Businesses of all sizes and in all industries are using cloud applications not because it's a popular trend, but because it makes good business sense. Running business operations with cloud apps cuts down on the need for on-site servers and storage, reducing utility costs. And cloud apps are easy to scale: If your business grows quickly, you can just as quickly have new employees using the same cloud software as everyone else.
Cloud apps are automatically updated, with security patches and upgrades installed by the provider, so everyone in a business is using the same software version at all times. Finally, cloud apps allow even small businesses to access enterprise-level software that they otherwise might not be able to afford.
In 2012, 6 million small and medium businesses purchased their first cloud service. The market is expected to grow at a rate of 28% annually through 2015. Cloud technology allows businesses to use technology on a more ambitious scale at a lower cost. Here are four industries that are embracing the cloud, and why.
The finance industry in increasingly moving operations into the cloud, adopting processes like mobile cash flow management. A January 2013 Bill.com survey found that a majority of financial professionals are conducting business via the cloud and mobile devices. The press release on the survey said, "those who had embraced the Cloud wholeheartedly and moved to mobile financial management have found themselves to be more efficient, effective and competitive." With secure cloud apps and mobile devices, finance managers are free to manage their companies from wherever they are while having instant access to business and financial data around the clock.
Medicine has found the cloud to be the optimal way to handle processes ranging from securely storing patient information to keeping up with new drug discoveries. Distribution and analysis of medical imaging and other medical data is also enabled by the cloud. Medical institutions create large amounts of patient data, and before the cloud era, all this data had to be stored on-site, which made exchanging important medical information cumbersome and slow.
Facilities that have made the shift to cloud applications, however, now have patient information easily accessible and ready to distribute between medical facilities and medical professionals throughout the world. The interconnectedness and distribution that the cloud facilitates helps medical institutions store, use, and share data more efficiently and at lower total cost.
3. Trucking and Transportation
The cloud plus mobile devices allow trucking and transport companies to tap into a huge array of business apps, including apps for proof-of-delivery, routing, weigh station bypass, and dispatching. Cloud apps for trucking and transport help companies have higher regulatory compliance, strengthen their competitive advantage, and empower their employees to work smarter, says Jay Coughlan, Chairman and CEO of XRS. The cloud allows companies and employees to connect and collaborate on a secure, scalable platform, providing greater transparency throughout the supply chain. "You have to be on the cloud or your business won't last," said Coughlan.
A 2013 vendor survey found that manufacturing operations management is turning to the cloud, according to LNS Research, with 50% of manufacturers already incorporating some cloud applications into their solutions repertoire, and over 90% investing in the cloud for future applications. Data collection apps are well-suited to the cloud, because they don't directly affect the systems that manage actual manufacturing production. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is also shifting to the cloud, with more companies linking ERP with manufacturing. Furthermore, manufacturers are turning to mobile reporting apps that are cloud-based to deliver secure, on-demand reports from operations data sources instantly.
Telecommunications leaders are also embracing the cloud. Businesses in every sector can benefit from cloud hosted VoIP phone systems, and the popularity of these systems is increasing rapidly. Hosted VoIP offers all the communications features of enterprise PBX, yet is quicker to install, costs less to install, and reduces call costs significantly. Nexogy offers hosted VoIP systems that are tailored to individual business needs, and that are flexible and scalable, for the ultimate in phone system performance for businesses of all sizes.