Thanks in part to improved telecommunications infrastructure and efforts such as the Connect America Fund, cloud technology is rapidly evolving. As more individuals and businesses come to rely on high speed internet, cloud-based solutions will become an increasingly integral part of business operations. The recent emergence of 5G technology has also pushed the needle, allowing cloud-based service providers to develop more robust offerings while still providing near-instant product delivery.
Research by Bain & Company reveals that demand for cloud technology accounted for 70% of IT market growth from 2012-2015, and it is projected to remain steady at 60% of continued market growth through 2020. By combining newer automation technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with cloud-based services, business owners can improve operational efficiency using cloud technology in new and creative ways, including:
- Automated customer service – Chatbots, automated phone assistants, and other customer service automation support are already available through many SaaS offerings, but will continue to improve in their ability to efficiently address a variety of customer service issues without the need for human-to-human interaction.
- Inventory and logistics control – Cloud technology will continue to improve efficiency in labor control, warehouse space, and logistical operations in large manufacturing firms and warehouses.
- Centralized HR and payroll processing – Cloud-based HR systems eliminate the need for an on-site HR professional at every physical location. Instead, businesses with multiple locations can process payroll and other HR functions through a centralized hub by pulling data from each individual location through the cloud.
- Biometrics – Emerging companies like 23andMe use the power of cloud computing to process DNA and genomic analyses. Police departments and other forensic organizations are also using cloud-based biometric programs to conduct case research and coordinate cross-departmental tracking efforts.
- Medical records – As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, healthcare providers were required to utilize an electronic medical records system by January 2014. As the process of tracking, updating, and securing patient data continues to develop, cloud-services will adapt to meet this need.
- Phone services and virtual communication systems – VoIP service providers and other internet-based communications services are being increasingly utilized by businesses to cut costs and improve operational efficiency.
As more businesses continue to embrace cloud technology and demand a wider variety of product and service offerings, cloud-based providers will work to remain competitive in an emerging marketplace by taking advantage of future developments in cloud computing.