Recently, the CIO of a large media company said he could only use software that was hosted on his company’s servers (this is called a “client server” system). When asked why, he said he had to follow his company’s “security policy”.
At ContractRoom, we understand the necessity of data and system security. So do companies like Microsoft and Amazon, both of which offer cloud-based hosting services. And, now Microsoft Office, the undisputed leader in business-to-business software, is available on the “cloud” as well.
When we pointed out the many benefits of cloud-computing, he grimaced, shrugged and said “I know, I just have to follow company policy.”
By blocking the adoption of enterprise cloud-based solutions, many businesses don’t know what they are missing out on. Conversely, those companies that have adopted, are reaping the many benefits. In a recent Forbes article So Far, So Good: Fortune 500 CIOs Seem Happy with Cloud Computing (10/8/2012), of the Fortune 500 CIOs interviewed, 90% say they received the expected savings and 70% say the cloud has helped their organization’s efficiency and effectiveness. These positive returns are likely the catalyst for cloud-computing growth rates of 36%** worldwide.
But let’s start with the basics, what is cloud computing? Simply put the “cloud” does what a local server does, but it’s offsite and accessible anywhere, anytime. Not so simply put, the cloud is a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.
Now that we have the definition covered, let’s talk about a few of the benefits of cloud computing:
1. Anywhere, anytime access
Users are no longer chained to their desktop or server. They can access Salesforce or Success Factors, anywhere, anytime there is an Internet connection. This accessibility makes users available to do business wherever they are, so business doesn’t have to slow down because someone's away from their desk
2. Facilitates collaboration real-time
Sequential Collaboration. In the past, I sent you a document to review and redline. Then you passed the document to someone else and they made their changes or approved. This is a called a sequential workflow, we have to work one after the other.
Non-sequential Collaboration. On the other hand, concurrent collaboration works more like a meeting. Everyone goes into a room and hammers out the details until they are done. Likewise, the cloud allows people to work concurrently.
THIS IS A BIG DEAL. Now, since software doesn’t have to be resident on your computer or server, you can collaborate with people both inside and outside your organization, just by accessing the cloud.
Now, let’s go one step further. Imagine you are in a contract negotiation with a counterparty. With cloud hosting and ContractRoom’s software, you can actively negotiate with your counterparty, keeping your internal discussions private while your public discussions are shared. You can collaborate one-to-one, one-to-many (you vs. a team), or many-to-many (team vs. team).
Collaboration can be complicated. Cloud-based software solutions like ContractRoom not only facilitate the process, but also provide a framework and structured workflow.
3. Reduce costs
Cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions allow users to “pay-as-you-go”. No big upfront licensing fees or downtime because of system updates and patches or server maintenance.
Cloud computing is helping transform the way we do business. Salesforce, originally a Rolodex automation tool, is now a $3 billion behemoth. Success Factors, a cloud-based human capital management company, recently sold to SAP for $3.4 billion. In fact, over the last 10 years, cloud-based software has improved the bottom line for departments across the enterprise, from human resources to internal communication, from IT to business intelligence.
So, for those companies that still shun cloud computing, here’s one more fact that might get your attention: 80% of Fortune 500 CIOs say that cloud computing has helped give their companies some sort of competitive advantage.* And, if you aren’t using cloud-based software solutions, it’s likely your competitors are.
About ContractRoom: ContractRoom is a revolutionary, cloud-based technology that transforms the way businesses collaborate, negotiate, transact, and contract. ContractRoom is the first-to-market, singular software platform that automates and streamlines the entire contracting process. It allows any contract or agreement to be negotiated, closed, signed, stored, and managed with anyone, anywhere, anytime, and in any language. ContractRoom shortens the time to close a deal, reduces transaction waste, improves accuracy and productivity, mitigates risk, and enhances business control.
* www.Forbes.com 10/8/2012, So Far So Good Fortune 500 CIOS Seem Happy with Cloud Computing.
** www.Forbes.com 9/4/2013, Predicting Enterprise Cloud Computing Growth.