In recent years, digital transformation has been speeding up and the use of cloud services is becoming standard – not only in the biggest corporations but in smaller ones as well. The cloud is also gaining popularity among medium and small enterprises, and expenditure on cloud services in enterprises is growing, which translates into savings after migration. All of this makes us start to look at the cloud services sector with growing interest. What are the forecasts for the cloud services market in Poland and Europe? What are the most important concerns related to cloud migration and what are the benefits for companies deciding to take the first step in the clouds?
Forecast for cloud services
In recent years, we have been observing the increasingly dynamic development of the cloud services segment and cloud-based solutions. According to research conducted by Eurostat, in 2014-2018 a gradual increase in the use of cloud services was observed, and 2017 especially was a breakthrough. Last year, spending on cloud-based solutions began to increase, reaching 26% (compared to 19% in 2014). Maybe these are not diametrical differences, but the upward trend has been continuing for several years now. According to specialists’ forecasts, the cloud market may double in size before the next four years is up.
The cloud market in Poland and Europe
Clouds are uneven – you might draw this conclusion by looking at the use of cloud services by particular European countries. The largest use of cloud services is in big enterprises (according to data from 2018, more than half of companies employing over 250 people). Also, on the Old Continent, the trend of using the cloud is rising inexorably. In Europe, according to last year’s data, Finland, Sweden and Denmark are in front, exceeding the level of 50%. And what about the cloud market in Poland? According to the aforementioned report, we are third-last in this ranking with a result of 11.5%. While the whole world is moving to the cloud, many Polish entrepreneurs seem to be quite sceptical when it comes to cloud services – especially in the context of data storage and loss of control over infrastructure. However, the global trend leads to a discussion of whether this scepticism is justified. What are the most common concerns when it comes to migrating business to the cloud?
Migration to the cloud – biggest concerns
- Loss of control over infrastructure and data.
- Selection of the provider. With a wide range of big players on the cloud market such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft or Alibaba, it’s not easy to decide on a specific provider. A team of external cloud transformation consultants will be helpful during the selection process.
- Service type selection. Shall we decide on a public or a private cloud? Or maybe we should choose hybrid solutions? The latter are becoming increasingly popular lately. They give us the possibility of storing part of the data locally on a server and the other part in the cloud.
- Costs. Meaning: can I afford cloud services? How much do I have to invest and how long will it take for the investment to pay for itself? Here it is difficult to estimate without previous experience with cloud services. Also, a provider who has carried out many such implementations will be able to estimate costs and facilitate decision making.
Cloud: concerns versus reality
Are Polish companies’ concerns about migrating to the cloud justified? Numerous implementations around the world prove that this form is beneficial for business. Let’s take a look at some examples of cloud services.
ERP system in the cloud
Let’s start with the absolute basics, such as an ERP-class tool for every entrepreneur. Until recently, it was a solution associated with high implementation and maintenance costs and expensive licenses by small and medium-sized enterprises. Thanks to cloud solutions, it is not only large corporations which can use ERP tools to manage the company – for example, by installing Microsoft Business Central in the cloud. One of the many advantages is savings on infrastructure and frequent updates, which ensure security and quick implementation. How quick? The Microsoft ERP system is ready to use within a couple of hours after installation. Entrepreneurs who are reluctant to implement an ERP system on their own may ask for the support of cloud transformation services consultants.
See also: The ERP system on Azure platform
Business Intelligence in the cloud
In recent years, being a data-driven organization has been a hot topic among business representatives. A modern entrepreneur not only uses intuition, but also certain data that allows him or her to optimize operations and adopt the right strategy. With the development of cloud services, “data-driven” is no longer a concept reserved only for global players.
Medium or small enterprises that are willing to make more conscious business decisions can use tools such as Qlik Sense Cloud. The biggest advantage of this solution is savings on infrastructure. When choosing a Business Intelligence tool in the cloud, you do not have to pay costs related to purchasing the server and installing it. Therefore, the enterprise also saves time and gains access to data from mobile devices, such as tablets. All this from anywhere in the world. Business Intelligence tools are said to be conducive to data democratization, meaning their availability to every user. Cloud services support this process. Who knows, maybe soon we will be talking about the democratization of the cloud?
Cloud in e-commerce
The e-commerce sector is one of the most rapidly growing areas of the economy. Both large companies and nascent entrepreneurs decide on this form of operation. When running an Internet business, both must act in bearing in mind the “expect the unexpected” rule. One such example would be server overloads during Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, which are becoming increasingly popular in Poland. in the era of growing competition in the e-commerce industry, can you afford a situation in which clients cannot do their shopping? Image costs in this case can be much higher than financial losses. In such situations, the cloud really saves entrepreneurs’ lives. And this is no longer about giants such as Amazon, who built the power of its brand thanks to the online platform. Everyone, including those running a local business, can be competitive thanks to the reliability of the cloud. Security, reliability, support of the service provider and the availability of services are just a few of the advantages of the cloud in e-commerce.
Benefits of moving a business to the cloud
Recent years have seen a real leap into the cloud. Let’s sum up the greatest benefits for companies deciding to migrate their business to the cloud.
Cloud services allow for the use of existing cloud tools, which enable us to accelerate development that translates into reducing costs. In addition, when deciding on the cloud, we save on infrastructure as we no longer need to have it physically onsite at the company’s premises. We do not have to pay a one-off expensive payment for the license and infrastructure – we change this into low monthly costs. In addition, we can back out at any time – which we cannot do after purchasing servers, for example.
Flexibility and scalability
A company deciding to move its infrastructure to the cloud only pays for the services used. This gives the possibility of expanding the scope of services to a degree which is suitable for the needs of the enterprise, e.g. as it develops. The reverse is also true – when we need to make savings or no longer need a lot of computing power or a large amount of space for data storage, we change the configuration of the service, reducing costs. In the context of scalability, it is also important that we can host services in many different places around the world. Such a geolocation allows for faster website loading. A website from Europe will always open up slower in the USA than a website hosted in the United States.
When storing data in the cloud, we neutralize the risk of data loss. Cloud service providers are aware that data security is an absolute must, while entrepreneurs understand the need to invest in disaster recovery solutions. It is also possible to back up the key data and keep it in multiple different locations at the same time. In addition, we have unlimited access to it from any location in the world.
Migration to the cloud – summary
The promising cloud forecasts for the coming years and the growing share in the cloud services market lead us to follow such predictions more closely. Cloud services are not new, but they are new as a standard. Perhaps this causes entrepreneurs doubts. It turns out that concerns about costs, loss of control or related to the choice of a provider and a specific solution are actually the strength of the cloud. Because of the variety of solutions and providers, data security and scalability of the solution, when we look into the clouds, we look into the future.