When you look at the cloud service business model, it can be easy to wonder how it is so beneficial to businesses – or really, how it fiscally can be. After all, dollars to donuts, the monthly service charges most likely add up to less than a business would spend for another, comparable service. To understand how the cloud does this, it may help to look at something that often occurs in the office.
Let’s say, ordering lunch.
How the Cloud is Like a Lunch Order
Let’s say you are at work, and you decide you want pizza for lunch, as do some of your coworkers. Now, you could each purchase a slice or two for $5, and everyone would be happy. However, if you bought an entire pizza pie for $15 by pooling your money, there’s a good chance that each person could get the same amount of pizza for a more affordable cost.
This is essentially how cloud services work. Because you are just storing your data, applications, or what have you on someone else’s computer, you pay them rent for the privilege, as well as to support their maintenance of the infrastructure required. Admittedly, this sounds like it would be more expensive than just purchasing and maintaining the infrastructure itself – but there’s a key difference with cloud services.
That difference is, you often aren’t the only one using that infrastructure.
Just like multiple people pitching in for a pizza ultimately comes out to be less expensive than each person buying their slices individually, multiple businesses paying to support a cloud infrastructure provides each of them with a better deal.
This combination of leasing their share of the cloud and contributing to its upkeep also allows the business to avoid large, surprise costs.
Let’s say that, to continue the lunch metaphor, you decide to make your pizza one day, but the dough you bought at the grocery store is rancid. As a result, not only is your pizza no longer edible, you are out the money you spent on its ingredients. This is the same experience of a business that is managing an internal solution and encounters an issue with it. Now, outsourcing your cloud needs to a service provider is more like ordering a pizza out – if there is something wrong with it when it is delivered, it isn’t your responsibility to make it right – it’s the cloud provider’s/pizzeria’s.
Finally, just like ordering a pizza, cloud services allow you to better utilize your time to accomplish more. Both making a pizza and (albeit on a much grander scale) maintaining an infrastructure can be time-intensive tasks, which means that either will prevent you from taking care of other matters. Turning to an outsourced resource, like a pizzeria or a cloud provider, means that this time is freed up… which leaves you available to carry out other tasks that could help generate revenue. Furthermore, you will also have more space to be productive, as both can be remotely accomplished and delivered to your location, eliminating the need for bulky (and potentially expensive) pizza ovens/servers.