Industry talking to customers What's this? Gaining the competitive advantages of cloud Published: November 1st, 2017 By: Glenn Weir Until quite recently many companies saw cloud largely as a way to save money. Cloud was, after all, typically less expensive than maintaining internal IT operations. Companies had no illusions — they knew “early cloud” was a bit of a one-trick pony that lacked robustness and integration of services for true efficiency. Yet, they were willing to take a hit on functionality for something that was relatively cheap and easy to deploy.Today, cloud is seen not merely as a dollar-saver but as an important part of a company’s digital transformation journey. Organizations that can manage the security aspects of cloud can considerably lower their overall level of risk, thus turning cloud into a competitive advantage.Competitive advantages Many of the advantages offered by the current generation of cloud solutions simply were not available in the past. They include:Start small, scale later – In the pre-cloud era, companies often had to invest heavily in new technologies before they could be certain as to their real value. Today’s cloud gives organizations the ability to quickly pilot new solutions on a limited basis, and expand deployment over time, as needed. This approach allows companies to innovate and move quickly without breaking the proverbial bank.Clear views – Today’s sophisticated and scalable cloud offers organizations the ability to process substantial chunks of diverse data with more speed and precision than they could have using the limited capacity and resources of their traditional IT infrastructure. With cloud, companies stand to gain actionable analytical insights.Continuity plus – Cloud providers will mirror their environments across many locations. This ensures uptime, and makes them an attractive option for companies that worry about disasters (e.g., those located in areas susceptible to flooding, like Louisiana).Excellent security – In most data centres you will find a diverse collection of hardware and software. This potentially means a wide range of vulnerabilities than what you typically find with most cloud providers. Also, you find cloud providers in “locked down” facilities with better physical security than your standard enterprise data center.Access to advanced tech – Cloud vendors are in the business of offering the newest and best technology, and try to offer the most sophisticated tech on the market for everything from big data analytics to mobile collaboration. Companies that tap into cloud have access to technology that can bring about tangible results in their business.Cloud frees IT managers to intelligently and cost-effectively blend different technologies as business requires. Unlike early cloud systems where companies had to compromise on functionality, today’s cloud calls for no such sacrifice. In fact, it empowers IT staff to become a major contributor to the business rather than simply serving the business.Cloud rising Some organizations might think they are doing enough to leverage cloud in their digital transformation. However, the standard for what is enough is being raised all the time. Consider the following facts:Ninety-three per cent of companies are now using cloud services;Hybrid cloud adoption grew from 19 to 57 per cent from 2016 to 2017;Cloud spending will account for 80 per cent of all IT budgets within 15 months; andSeventy-three per cent of companies are planning to move to a fully software-defined data center within two years.Cloud is no longer a mere fad or curiosity — it is becoming an important pivot point for companies that want to take their business to the next level.Ingram Micro is a leader in IT distribution, and cybersecurity solutions and services, providing unparalleled channel support to the solution provider community. Find out more about Ingram Micro’s cloud solutions by visiting the Ingram Micro website.