Cloud computing is a democratizing force, and software in general has benefited from its advent, says this cloud software expert.
Advances in the cloud have changed the way we interact with the world. From how we pay our bills to how we communicate, to how we navigate the city streets, the cloud’s arrival has proven disruptive to the old ways of doing things.
In the realm of business software, the industry has seen seismic shifts in the last two decades due to cloud computing, and the global pandemic has added to the shifts. What was formerly expensive and exceedingly-complicated software that only large corporations can afford, is now available to the masses.
These strides have resulted in the democratization of business software in accessibility, user-friendliness and affordability. Here are a few of the catalysts of the change:
- The consumerisation of IT
As software has increased in importance, it has also become easier for the end user. Actions that used to require reams of code and loads of technical know-how to perform can now be completed with just a drag-and-drop process. Business software has followed suit, and increasingly it looks, feels, and acts like consumer software. And with intuitive interfaces and familiar features, no specialised skills or training are required to get things up and keep them running.
- Mobile computing
The smartphone has put powerful computing technology in the palm of your hand and let your business go everywhere you do. Sophisticated yet easy-to-use software is available ubiquitously, meaning that employees are no longer chained to desktop computers. Software vendors that are more customer-centric are providing mobile editions as another mean of access on top of their services that run on browsers. Through real-time connectivity, employees remain tethered even when they are in the field.
- The technology buffet
Part and parcel of the democratization of software is the rise in consumer choice. Every day, new solutions are added to app marketplaces around the web, giving people multiple ways to tackle any business task. These app stores also give businesses the opportunity to see what other companies are doing to tackle similar problems. There used to be a handful of software vendors that a business could choose from; now there are hundreds. Because there are so many options, customers can choose how they want to manage their processes without having to learn new skills.
- Cloud-driven accessibility
Business software used to require a massive capital expenditure. However, the rise of the cloud and mobile technology have put an end to the need for installed, on-premise systems, and the costs (and time) associated with them. You no longer need a room full of servers or high CAPEX to run your business; smartphones will do just fine. The result? Small businesses finally have access to the tools the “big boys” have had for years, and can now provide the same world-class experience to their customers.
- Software you can provision
Today’s advances in data virtualization enable people to access the information they need without requiring special tools or knowledge. Data can now be retrieved and analyzed by non-technical individuals without having to know its structure, location, or format; this means a lot more people can have access to the details they need, without needing a bunch of training to get there. You can finally get rid of the IT gatekeepers and take charge of your business.
I believe that software is making the world better, but you still need the right suite. You need software that is easy enough for a tech novice to use, powerful enough for the expert, and priced reasonably enough so as not to impact anyone’s bottom line. Find a business solutions suite that is “all-in” on cloud computing, includes a large selection of apps that are designed to handle every business process and run on every device. On top of that, it has to be affordable and, in the current times, must prioritize data privacy and security.
Most importantly, you must be confident that the provider you choose has business goals aligned to yours and is happy and willing to help you every step of the way.