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Every day, more and more companies are using business solutions on the cloud. According to an article published recently in Forbes, it has been estimated that in coming years, 47% of companies' marketing departments will have more than 60% of their applications on the cloud. According to Forbes, specifically databases (57%), email (54%) and business-oriented applications such as CRM (49%) are the three main applications in which companies are going to invest in coming years.
The cloud is everywhere, even though it is still invisible for many. "When I ask my students if they use cloud computing services, very few say that they do. And almost all of them do, because they have Gmail or use Dropbox, for example".
The professor from the Pablo de Olavide University and director of the Masters Degree in Cloud Business at the Seville centre, Víctor Bañuls, gives a very basic summary of the place that the cloud has in anyone's day to day lives. People really aren't very aware of its existence although companies are using cloud computing on an increasingly regular basis.
A recent study by Microsoft (Beyond infraestructures: Cloud 2.0 Signifies New opportunities for Cloud Service Providers) highlights that companies' main expectations when investing in platforms on the cloud are to: improve the quality of the technology of their platforms and applications (22%), make their business grow (18%) and provide better customer service (13%).
In fact, over the next two years it is estimated that in the United States 34% of companies will have 60% of their applications on the cloud. The cloud is the engine of young businesses such as Dropbox, Airbnb and Soundcloud and they are taking on an increasingly more important role in established companies, such as Shell and Mapfre.
En España, the study on The current and future status of software in Spain in 2015 calculates that 62% of companies rely on cloud computing to store their management, marketing and sales software, although only 15% exclusively store their data on the cloud. 54% store data on their own servers and 29% entrust their data to the cloud and to the server. 30% are still suspicious of software solutions that are stored on the cloud.
The main services that companies look for in Spain when using cloud computing are those related to the company's email, intranet and backups.
Cloud computing challenges
The main challenges faced by cloud computing in the immediate future, according to Gartner, analysts, are the following three:
1. Computing everywhere: Ubiquitous access (from anywhere and at any time) to computing capacities.
2. Cloud - client computing: Union of the cloud with intelligent mobile devices which will continue to drive the applications that reside in the cloud.
3. Infrastructure and applications: defined by software: dynamically model the infrastructure and the communications required by each application.
4. Advanced analysis: Companies have to manage huge amounts of data to provide the correct information to the correct people at the right time. Work will be put into analytical technologies that invisibly integrate into all the applications.
Bañuls agrees with the ubiquity and the importance of the data analysis highlighted by the experts. "We want all devices to be integrated in the cloud for them to be ubiquitous, and increasingly connected and integrated with reality. Alert the customer, serve them, using technology".
The professor also agrees that a key for the future is "connectivity to devices". But to achieve this connectivity that allows companies to access data in the cloud from all devices, he emphasizes that we must work "tirelessly on security and privacy." "There are many loopholes and that is an obstacle for the cloud. Companies and citizens demand security", he concludes.
What the cloud is like on a day to day basis:
1. Analytical cloud (Big Data), on demand (Business Intelligent): Analytics plays an important role in companies, which receive information quickly and can develop products adapted to their customers. This is the case for the Financial Times, whose step into the cloud has enabled it to rapidly manage all of the advertiser's information and the sales activities and manage subscribers' data to learn about their preferences.
2. Intelligent cloud: The objects connected to the cloud become "intelligent". Home heating, movie recommendations to watch on HD TV, it's all controlled by an analytical system that works from the cloud. One example is CityTouch, technology used in London and Prague to manage city lighting. Thanks to the real time information from the streets that reaches the cloud, street lighting can be managed, measures can be taken if there is excess light contamination, it's possible to ensure that deserted streets are lit, etc.
3. Social cloud: The cloud is revolutionizing healthcare, as an example. The cloud allows hospitals to share all their information and doctors can access the diagnoses of thousands of patients and find out the exact information about how treatments have worked or how they are progressing in real time.
By BBVA Innovation Center