Recently, we took a look at what "the cloud" really is. While it's regularly used as a marketing buzzword, cloud computing really has changed the face of the workplace for hundreds of thousands of people.
Today, we'll take a look at some major ways that cloud computing has enabled all-new methods of working and processing information. To read about how web automation company Zapier has used these principles and more to create a 100% distributed workforce, see Tenfold's article on cloud technology's effect on business models.
Working from Home
Until recently, working from home (or telecommuting) wasn't something many people could do. The vast majority of jobs required all workers present onsite at a central company location. Use of company resources, meetings, and required work were were only possible on location.
But that's changed drastically in the 2010s. Now, millions of employees work from home at least part of the time and some can even telecommute full-time. This provides lots of benefits, such as zero commute time, flexibility, and less pressure from being in the office.
Let's discuss the technologies that have made this possible.
Email has been a business communication staple for decades, but sometimes it just doesn't do the job, especially in telecommuting cases. New cloud services allow users in different locations to communicate effortlessly.
Tools like Skype and GoToMeeting use your computer's built-in microphone and camera to provide live video chats with others. This allows for easy meetings, even if every attendee is somewhere different.
Day-to-day text-based chat is made easy with cloud tools, too. Software like Microsoft Teams allows a company to set up various channels for discussion, hold group messages, share files with each other, and much more. Some employees have exchanged thousands of messages with their coworkers without even hearing their voices!
Before cloud computing was so popular, many business sectors used software that was only installed on select computers. For instance, an accountant working for a small business might use QuickBooks on their work computer. Without cloud computing, the accountant had to use the company computer that had QuickBooks installed to get work done.
Now, QuickBooks offers a cloud-based version that you can access from any machine. So if this accountant was having car trouble, he could work from home and easily access QuickBooks from his own PC. This is also the case with tools like Microsoft Office, which offer a lighter cloud-based version you can access from any browser.
Cloud Servers Enable Businesses to Do More
Not every business can afford the up-front costs of a server or have the space to hold one. Now, thanks to cloud tools like Microsoft Azure, any company can "borrow" processing power from major companies like Microsoft for as long as they need it.
If your website needs to handle more concurrent users during a heavy season, you can simply increase your cloud resources with a few clicks. You can run simulations in a fraction of the time using powerful machines from services like Azure. There are so many possible applications depending on your firm's sector.
An Always-Online Workplace
Cloud computing lets those who live half an hour away from their company telecommute, but this is also true of employees who live halfway around the world. Many web companies have customer service representatives worldwide, so customers can get help nearly 24/7. While people in the United States are asleep, someone across the globe is awake and ready.
Allowing businesses to easily hire people from around the world increases their options and brings different perspectives.
Cloud Computing's Many Business Benefits
Cloud computing has lots of additional strengths, such as integration. You can easily link QuickBooks, as we mentioned, with a tool like SalesForce. Many popular cloud services are also available as mobile apps so employees can keep up no matter what device they're using.
It's an exciting time for companies who can embrace cloud computing and revolutionize their business. Whether they introduce some cloud tools to their existing processes or an entrepreneur builds a new business around cloud computing, the benefits are huge. The next few decades will certainly bring exciting developments as cloud technology advances even further.