In much the same way that the emergence of the internet revolutionized the world, cloud computing is revolutionizing the way businesses operate. At its core, ‘cloud computing’ is the process of sharing IT resources to achieve more power and productivity with fewer costs and roadblocks. Instead of computing tasks taking place on the company’s desktop machines or personal servers, applications and computing tasks are being executed in massive offsite data centers.

While cloud computing is changing almost everything at the core of how businesses are run, there are five key ways in which cloud computing is revolutionizing the business world as a whole.

Breaks Down Barriers to Entry

Some of the most revolutionary ideas of recent years have come from small, forward thinking companies or individuals. Gone are the days when only monolithic companies had the resources to launch new technology products. Cost barriers for in-house implementations and large capital outlays are removed with cloud computing.

Before cloud computing, if a company had an idea for a revolutionary app or service, they would need to purchase and configure expensive server equipment. Now, small companies can deploy the application from the cloud and only pay for the resources they use — allowing their costs to grow with their success.

But cloud computing isn’t just useful for small businesses; successful giants like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft leverage this new paradigm of computing for running their businesses and expanding their service offerings.

Allows Businesses To React With Agility

Cloud computing allows companies to react with agility to changing situations and cyclical business demands. The essence of cloud computing and cloud services are dynamic resources that immediately scale to demand unlike systems that need to be over specified to deal with peak usage or were under specified to manage heavy-load seasons. Flexible, dynamic systems with instant, always-on access are characteristic of how businesses will utilize their IT resources.

In the past, if a business wanted to grow, it would need to plan ahead by purchasing and configuring additional servers to handle the increased operations. Reducing IT resources (i.e. cost) was not a practical option for lull periods that resulted from cyclical business changes. However, this expansion and contraction of IT resources happens instantly and automatically in a cloud computing model.

Pay Per Use Cost Model Saves Operational Costs

In the past, companies paid for a certain amount of space to handle their IT functions — whether they needed the space or not. This might mean buying more desktop computers, adding more machines to their internal server rooms, or renting space from offsite servers. Once that space ran out, the only way to get more was to buy more space. With this model, growing companies almost always paid more than they needed — and never for less.

However, with cloud computing, virtual assets are made to be flexible and dynamic and can be offered on a subscription or on-demand basis. This means that business is only using and paying for actual assets used rather than defining scopes and purchase orders in advance.

Less Investment In Maintenance, More Investment in Innovation

According to the CIO of the technology firm Gartner, approximately $8 out of every $10 a company spends toward technology goes toward maintenance rather than innovation. The cloud model drastically reduces maintenance costs. Because the IT infrastructure is maintained and managed offsite, the costs associated with IT maintenance personnel as well as upgrading and updating the hardware itself is spread out among others and wrapped into a pay per use model.

This doesn’t mean that companies need to eliminate their key IT staff — quite the contrary. Instead of paying their brightest IT minds to maintain systems, they can leverage those minds to develop innovative new technologies.

Ability to Build Products That Are Adaptable to Today’s Fast-Moving Businesses

The specific products of cloud computing and cloud services are unique in the way that they are delivered to customers. Instead of purchasing a box and a license to install software on 100 computers, a central server hosts the application as individual users use the program by accessing it securely over the internet. Nearly all cloud computing resources are deployed in this way.

In a competitive business environment, this delivery can mean the difference for customers between choosing one application over another. Customers appreciate receiving instant updates and enhancements of their software without having to do lengthy reinstalls. Hosting the applications on a remote server accessible via internet also offers the ability for users to access applications from any computer with an internet connection. For businesses that have remote employees or key personnel that travel often, this type of access is extremely appealing and oftentimes critical.

As the present steadily moves forward to meet the future, this new paradigm will continue to revolutionize business. With lower barriers to entry and lower maintenance costs while at the same time having the ability to adapt quickly and create better products, the technology playing field has been leveled. The winners in the technology space will be those who provide truly creative services vs. those who simply have the money to develop and deploy services.