Self-service IT Eliminates Risk and Reduces Cost as Well as Implementation Time. Cloud computing (also known as “The Cloud”) for business applications has gained momentum over the past several years for organizations of all sizes. It has taken the world by storm…if you will. This is neither a fad nor a temporary phenomenon. There are excellent reasons that explain the success of this trend for many business applications in many industries. In fact, over 70% of companies utilize the cloud and nearly all report improved operations. Within 3 years, 91% of companies will have adapted to cloud computing solutions.
What is cloud computing? According to Wikipedia, cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over the Internet.
Applications like Salesforce have carved a clear path for how companies, large and small, can scale their operations using cloud computing. Industry giants Google, Microsoft and Adobe Systems have been promoting elaborate cloud-based services that remove many barriers.
As one of the pioneers in the Environmental Management Information Systems, I have lived through more than a quarter century of EH&S software implementations for companies of all sizes. I have teamed with some of the world’s largest companies and have navigated through some murky waters. Environmental departments have been particularly challenged by:
- Limited budgets
- Inflexible I.T. rules
- Lack of corporate urgency
- Changing environmental regulations
- Lack of peer cooperation
Cloud computing provides meaningful alternatives to overcome all these challenges and more. For EHS, adapting to the cloud will simplify the complex, yet enhance efficiency, accuracy, and safety. Here are some key points:
- Flexibility and Scalability: In the old days, companies resorted to pilot implementations and trial-and-error approaches to EH&S software. With Cloud computing, companies can scale up or down rapidly, cost-effectively and with very little risk.
- Speed of Implementation: I have participated in implementations that lasted months, sometimes much longer. A 30, 60 or 90 day EH&S software implementation was a dream-come-true for most every organization. With cloud computing, implementation time can be virtually instantaneous. Stakeholders can start using the software as soon as they sign-up, a breakthrough in an industry not known for its speed.
- Capital Expense Avoidance: I’ve spent probably more than half my professional life teaming with EH&S executives to make and present the financial case for EH&S software. With Cloud computing, signing up on a monthly plan is a single-click action that falls far below the radar of corporate spending limits.
- I.T. Independence: We’re free at last! I.T. departments have been in charge of business decisions far too long. EH&S doesn’t even have to inform I.T. of EH&S cloud computing applications. Internet bandwidth is faster and enormously cheaper. There are no costs for hardware, or networks, or software or the frustrating wait for in-house I.T. support. An Internet connection does it all!
- Technology updates: The responsibility of keeping up with technology advances and regulatory changes now lies squarely on the shoulders of the software vendor, who, incidentally, is delighted to be in total control of the speed and efficiency with which updates can be applied.
- Security: Cloud companies are committed to investing in data security. Cloud applications operate in secure data centers with layers of information protection and security tools that smaller companies can now benefit from through economies of scale.
- Disaster Recovery: Since all business logic and data is stored in the cloud, cloud companies are diligent in managing, backing up and mirroring their installations, offering unprecedented uptime and rapid data recovery and disaster avoidance.
- Information Sharing and Collaboration: In the cloud, non-confidential data can be accessed in a central location with round the clock availability by everyone. New information like the newly enacted GHS labelling and Safety Data Sheet mandate can now be updated by many and available to access and use by many more, anywhere, at any time!.
- Competitiveness: Cloud technologies offer equal value to entities small and large, for a reasonable cost. Small businesses access enterprise-class technology and up-to-date regulatory information at the same price per user as large conglomerates.
- Mobility: With no physical tie to the system employees are empowered to work from anywhere and everywhere on a variety of devices. The Cloud can create virtual offices at home, on holiday and even on the daily commute. In today’s rapid development world, cloud applications can be accessed on mobile devices virtually everywhere. Goodbye rush-hour. Hello happy hour!
- Environmentally Friendly: Yes! It’s true! cloud-based EH&S Software are not only good for the environment, but they also help the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of their own operations through lowered energy costs and carbon emissions that shared computing environments offer over in-house computer hardware.
- Application Support: I saved the best for last! EH&S application users need expedient and effective help which traditionally they have never gotten either from the software vendor or from their own IT staff. Network or database issues, software bugs, missing or corrupt data, reports that don’t print correctly or don’t print at all and regulatory changes that are not yet applied to the environmental compliance software are only some of the issues that need to be addressed. Cloud-based EH&S installations address these issues better than ever before. The Cloud vendor is the only responsible entity that must provide user support and they are able to do so rapidly and efficiently since they have control of the installation and every aspect of it.
Cloud Computing = Self-Service I.T. !!!
That’s right! You get what you need to get done DONE, and you let your hard-working I.T. department do the work they need to do to keep your entity’s computers running smoothly. The bottom line? Massive Savings; huge impact: What all this adds up to is a value proposition that offers far greater return faster, better and cheaper!
About the Author: Tony Diamantidis has carried the torch for environmental excellence literally and otherwise for more than 30 years. He is the principal architect of his company’s Environmental Management Systems (EMS) technology, a Cloud-based environmental health and safety software infrastructure (www.chemicalsafety.com). He has served as senior environmental consultant to multinational corporations, government organizations, and Olympic venues including the Athens 2004 Olympics where he carried the first ever Olympic Torch for the Environment on the eve of the Games opening day. He can be reached at email@example.com or on LinkedIn.