Cloud computing is enabling a wide range of new businesses to use a secure private cloud infrastructure to power their business. Whether they are offering B2B or B2C products, the ability to avoid internal IT costs and only pay for what is needed has cut costs both in terms of hardware and hiring internal expertise, allowing businesses to invest more in other areas or pass on the savings to the consumer.
And with secure managed cloud application services it also means that companies can avoid security and reliability worries, and enjoy the fact backups are now a maintenance task for someone else to handle for them.
Starting with business solutions, Leancall is a cloud based predictive dialling solution which doesn’t require any hardware or even contracts – you simply choose a payment plan and the software runs through a web browser. It operates on a pay-as-you-go basis which is only really possible if they’re able to use the cloud to rapidly scale to meet usage – something which would be impossible if additional customers meant adding new hardware on a daily basis.
In terms of business administration, project management and accounting services have long made use of cloud computing. The likes of Freshbooks and Kashflow both provide invoicing and bookkeeping for businesses. For project management, there are a million simple task applications, including the extremely attractive Wunderlist, and the long-established RememberTheMilk.
Meanwhile combining two massive trends at the moment, Kaggle uses cloud computing to provide a crowdsourcing platform for big data. That means data analysis and interpretation suddenly becomes available to businesses which can’t afford to hire data scientists on their team, as suddenly the global pool of data talent becomes available.
Zillabyte, formed by three former Google and Intel engineers, not only provides users with data sets, but also the algorithms and processing to do something with them.
In March they were also joined by InsightsOne, which processes masses of web data in real time against structured data sets to determine which customers will want to see offers, and when. Meanwhile cloud-based analytics and business insights startup Cetas was acquired after just 18 months by VMWare particularly because of the elasticity of the way their software utilises resources.
Mixing business and consumer products in the cloud:
There are even more products to consider when you look at the crossover between business and consumer services, such as Google with Google Apps for Business comprising of Gmail, Google Docs etc, and Microsoft now offering Office 365 for online collaboration in addition to Hotmail.
Individuals and business use also crosses over with popular online storage services such as Dropbox which has over 50 million users. And customers are paying businesses via cloud-based payment and commerce solutions, such as subscription service provider Zuora.
There’s also probably not a business in the land which hasn’t been powered by, and argued over, the songs on one of the many cloud-based music services!
This is a guest post by Dan Thornton. Dan is an experienced writer, blogger and digital marketer. He’s worked with the UK’s largest magazine publisher, national radio stations, and consults everyone from small start-ups to global businesses, as well as running his own small network of videogames sites.
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