The cloud has fast gained a reputation as a technology that can improve how businesses operate, regardless of the sector.
In everything from retail to research, cloud deployments are enabling companies to better control data, manage multiple offices and foster stronger communications among staff.
Of course, it's vital that every cloud operation – regardless of the sector it's actually deployed in – is managed correctly from the outset.
With cloud deployments across the globe continuing to mature, it's important for companies to begin considering taking on the technology – avoidance could mean missing out on benefits.
Why the cloud?
In a general sense, the cloud means moving traditional processes online, across a number of areas. Cloud-based voice communications, for example, mean companies can remove the traditional hardware-based phone systems from a business and instead use a computer-based program with the communications hosted online.
Likewise, cloud-based storage means different office sites within a company can store data in a central location online that's both fast and secure. If staff from one office need a document, they simply upload it into the cloud-based system, at which point staff in the other office can access it.
There are no shortage of benefits to adopting cloud-based technology, but any implementation needs to be handled correctly for it to be both secure and successful.
Retailers in Western Europe are a perfect example of cloud deployments carried out correctly, as the region is now witnessing a maturing cloud market.
A look at Western Europe
These retailers have moved past the usually frantic adoption that follows the discovery of a new technology and are now taking the time to plan beyond the immediate benefits of cloud computing, such as cost-savings. The businesses are looking long-term, at efficiency gains beyond basic costs.
This is according to a recent report from International Data Corporation, a global organisation focused on driving research on IT trends.
"Western European retailers have reached a higher maturity level when it comes to cloud deployments compared with a few years ago," said Luca Bonacina, a senior research analyst at IDC.
"Retailers are making more informed decisions that go well beyond short-term, cost-related considerations."
Growth is certain to continue throughout 2015, especially given the significant advantages of adopting cloud technologies. However, it's likely that cloud deployments will become increasingly mature.
"Cloud has rapidly established itself as a viable model to consume IT services, and retailers have indicated a preference for cloud to adopt solutions quicker to address accelerated demand from consumers to become omni-channel," the IDC report explained.
Businesses considering cloud deployments will have to follow the example of Western European retailers and ensure deployments are undertaking correctly, without simply seeking short-term gains.
This means looking to the benefits businesses are likely to see over time. This will a require a shift in organisation thinking, but it's certain to pay off.
Implementing the cloud
As with any new technology deployment, it's important to ensure that a cloud implementation is handled correctly, without any hiccups that could delay the project.
ITIL is the best way to ensure the deployment goes to plan, as it's a framework that has been specifically created to help companies use IT to enable transformation and growth. There is also the additional benefit (once ITIL training has been completed) of being able to use the method on a variety of other IT projects.
Of course, businesses need to undertake training with a specialist provider, one with experience delivering certifications to a range of organisations.
ALC Training is the best option – especially for businesses in the Asia Pacific. Courses can be delivered to all major cities in Australia and other key locations across the globe.