Cloud is a game changer in many ways. Its benefits are widely known, but there are a number of use cases that illustrate how the cloud can be a valuable tactical asset, tying its usage more closely to revenue than ever before. This shifts the nature of the cloud from passive — infrastructure that underlies that more mission-critical applications and web properties of a business — to active — it enhances those systems.
1. Launching in new markets
Cloud has changed the way many parts of a business run. One of the biggest changes, however, is the shift it has necessitated in where the IT group is situated in relation to revenue. Cloud enables faster delivery of new products, updates, and features, with cloud resources often being used to establish a low cost development and testing environment for continual product development.
Based on this ease of deployment, businesses can increasingly leverage the cloud, especially in its hosted form, to more quickly enter new markets. Many managed hosting providers have relationships with global data center providers. This can establish an easy jumping-off point for a business looking to establish brand presence in a new locality but does not have the resources to physically set up shop.
2. Targeted delivery
Through cloud, businesses can deliver products, trades, and ad bids to broader markets faster than ever before. Generally this is achieved through the dynamism of cloud itself, as well as the access to nearly limitless (of course, based on how much you pay) compute power to better derive analytics, information, and knowledge base to target ads, products, and bids more directly.
Speed is of utmost importance to many businesses, and having a low latency connection to an exchange, whether financial or for advertising purposes, offers a distinct competitive edge.
3. The wealth of data
A business can use cloud for two major tactical outcomes with regards to data in the cloud. The first is to position data closer to end users. This is a well-known use case, and rightfully so, since proximity in data knowledge for a market can enable a wider array of benefits to a business looking for new ways to sell to that market.
The other way is to distribute data in certain countries for strategic legal reasons. Many file sharing businesses do this. Megaupload, for example, failed to consider this as an issue and stored its data in a Virginia-based data center, which exposed the company to a host of legal implications. Many businesses, however, pursue this tactic for compliance and regulatory reasons. A large financial company’s decision-making logic depends on data from other exchanges (Germany, Japan, UK, and more). Some countries have stringent rules around the border traversal of data (Germany, for example). The same financial company is now using the cloud to get around having to build a data center at cost locally, since it can opt to utilize a managed hosting provider to maintain the data locally. That data is subject to local laws and regulations, but is no longer vulnerable to litigation based on cross-border issues.
Ultimately, the cloud will only continue to shift where IT sits relative to revenue in an organization. The above outlined opportunities presented by the cloud will only to continue to expand, especially as applications and even whole businesses are conceived and launched within the cloud.
By Jake Gardner