Can Cloud Computing Lead To A Competitive Advantage?To know whether cloud computing can give your organization a competitive advantage, it helps to look at the success of other businesses which have turned to the cloud. An in-depth look will help quell some of the apprehensions of executives in many companies. Schumacher Group, a healthcare company focused on improving patient care in Texas and Louisiana, recently moved to a software-as-a-service model. Even CEO William “Kip” Schumacher admits that the IT staff is better equipped to work on innovations driving its mission.
Schumacher Group now works with thousands of health care providers, meaning it is involved in the treatment over four million patients a year. The company has, according to Schumacher, established a plan to buy up 80% of the infrastructures available. By customizing the remaining 20%, it has given IT the ability to drive essential innovations seen as the competitive advantage the cloud is providing the organization.
- IT resources can now be quickly scaled up when needed. The company has experienced an annual growth rate of anywhere from 15% to 30%. Cloud resources make Schumacher Group’s staff more agile and able to adapt to these changes fast. When custom apps need to be deployed, this can also be done efficiently without slowing down the pace of business.
- The company also manages two data centers in Louisiana and Texas, in areas prone to hurricanes much of the year. Keeping all the data in these facilities obviously presents a risk should anything go wrong, as has been seen in the past. By storing data in the cloud, these risks can be mitigated. In addition, the data security provided by expert vendors and their wide range of infrastructure make the service more beneficial.
A Start of a Good Thing
Schumacher Group had its first experience with the cloud in 2005, when Salesforce.com was implemented as the CRM of choice. The move proved to be a success and further initiatives led to about 80% of organizational processes being transferred to the cloud via software-as-a-service products – this was all before 2012. Currently, the company is in the process of moving 70% of data center operations to Amazon Web Services. This move is reducing the inventory of in-house servers to just a few, limiting the cost to that of just managing a skeleton crew of hardware.
The company has said a competitive advantage has been achieved through having an agile system that can be scaled to match the demands of growth. Cloud computing has also provided greater security for sensitive data, and the uptime contrasts with the potential for outages to plague company-owned data centers should outside forces disrupt operations. Better yet, IT staff can focus on innovation rather than day-to-day tasks which can take up valuable time.
These factors lead to a competitive advantage that many organizational leaders are taking seriously. To keep up, any enterprise needs to focus on innovation. Cloud computing is proving in a big way to allow for this to happen in an uncertain world.
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