Cloud computing is fast becoming the new way of doing business; no longer are businesses bound to the ‘brick and mortar’ office models, employees can start work anywhere and at any time. According to insights from the 2018 Digital Readiness Survey, 78% of Queensland businesses are currently using cloud-based software applications. Businesses are readily embracing cloud computing and as costs come down and internet speeds pick up, we should expect to see even more uptake into the future.
Traditionally, hardware and software are fully-contained on a users’ computer. Cloud computing allows you to access your data and programs outside of your own computing environment. Rather than storing your data and software on your personal computer or server, it is stored in ‘the cloud’. This could include applications, databases, email and file services such as Facebook, MYOB, and Outlook.
The benefits of cloud adoption for your business include time and cost efficiencies. In this article, we will explore how cloud infrastructure can accelerate your business using owned & big data to inform business strategy.
Big Data and the cloud:
Your business collects a considerable amount of information about the way your customers interact with your brand, from looking at your website, ‘liking’ you on Facebook, to speaking to a staff member, purchasing a good/service, and telling their colleagues/friends about it. All of this information amounts to something called ‘Big Data’ – the accumulation of all footprints we have online.
Information is collected across the systems your business uses – from Google Analytics, social media pages, e-commerce platform (CMS), online booking forms, CRMs’ and accounting systems. This information can be ‘mined’ nuggets of gold, which can tell you key insights around trends, customer behaviour, market fluctuations etc. In short, big data gained via your cloud computing can provide your business with new growth opportunities and performance insights. What’s important to note is, it’s not about how much data you have – it’s about what you do with it.
Benefits of big data in the cloud:
Agility and Scalability
Many software as service (SAAS) models now allow for tiered pay-as-you-go solutions that allow you to affordably access the benefits of their platforms, without a significant financial investment. As you grow, so does your investment with their software; forming a mutually beneficial relationship.
Updates and backups
With cloud software, updates are automatic – in fact, often you won’t notice many changes in the background that once took hours to update on your computer; reducing your productivity but increasing your tea consumption.
Backups are also taken care of; particularly important if your employees aren’t the most technically savvy.
Operational efficiencies and actionable insights
With accurate, relevant and real-time information about the business at your fingertips, teams no longer need debate over assumptions driving business strategy, rather insights. Cloud computing allows your service team to identify how many customers you haven’t reached in three months, for an engagement call, or marketing to identify high value customers for a surprise and delight for being a loyal customer.
Insights that were once in the heads of general managers and business owners, or took days in data processing, now can be accessed and actioned by staff – providing your customers with an enriched customer experience.
Sensitive information which was once stored on laptops and mobile devices are at risk if those devices are lost or damaged. Cloud computing allows users complete control over which data is stored on the computer and which is stored on the cloud, securely. IT can even wipe the information stored on the computer externally (should a device go missing), so the data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
It’s important to note how far technology has come to allow for insights generated at the click of a button. Big data processing was once a tedious and expensive task, meaning a lot of the insights were derived from reactionary responses – providing insights from out-of-date data. But as our customers now have access to information about our business (and our competitors) at the drop of a hat, so too must we have the most recent insights about them. Cloud simplifies how a business operates, increases profit and lowers costs. It lets a company gather data pools which they can then analyse to create new insights about their operations, customers and their bottom line.