Cloud servers – Enterprise IT for all
If your staff are your greatest asset, your business data comes a close second. In the age of ‘Big Data’, organisations are being encouraged to collect as much data as possible so that they can perform complex analysis that will reveal new sales opportunities, or potential process improvements; ultimately conducting in depth data reviews to reveal new revenue streams or efficiencies.
For enterprise-grade organisations, securing the funding for enormous data warehousing and processing operations is relatively easy. Even a 1% cost saving represents a massive boost in profits for these business, making board-level agreement a certainty. For smaller businesses, even if they can get senior management buy in for Big Data computing, the capital expenditure required is likely to be far too much for them to secure.
But in the era of Cloud servers, Big Data does not always have to mean big price tags to match.
Instead of making the capital outlay required to purchase an extensive IT system capable of handling Big Data storage and processing, a Cloud servers subscription entitles you to access an enterprise class system without any of the usual overheads. Cloud servers can help SMEs join the Big Data revolution through:
* Fully elastic computing capacity – Cloud servers adjust processing and storage provisions automatically according to your needs. So there is never any need to purchase additional physical capacity for your own data center.
* Fixed, predictable costs – Your Cloud servers provider will have a definitive billing system that will allow you to accurately calculate your computing costs in advance. The finance director will love the additional budgetary control gained through predictable computing costs.
* No unexpected budget contingencies – With Cloud servers, the responsibility for replacing hardware, software and licensing becomes the responsibility of the service provider. If a disk array fails, the service provider has to pay for repairs or replacement, not you.
With access to Big Data-style Cloud servers, the only outstanding requirement will be the need for experienced data analysts with the skills required to turn raw data into meaningful metrics and insights. With such high demand for these professionals, such skills are not cheap. There is however, one alternative that could make all the difference.
Big Data works on the principle of collecting as much data as possible and then trying to uncover previously unobserved trends and insights. For smaller businesses, making better use of their existing “small” data sets may actually make more financial sense.
Your businesses already has a wealth of useful data stored in accounts, CRM and marketing systems – you just need to take a fresh look at the information across the entire customer lifecycle. In this way you should be able to start realising Big Data-like benefits without actually needing Big Data. However to ensure you have the processing power and tools required to query multiple data stores, you should probably still consider the use of Cloud servers to keep costs down.