As cloud computing takes the world by storm, businesses, consumers and service providers alike are now well aware of the importance of the same. What with COVID-19 pushing most businesses to work remotely, the indispensability factor of cloud support services has further increased. From real-time document sharing to hassle-free hosting, there isn’t a service that cannot be facilitated by the trusted cloud.
Add to this the instantaneous consumer culture that is in vogue today – and you have a solution that facilitates so many demands at the same time. With numerous businesses flourishing even in the most niche of spaces, each aims to contest stronger than ever in order to ensure that their offerings are what stand out from the rest. This increase in fierce competition in turn is a wake-up call for those that provide the infrastructure to keep these businesses running, especially in the digital realm.
Likewise, the industry of software outsourcing in Sri Lanka has also realized the transformations taking place, so that relevant adjustments can be made to accommodate the same. As developers both independent and agencies alike shift towards a mindset that adheres to both technology advancements and consumer demands, such entities are proving to be insightful advisors pertaining to cloud services, thanks to first-hand experience.
If you are a business owner, chances are that your business operations may also be reliant on the cloud – partially, if not completely. Even the basic SaaS-based video conferencing subscription that is used classifies most companies under the umbrella of cloud-dependent. But if you’re looking to take a big leap and move most of your crucial operations to the cloud, where do you start?
On top of that, there is also another key question to answer too.
Considering just how complex and interwoven the cloud computing category is, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, without a doubt. But this also applies to companies that specialize in a niche, which makes narrowing down by company size, industry or budget a very tricky challenge too.
Therefore, it’s more productive to break this question down into bite-sized goals, so you and your team can reach a list of possible solutions with less complications, and in a timely manner.
Doing an assessment while posing this question is key to understanding which problems plague your business, why and how. Make sure you include all relevant members from your team, including those from a junior level – as most of them will be direct users of the systems you currently have in place.
Again, this somewhat ties in with the first question. Understanding who is using your system at the moment, who is involved at every stage of the pipeline, and whether any silos need to be alleviated is also highly valuable.
While this depends on how much you can shell out, it also needs to cover what you may require in order to address the business pains you’re looking to eradicate. Therefore, striking the right balance here is necessary, so that you don’t err on either ends of the extreme.
With all this information at hand, you can then approach a solutions provider with a brief that provides adequate preliminary insight regarding your business. This will help them lay the foundation for the next steps, in order to determine what your business requirements are on a more granular level.
In other words, instead of looking from the outside in i.e. which cloud service provider will be right for your business, look from the inside out – which is by first identifying your unique problems, so that a matching solution can be sought.
With hundreds (if not thousands) of solutions available, browsing through what each one offers can either be overwhelming, or just leave you spoilt for choice. Answering the above questions therefore helps to narrow down your scope, making solution shopping that much less daunting.
While you’re conducting your business assessment, gaining some knowledge on the major cloud service providers out there can give you a basic idea on what is out there, as well as which services in particular are on popular demand.
To narrow it down even further, here’s our take on the top three cloud service providers.
With the most comprehensive list of offerings on both solution and industry standpoints, AWS is a dominant market player in comparison to Azure and Google Cloud. Being the brand that introduced cloud computing to the masses with its EC2 service that enabled developers to rent and use virtual machines back in 2006, AWS has since dominated the space to be the go-to brand for all cloud-based requirements.
As an AWS partner that works closely with all the services this cloud provider has in store, developing applications of any size or variant is now always within reach, with the hassle of doing complex integrations or building bulky on-site servers completely eliminated. Add to that the option to integrate any supplementary applications of your choice, take advantage of analytics or fuse machine learning into your final product, to take things to the next level.
While multi-cloud environments (using services from more than one cloud provider) is now rather commonplace, it’s seldom a necessity when it comes to AWS – thanks to its extensive range of services that cover almost every digital requirement. Add to this its convenient pricing structures which offer plans that can help you save more money in the long run, on top of the cost-savings that hosted services already provide.
All in all, AWS can be trusted for its industry dominance and long-standing presence, while providing every possible cloud-based solution under one roof. This can help businesses establish self-sufficiency in the operations and application development area, while adhering to pricing plans that are the most affordable when it comes to long-term use.
While being the next best contender when set side-by-side with AWS, Microsoft’s Azure comes with its own unique set of advantages that make it the cloud provider of choice for so many organizations across the world. The biggest benefit that it provides is the fact that existing Microsoft services can be easily integrated with Azure’s wide range of services, without doing any large-scale and complex migrations. This alone is a big advantage for busy corporations, most of which are keen to keep processes to a minimum and reduce downtime as much as possible.
What’s more, integrating Azure with Office 365’s range of services is as easy as ever, and can even assist in marketing operations such as digital/email marketing and subsequent analytics. For example, apps such as Power BI are conveniently accessible and scalable for creating comprehensive reports, making data analysis possible on a real-time basis, and thereby closing the loop on a wide variety of efforts carried out on a daily basis.
In addition to that, the aspect of using applications that your team is already familiar with is a great plus point on Azure’s side, which gives it priority over other cloud providers that may implement completely new systems. With new applications requiring time-consuming and sometimes costly training sessions, business leaders will always be up for choosing an option that can help them forgo such commitments.
Another advantage pertaining to Azure is its high level of security; with cyber threats always lurking around the corner, no organization is immune to them. Azure’s level of cyber protection is replete with diagnostic and repair tools that offer comprehensive, all-round safety to your systems and data on the cloud. Thanks to Microsoft’s extensive prevalence as a leading OS platform, these collective security measures are recognized even on a consumer level, thereby heightening business and brand reputation across the board.
Albeit not being at the very top of the list, Google Cloud, just like Azure arrives with benefits that render it one-of-a-kind from its otherwise slightly more popular competitors. Apart from consisting of the usual, such as great uptime and security, Google Cloud takes it several notches further in the reporting and analytics arena. With a plethora of services that make this possible, Google Cloud’s access to comprehensive big data repositories also give it more leverage to present a holistic analytics solution which combines everything from real-time data processing to clarified visual articulations – as well as machine learning.
Sure, while Google Cloud can be utilized for its elaborate analytics offerings alone, it’s a good idea to be well aware of the complete potential that the cloud provider can facilitate in addition to this. Being well interlinked across the digital landscape, the search engine giant and YouTube owner presents plenty of opportunities to seamlessly access digital marketing and remarketing with less effort and downtime. Add to this leading SEO and SEM analytics tools such as Google AdWords, and you have a marketing pipeline that’s competent as much as it is intricately connected to the right digital sources.
Being quite strong on the digital marketing side to things, Google Cloud is therefore a strong, if not leading contender in the cloud provider arena. While it is easily integrated into a multi-cloud environment, whether or not utilizing proprietary services for a whole host of other operations (from serverless computing to email) remains a key question to be considered by anyone who’s comparing offerings between providers.
As the world starts to shift from on-premise servers to the cloud, this invites a variety of exciting transformations for organizations of all sizes, which also includes agencies that facilitate technology services, as well as the end consumers for whom products and services are catered to. Also, lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic have also spearheaded a massive movement to the cloud, as businesses that were keen to function by conventional means also had to make the move – or risk suffering significant losses.
Add to this the on-demand culture that has been created with the advent of smart devices and the overall digital landscape; with cloud-based services able to facilitate this too, it’s the ideal solution to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. With three major cloud providers dominating today’s market, which provider is right for your business?
Considering just how broad the category of cloud services is, determining an answer to this question is only possible if it is broken into smaller, more digestible questions that can help indicate what problems need to be solved first. In other words, looking from the inside out (instead from outside and in) is a great perspective to hold when searching for and comparing any kind of enterprise-level digital offering that is vast and intricate in taxonomy.
Therefore, begin by asking yourself questions such as:
While these questions can be further broken down into more niche questions, this will still be a good starting point for you and your team to discuss what problems exist. Don’t forget to also include team members across all hierarchies, since many on a junior level will be the end users of the application you implement. Collating all this information into a brief or assessment that can be shared with a service provider or consultant can help them map out what details are further required, as well as suggest relevant solutions for your unique business requirements.
With AWS, Azure and Google Cloud being the top 3 cloud service providers (and in that particular order), each presents benefits that make it unique, and therefore more geared towards executing certain services better. For example, while AWS is the most popular with a wide variety of offerings under one roof, Azure is smoother to integrate with existing Microsoft services, such as Office 365. Google Cloud on the other hand offers a valuable digital network that makes marketing all the more fruitful, thanks to being a leading search engine and video network (YouTube) giant.