How Can Cloud Computing Help Reduce IT Costs?
Written by Melissa Rudd
Check this article out as it appears in our March Issue of Business Review Canada. Trust us, it's way cooler to read this article when you can flip through our user-friendly e-reader.
How do I increase productivity and innovation? How will I provide access to real-time data and analytics? How can I profitably tackle the volume of web-based data, yet streamline my complex network of internal data center systems? How can my technical staff focus on innovation instead of system maintenance? How can I provide the most efficient infrastructure and services model so my customers can be even more successful?
Cloud computing is the answer. Organizations are turning to large-scale computing clouds and associated services; a market that IDC has pegged to grow by more than 40% over the next three years in Canada.
IBM recently invested $42-million to create the IBM Computer Cloud Centre in Canada. The new Centre will help Canadian organizations reduce costs, increase efficiencies and access new technologies such as analytics and mobile computing. In addition, the Centre will be able to keep data secure and resident within Canadian borders in accordance with Canadian privacy law.
Cloud computing is set to transform how IT is purchased, sourced and delivered over the next decade. It has ushered in a new era of responsive and efficient IT service delivery, effectively addressing the challenges Canadian organizations face in a Web 3.0, real-time information, globally competitive world.
The IBM Compute Cloud Centre will offer a pay-as-you-go service, allowing Canadian government organizations and businesses to develop, host and test applications while paying only for the computational power they use. Customers will have access to virtual servers, selected software and storage capacity on a per-hour basis.
Cloud computing is both a business model and a user experience. It is a service delivery model in which large pools of computer systems are linked together to deliver services over a network. Employees see only the application interface without being concerned about the implementation or infrastructure behind it. Think of buying an item on eBay or sending Internet mail. The cloud computing model is the “big box services store” that provides the secure backbone for both.
Cloud services include not only simple programs and services such as email or instant messaging; they also include complex applications such as customer-relation management, databases and application servers. The cloud computing model allows large corporations to focus on their strategic applications or on only those aspects of IT they wish to operate themselves.
Cloud computing saves energy and operating costs by pooling IT resources, scaling up or down as needed, and putting computer power to use, rather than drawing energy while remaining idle. With a click of a mouse, services can be either expanded or contracted. For example, Info-Tech Research Group has observed that most computer servers run full-time, but are used at only 10 to 20 per cent of capacity.
Companies can use the advanced technologies that cloud computing offers to exchange digital information around the world and across a variety of devices. Consumers are able to quickly tap the strength of the cloud computing model for mobile banking and shopping as the cloud meets the high-performance demands of the dynamic Web, processing massive amounts of information in split seconds.
Organizations concerned about driving higher profitability see cloud computing as a way to do more with fewer resources, while rolling out new applications, meeting peak workloads and saving on real-estate, power and cooling costs associated with traditional technology infrastructure.
Various cloud computing models exist to securely meet the specific needs. Some data may not be permitted to leave an enterprise, or a specific geographic location because of corporate or government regulations. It is essential to evaluate which workloads can be sourced through public clouds and which kept in-house and delivered through private clouds, which remain behind your enterprise firewall. Many companies adopt hybrid approaches which integrate both private and public platforms to meet their specific requirements.
No matter which type of cloud computing platform your organization adopts, it will help drive new ideas, products and services to market faster, while freeing internal resources to continue to innovate to compete in a global, ever-connected world.
There’s no better time to start moving your business to the clouds for a competitive advantage.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.