Some of the most dramatic and exciting changes to how we lead our lives today, both in a personal and business capacity, have been facilitated by the rapid evolution of technology. This evolution shows no signs of slowing down, and there are very few areas of our lives left that have not been impacted in one way or another by our access to increasingly smarter and more engaging tech.
One development that is currently of enormous interest to the international business world is that of cloud computing.
What is cloud computing?
In the simplest of terms, cloud computing refers to systems in which large groups of remote servers are networked together, providing online access to computer services and resources. It also allows for data storage across an organization to be centralized.
Why is cloud computing so popular?
Adopting cloud technology has a range of potential benefits for international business in particular. While these benefits depend largely on the specific requirements of each business, they generally reflect a number of common themes:
- Efficiency. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is one area that cloud technology is able to assist with the facilitation of to a significant extent. Through such systems, employees at all corporate levels are given controlled access to standardized data. With specific regard to international business, cloud technology allows instant access to data required for a range of project management tasks at any time and in any place. Time zones are no longer an issue as a result.
- Cost savings. As well as identifying opportunities for increased output, and therefore greater profitability, cloud technology can also help to reduce overheads. The improved access to relevant information enables greater scope for collaboration and streamlining by identifying areas for improvement in how operations are managed and services delivered.
- Employee engagement. Greater scope for collaboration in turn leads to improved engagement among colleagues. People who operate completely remotely from each other, sometimes on different sides of the world, are given a range of new platforms on which to work together. Barriers between teams and individuals are broken down as a result. Cloud technology also helps people to see the bigger picture, gain a greater understanding of the business activities and, crucially, their role in it. This is particularly helpful for organizations that employ people in a range of locations and who may therefore feel somehow removed from the bigger picture.
It is difficult to predict with a degree of total accuracy what the future holds in any industry, and this is especially true of the technology sector given its potential for increasingly accelerating change. That said, it is generally agreed that cloud technology will continue to play a key role in international business, and some have even predicted that the cloud services industry could grow five-fold by 2020. Whether that is accurate or not, such confidence reflects a general acceptance that international businesses will continue to look to such technology to support their operations and future growth.