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The Productivity Costs of Limited Cloud Access

The cloud’s greatest appeal is productivity. When executed properly, cloud investments produce productivity gains that permeate multiple aspects of the business – even less obvious ones.

But to maximize benefits, it pays to use a comprehensive approach. It’s one thing to save some staff time on automating security patches with a cloud service, but quite another to automate the entire security infrastructure while leveraging cloud platforms for app development and day-to-day maintenance. The more functions you shift to the cloud, the higher the productivity.

In 2012, a Microsoft-commissioned study found that SMB companies that adopt cloud services had increased productivity by 59 percent. At the time, Microsoft called cloud services “SMB’s secret weapon,” but since then the cloud has permeated businesses of all shapes and sizes. More recently, a Tata Communications survey found 69 percent of enterprises experience productivity gains from cloud computing.

The research strongly suggests businesses without a cloud strategy are losing out. And if they use the cloud for only a service or two, their benefits are limited. This might explain why in a recent study, 30 percent of organizations said they expect more than half of their IT functions to be cloud-based within three years. The poll found that 93 percent of organizations already use at least one cloud service.

Unburdening the In-house Staff

To understand how businesses forgo productivity gains by limiting their cloud usage, let’s look how cloud services increase productivity.

An obvious one is IT maintenance. Cloud services can substantially reduce work for in-house IT staff, making it possible to reassign them to less time-consuming and more strategic-minded functions. This drastically reduces the costs of staff time spent on routine daily tasks.

The greater a company’s reliance on cloud services, the less it has to spend on IT maintenance costs. If a business runs the cloud infrastructure with its own people, automation of common tasks is key to reaching high productivity goals. If, instead, the business uses a cloud service provider, the provider typically is responsible for routine maintenance, updates and patches.

Faster App Development

Organizations with application development teams stand to realize major productivity gains by taking advantage of cloud-based development tools and platforms. Tapping cloud-based resources can seriously accelerate app development, enabling companies to reduce their backlogs for development projects.

Faster, more responsive app development benefits not just the developers in productivity terms, but also a company’s entire workforce. Getting applications into the hands of employees faster allows them to start using them earlier to perform their jobs more efficiently.


Another area where cloud boosts productivity is collaboration. Frost & Sullivan has found that companies investing in collaboration apps increase productivity by as much as 400 percent.

If those technologies are running in the cloud, you enjoy not only substantial benefits of real-time collaboration between employees, but also all the other gains associated with cloud deployments. Those include reduced costs and increased elasticity and efficiency.

Don’t Miss Out

Companies that remain unsure about cloud adoption are most likely failing to live up to their productivity potential. If you’re one of them, take a look at how others have benefited from the cloud and start devising your own cloud strategy. Remember, the more productive your business is, the better the bottom line gets.

Read how a node-based approach can give you cloud cybersecurity on your terms