How cloud computing can evolve your manufacturing business

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Cloud computing has profoundly changed how we live and conduct business. Since the COVID-19 crisis, the cloud computing market has been on a rapid upward trajectory when it comes to cloud adoption, infrastructure, spending and development.

Over 94% of businesses use some form of cloud platform; cloud technology is constantly evolving and streamlining how companies operate and serve their customers. Cloud-based systems offer many benefits over traditional in-house IT infrastructure, including enhanced security and stability, helping cut costs, and giving companies greater flexibility.

Although many businesses already utilise elements of cloud technologies for the benefit of their business and the wider team, there are still many ways that cloud technologies can be incrementally deployed and enhanced to help companies move forward against their business objective and reap the rewards of switching to a more integrated cloud computing strategy. 

From easily right-sizing your infrastructure without over-provisioning to choosing pay-as-you-go options to help to save costs and achieving global scaling in minutes - software development specialists Propel outline the numerous ways cloud computing can evolve your business. 

How can cloud-based systems save time and money?

The cloud pay-as-you-go model ensures that you only pay for the exact amount of resources you use instead of investing heavily in setting up your operation in a data centre and physically provisioning servers upfront. 

Andy Brown, Managing Director at Propel, explains: “When starting a new venture, you can start small if you do not know how much digital infrastructure you need to procure. This helps your business test deployment and ensure that you are not locked into a long-term cost of infrastructure and that your business can be flexible to change and adapt the technology quickly and efficiently. 

“This price scalability means that fixed expenses can become variable. Without cloud computing, businesses would need to buy hardware and put it in a data centre or pay for a fixed-sized server – whereas, with cloud computing, you can request resources on demand,” 

If you’re looking to save costs within the business, cloud technology streamlines your processes and removes friction. It connects all parts of the company by making data more visible to all stakeholders. For example, operating in the cloud improves your website speed and minimises downtime, which is fantastic for maximising customer interaction online and delivering a responsive and interactive service. 

This increase in speed will be beneficial for businesses across many sectors, but specifically, hospitality, retail, logistics or delivery companies that need to respond in the moment - for example, goods can be tracked in real-time to gain accurate delivery timetables or provide customer order updates - this improves service, and removes any friction that can cause problems. 

The role of cloud computing when right-sizing

With cloud computing, your servers can evolve to right-size to match the business’ workload. This is important for many companies that experience fluctuations in their productivity.

For example, there are often periods of shutdown in the manufacturing industry. On a normal working day, you might require a fleet of servers to fulfil your business needs, but overnight resource requirements might drop significantly. So, with cloud computing, you could reduce your overnight costs to only 50 per cent of the day rate. 

In the event of an increase in business demand and sales, more provisions and infrastructure can be deployed at a click of a button! This saves both time and money as opposed to placing an order for more physical hardware, which could take several days or even weeks. 

In this way, you can fully embrace the cloud’s ability to run serverless workloads and only pay per execution of a function. With cloud technology, this can manually scale up or down to match the business requirements. 

How can cloud-based systems save time?

By using serverless products, your team can now focus more time on projects instead of Business As Usual (BAU) maintenance. With cloud computing, you can manage your team’s time more efficiently as the need for tasks such as disk maintenance in your storage array, weekly minor OS updates, and replacing a UPS will become redundant.

Brown continues: “Cloud services can also autoscale based on demand, like when your website traffic increases, so that the resources can work to best serve the business needs. This saves a lot of time trying to work out the perfect time to scale out your project (or reign things back in).

“For example, if your business needs to scale up for Black Friday, a national sports fixture, or a press release, this is a matter of clicking a few buttons in the cloud’s online portal.” 

Benefits of cloud computing within the IT team 

Cloud computing can benefit IT employees by enabling them to work on interesting projects that serve the business instead of supporting tasks to keep workloads operational. 

Many cloud services are self-healing, giving IT teams the peace of mind that their systems will look after themselves without manual intervention. Many cloud software providers are also constantly monitoring the systems for errors themselves, which saves time internally.

Furthermore, cloud computing allows IT departments to respond to the demands of the business and its customers more quickly, increasing employee productivity and job satisfaction.

Many cloud providers provide easy-to-use tools to alert you to any misconfigurations, lessening the risk of a data breach occurring. For businesses that operate globally, it’s straightforward to store your customer’s data in locations in their country or region, ensuring you comply with the local data privacy laws. 

Brown continues: “Cloud computing can also be significantly more environmentally friendly when a business switches to the pay-as-you-go model, as this saves energy when you scale back down in quiet periods. Not to mention, cloud software will reduce the amount of physical hardware required on-site, reducing overall energy costs and causing fewer carbon emissions from the office.”

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