Ah, the cloud ... it's perhaps the biggest tech industry buzz word of this century so far, perhaps right ahead (or behind?) "big data" which is another buzz word that doesn't really mean anything specific in itself.
When I think of the "cloud" I basically think about computers (servers), data (databases) and applications that are not hosted on-premise at your company. Because there are less physical devices and apps running in-house, there is a lesser need for support, hence a decreased cost of IT for your business -- savings that you can allocate elsewhere and everyone wins (well, everyone besides the IT folks who are out of job. They'll be fine though, trust me).
Interested in how many small and medium sized businesses are "operating in the cloud"? This graphic will give you an idea:
Your business I'm sure is no different. Heck, even the U.S. Federal Government is using the cloud -- very few companies and organizations aren't.
So what are companies, especially SMBs using the cloud for these days? Some of the most popular cloud computing categories include:
- Web and email hosting (probably the most obvious example of cloud usage)
- Application hosting (cloud apps like CRMs, marketing tools, etc...)
- Content filtering
- Backup and recovery solutions
Here's a pretty good breakdown by company size segmentation:
What About Data Integration?
Data integration is somewhat missing from these spaces, but shouldn't be. With more and more apps and services moving to the cloud, businesses of all sizes need to have an integration strategy that will enable their cloud data to move and update, informing disparate systems as data changes.
Due to the advent of new cloud integration platforms, this is more possible than ever.
Traditionally, integrations were massive, expensive, time consuming projects the would take lots of custom code and/or consulting engagements. "ETL" projects that were cost prohibitive for SMBs, and only available to enterprise companies.
Fast forward to today and new cloud integration platforms like Bedrock Data offer much of the same functionality as a traditional ETL solution, including de-duping, data updating, custom field mappings, workflows, etc... but at a much more affordable price and easier implementation.
So if your business has or is making the move into the cloud, make sure that you have your cloud data integration strategy laid out as well.
Of course, we can help.