The rapid evolution of the Internet, arguably one of the greatest feats of technological developments in history, has reached a new phase with the onward surge of Cloud Computing and the roll out of new models of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
ERP is software that enables a business to integrate all aspects of its operations so that the process in every department can instantly be monitored or controlled by managers. The software consists of modules, and as many or as few of these can be utilized dependent on the needs of the business. A small business may want to integrate its financial and sales/marketing functions, whereas a large manufacturer may want modules that manage its distribution process and its supply chain, also integrating payroll and human resources management together with assessing business needs and planning for the future.
Cloud Technology development
The old business models where organizations had large amounts of hardware such as servers, hard drives and computers in every department are being superseded by the development of Cloud Technology. At its simplest, Cloud Technology provides businesses and individuals with the means to do everything they need over the Internet, including software delivery, infrastructure and storage.
As with Cloud ERP, services are delivered online either as a complete platform or as separate components, depending on the demands of the end user. Its flexibility allows users to scale up or down dependent on their own needs and removes the requirement for those large amounts of hardware, together with the regular software updates, to be housed on site. It’s all up in the Cloud.
Initially the Cloud was all about storing data and other information that could be accessed immediately whenever needed, but in only a few years it has radically changed the way organizations do business, especially with the multi-tasking ERP programs. Businesses are also using Cloud services for their Customer Relationship Management and to take the burden of administration and maintenance of older computer systems away, helping them to cut costs and work more efficiently.
The future for Cloud Technology
Businesses constantly need effective solutions, whether it’s streamlining their production processes, managing complex financial operations or keeping track of delivery systems. Cloud providers are continually searching for new, innovative methods to upgrade services, become more flexible and store the vast volumes of data sent globally.
As the technology becomes more pervasive, it is likely that costs will fall, allowing more businesses to roll out their use of it and encouraging start ups that will not have to invest heavily in their initial stages on static hardware and infrastructure. This, of course, has implications for the major hardware companies who are likely to have to adapt to survive.
Younger IT companies that have embraced Cloud Technology, and understand its functions as well as planning new developments, may find chief information officers of large companies turning to them for solutions. As this virtual computing and its proliferation of services advances and continues to create a brave new world, businesses will need to weigh up the potential rewards for using it.