Technology has changed the whole world and its functions, especially with regard to old age practices like getting together to know each other. Nowadays, social networking means hooked onto Facebook and Twitter, giving a new perception of networking skills. Let us look into the ways and means of managing an enterprise successfully with the help of information technology coupled with the power of internet connectivity.
During my grandfather’s period, managing a company meant only two areas of functions – accounting and purchase. I remember very well that every company had exclusive accounting and purchase departments. Thanks to industrialization, the word ‘company’ was replaced by ‘enterprise’ in late 70s and a plethora of functions came into existence such as Sales & Marketing, Human Resources, Production, Finance & Accounts, etc. As Change is the order of the day, the entire format of managing an enterprise had to change after 90s when LPG (Liberalisation, Privatization and Globalization) crept into our lives. Every enterprise has to compete globally to sustain and grow in terms of market size, profitability and human resources. To address this challenge, enterprises began leaning on Information Technology for effective data processing.
Companies started building their own data centers with the help of information technology termed as MIS (Management Information Systems) to be a fast and smooth drive. Soon, they discovered the data centers looked like islands of information and it became a challenge to integrate them. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) became a buzz word in the industrial circle which enabled to link up the whole enterprise real time. In olden days, to have ERP software, you would require Mainframe computers, which were very expensive and bulky. They were used mainly by large organizations for critical applications, typically bulk data processing such as census and consumer statistics. As the old saying goes “Necessity is the mother of all inventions,” a lot of innovations took place and we landed into ‘Distributed Computing’ otherwise Client-Server Technology. This helped to replace large mainframe computers by micro computers called PC (Personal Computer) making affordable to all. It made possible that even a small shop with ten persons can have computing power to satisfy their needs.
Now, the big wave of IT is ‘Cloud Computing’. Cloud computing is internet based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, as with the electricity grid. The term ‘cloud’ is used as a metaphor for internet, based on the cloud drawing used in the past to represent the telephone network, and later to depict the internet in computer network diagrams an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure it represents. Typical cloud computing providers deliver common business applications online that are accessed from another Web service or software like a Web browser, while the software and data are stored on servers.
Cloud computing is a technology that uses the internet and central remote servers to maintain data and applications. It allows consumers and businesses to use applications without installation and access their personal files at any computer with internet access. This technology allows for much more efficient computing by centralizing storage, memory, processing and bandwidth.
A simple example of cloud computing is Yahoo e-mail or Gmail, etc. You don’t need software or a server to use them. All a consumer would need is just an internet connection and you can start sending emails. The server and email management software is all on the cloud (internet) and is completely managed by the cloud service provider Yahoo, Google etc. The consumer gets to use the software alone and enjoy the benefits. The analogy is, 'If you only need milk, would you buy a cow?' All the users or consumers need is to get the benefits of using the software or hardware of the computer without having to purchase the hardware/software.
To become more responsive, organisations are seeking IT solutions that align with business strategy and are truly flexible enough to support changing needs and conditions. At the same time, budgets remain static or barely keep pace with the growing data requirements of existing applications. To reconcile these conflicting demands, organisations need to transform the way they manage their information technology to reduce capital expenses and operating costs while becoming nimble enough to meet the business challenges they face today and tomorrow.
For many organisations, cloud computing presents an appealing opportunity to do more with less for their IT systems, because cloud computing enables organisations to consume technology infrastructure, applications, activities or content as needed.