.
You’ll see many more XaaS acronyms out there – everything from database backup to cybersecurity is available in a service-based model on the cloud.
What Types of Cloud Services Do You Need
The types of cloud services that are right for your business depend on your needs and the IT strategy you have in place. For example, if you’re not developing applications, then a PaaS service may not deliver a lot of value to your company.
One way to determine the right cloud-based approach for your organization is to identify areas that are suffering from a lack of productivity and team collaboration. You can find SaaS solutions that solve their major problems and start your cloud deployment on a small-scale.
As you achieve success with these cloud implementations, you can start looking at more extensive options. You don’t have to go all the way up to being a completely cloud-native company. Some organizations put a few cloud-based applications in place and that works well for them. Others take everything into the cloud. You might find that your business works better somewhere in the middle of that.
Evaluate the performance of your cloud solutions on a regular basis to find the best way forward. Pay close attention to the feedback from the end users, as it’s impossible to gain the benefits from the cloud if no one ends up using the proposed solutions.
Working with a Managed Service Provider
If you don’t have an IT strategy or your current strategy fails to account for the cloud services, an IT company who provides Managed IT Services can give you the expert perspective needed to create a forward-thinking plan.
They can also suggest cloud-based solutions that support your organization’s goals and empower your employees with collaboration tools. A managed service provider with experience in your industry knows the most popular solutions on the market. For an in-depth look into Managed IT Services and how they can help your business, please see our guide to Managed IT Services for company executives.