It’s safe to say that this year has been the longest one in the history of human civilization, or so it seems. With an invisible enemy causing unprecedented havoc across the globe, changing the order of the world has resulted in bringing economies to a standstill. Every human (and as a result of which, every business) has been affected by the repercussions of Covid-19, and now it’s only time for the world to adapt to the new normal, and if possible, learn how to embrace and thrive in it.
Over the past few months, millions of business owners have had to make some tough calls. Whether it is the heavy-hearted decision of laying off their staff, changing their business model, or pivoting their products and functioning, there’s something which has remained at the core of these decisions — the world has moved to digital-first.
With its obvious benefits in aiding the fight against coronavirus (which requires social distancing as the very first precaution we could take), this transition for business to the online world has been smoothened through the use of tech. Some Indian startups have especially shown tremendous zeal in this fight, from providing remote customer support to ramping up their operations, paving the way for others to be inspired and know that all is not lost.
Now, the need of the hour is for businesses which were created to fit in the offline world to realise the importance of being online, and embrace it, rather than seeing it as a threat. With technologies like cloud computing, marketing automation, and more, it has become vastly easier compared to before for anyone to get up and running in a matter of days, if not earlier.
In this article, we’ll double down on one of the indispensable and primary tenets of building an online business, Cloud Computing. So if you want the prospect of taking your business going online to be a seamless one, you’re in the right place to get started.
Why Should I Choose The Cloud While Scaling (Or Launching) My Startup?
Despite being around for more than two decades, and the data pointing to the business efficiencies, cost-benefits, and competitive advantages it holds, Cloud Computing hasn’t fully caught up with the business community.
A report by Dell points out, companies that invest in new-age technologies like cloud computing enjoy up to 53% faster revenue growth than their competitors. So, it makes obvious sense for any business going online (or the ones looking to grow further) to invest their money in cloud computing. Here are some more tangible reasons to support the why above, especially for young startups:
Cost Savings, And Higher Return On Investment
More than 20% of businesses are concerned about the initial cost of setting up a cloud-based server or other resources. However, this is a grave misconception, given the fact that getting started with cloud computing needs minimum investment — you can pay only for actual usage of resources and increase your investments as you scale your products or offerings. Over time, being on the cloud and the productivity boost that it gives your business provides you a higher ROI as compared to using traditional, onsite solutions.
Enterprise-Grade Data Protection And Security
According to RapidScale, 94% businesses saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud, and 91% said the cloud makes it easier to meet government compliance requirements. By locating data on reliable servers, providing encryption, and making regular backups and snapshots, the majority of cloud infrastructure providers provide a set of services and technologies which help to protect your company’s data very securely.
Improved Speed, Flexibility, And Overall Productivity
You have only a finite amount of focus to divide between all of your business’s responsibilities. By relying on a cloud provider to take care of all your web hosting and infrastructure, you’ll have more time to devote to your business. From getting the required resources in a few clicks to adjusting the number of resources required at a given time, cloud provides you with complete flexibility to get work done, faster.
Prevents You From Hardware Losses
If you’re aware of how an on-site server works, you’d know that it runs the risk of failure because of hardware malfunction, theft, and other similar issues. For businesses that don’t invest in a cloud computing solution, all of their valuable data is inseparably tied to the physical location it resides in. This may not seem like a problem, but the reality is that if your local hardware experiences any issues, you might end up permanently losing your data.
Better For The Environment, And World At Large
This might seem like an overthought consideration, but businesses have a very major impact on the environment. Given the current state of global warming and climate change, it’s a business imperative to think in terms of sustainable solutions. Which is where cloud computing becomes an obvious choice. From reducing your business’s carbon footprint to improving energy efficiency, cloud infrastructure supports environmental proactivity.
Well, I’m Sold, But What’s The Catch?
Despite the fact that cloud computing is supposed to cut down your business’s costs, products from some cloud infrastructure providers, especially the multi-hundred billion dollar ones, can end up increasing your spending.
Here’s a common analogy for some cloud infrastructure providers’ billing and pricing: utilities in your own home. You pay only for what you use, right? But what if you leave your electrical appliances or lights on and forget about them? You would still have to pay for it. The caveat here is the same, you might end up overpaying for resources that, quite frankly, you never even used.
And the last thing you want, especially given the current state of affairs of the world, is unpredictability. Who knows what the year 2021 would throw at us? This is where this commitment becomes a bit tricky, so make sure you test the waters well.
Another most common problem with shifting to the cloud is this — the transition may require additional resources to manage the project. Fortunately for you, these problems can be solved if you carefully prepare and take the necessary, iterative steps.
DigitalOcean, one of the world’s leading cloud infrastructure providers, is offering Hatch, its global startup program designed to support startups through technical training, mentorship, and more, along with $500 credits to Inc42 Plus Members, Redeem today.
Leveraging Cloud Computing With Predictability: Things To Keep In Mind
With the plethora of tools out there, it can be a tad bit difficult to filter the useful from all the noise. Choosing the right cloud computing is not just important, but paramount to the success of your transition to the cloud or your first time setup. Here are the top things you need to keep in mind when choosing a cloud infrastructure provider:
Should Be Powerful, Yet Simple
Whether it is the UI, APIs, documentation, or anything else, your cloud provider should not overwhelm you to the point that you regret your decision. Given that you would have multiple hats to don at your startup, you can’t be spending time getting caught up in technical dribbling. Your time should be better spent, and exactly where you want it to be — building your business.
Pricing Remains Affordable As You Scale
For a startup, the importance of controlling costs can not be stressed enough. One thing you’d want to ensure when choosing a cloud infrastructure provider is that it offers predictable billing, as you tread the path of profitability. Your startup cash is required to do much more critical things — building your product, establishing marketing fit, hiring talent, and so on, as you grow exponentially, your infrastructure costs should not.
Offers The Flexibility Your Startup Demands
While your cloud architecture will be solely depending on the type of business you’re building, there are many offerings being provided by the cloud infrastructure companies out there. As you choose yours, make sure that you pick one which offers the flexibility your startup not only needs but demands. From flexible compute power to the storage, your startups’ execution shouldn’t be limited by the tools it uses.
Integrates Well Within Your Tech Stack
As your startup grows, you’d need more and more tools to empower your teams and various business functions for them to improve productivity, automate tasks, streamline processes, and whatnot. Decisions like hosting and infrastructure are some of the most critical ones you’d make in your startup journey, hence, it becomes imperative for you to choose a cloud provider that offers native integration (or through APIs) to other market-leading products.
Offers Prompt Technical Troubleshooting And Support
Another parameter which requires you to make a careful consideration is customer support. If you’d need assistance, and you surely would especially in the young days of your startup, would you be able to get it quickly, and on the channel of your preference?
In some cases, customer support is only provided through chat service or call center. For the hustle at which startups operate, this might not be the most ideal for you. What you should look for is having a dedicated resource, in addition to having the usual channels. Chances are you still might encounter some constraints on the time and access, so be sure to clear all your queries upfront with regards to the level and form of support you’d be provided with.
Your Startup’s Success Isn’t At The End Of The Rainbow
Despite how enticing the prospect of taking your business online might seem, you aren’t just competing with your category, you’re competing with all the other brands combined.
Why? Because consumers have limited attention. And if research is anything to go by, the human attention span is reducing further (and might be lesser than that of a goldfish). So, a safe strategy in these already uncertain times would be to first test (and validate) if your startup idea or pivot has the merit. Once you have the confidence, and data to back it up, then, and only then, should you even think about committing to the long haul.
If you’re serious about taking your business online or pivoting your startup, here’s an offer you wouldn’t wanna miss. DigitalOcean, one of the world’s leading cloud infrastructure providers, is offering Hatch, their global startup program designed to support startups through technical training, mentorship, and more, along with $500 credits.
To get this offer and a host of other deals from technology leaders, sign up on Inc42 Plus today.