By Andreea Andrei, Marketing and Business Administration Executive at The Cloud Computing and SaaS Awards

This article is part of an A to Z series by Cloud and SaaS Awards, beginning with A for Accessibility

Cloud Computing has existed since 1997 and is now a crucial part of the modern world. The cloud enables offering services through the internet on a large scale. These services may include storage, databases, network services, applications, and security services. Nowadays, is difficult to find companies that do not subscribe to this technology as it is already part of our daily lives.

What are the benefits of Cloud Computing?

All cloud systems need an operating system; the cloud infrastructure may include various bare-metal software systems, virtualization systems, or containers that extract information. Thus, through cloud computing, companies obtain significant resource savings. By storing data and running applications from the cloud, companies can reduce their investment in hardware and infrastructure.

Moreover, technology is constantly evolving and this has made it possible to improve communications while offering a wide spectrum of benefits. One of the most paramount benefits that the cloud has is accessibility.

Accessibility provides flexibility by accommodating the needs of each user and is aimed at making the system suitable for the widest number of users. It can be accessed and used by the largest possible number of people, regardless of the limitations of the individuals. Accessibility refers to being easily accessible by anyone. In other words, accessibility is the characteristic that allows cloud services and tools to be used without problems by everyone to fulfil the purposes which they are designed for.

Five industries for whom cloud’s accessibility can be indispensable

Previously, PCs were the main tools for work and training, and they contained all the content that people might need at any given time. Now people have access to various types of electronic devices from which they can edit documents, view images, play music or share videos, turning cloud services into the most flexible solution to work with content anywhere, anytime. Below are presented the industries where cloud accessibility is most needed:

What are the benefits of Accessibility in Cloud Computing for the marketing industry?

It is one of the main industries able to perceive the benefits of cloud accessibility, as it can be a must in order to reach a certain public or specific market segment in today’s digitized world. Accessibility gives the possibility to a certain target audience of acquiring a certain product or service, considering income, proximity, usability or relevance. Thus, accessibility facilitates the marketing industry by:

    • Tracking target reach
    • Customising leads
    • Running analytics on leads and audience reach
    • Storing data in the cloud
    • Tracking sales and expenses
    • Creating leads adapting to your client’s interests
    • Automating marketing
    • Bringing efficiency to businesses
    • Making marketing management simple
    • Having a modern and adaptable platform

All this can be done simultaneously, from any place or device and by any person whose access is granted.
This ultimately leads to:

    • Better quality and value
    • Greater audience and target reach
    • Brand value
    • Increased number of leads
    • Efficient workflow
    • Harmonious workspace

How does accessibility improve the financial industry?

The financial industry is another industry in which accessibility can work wonders within their process cycles and workflow, being an industry in which paper and manual work were very demanding in the past. Through improvements in accessibility, the industry will be led towards more advanced and unprecedented management of business functions.

Moreover, cloud computing finances have the particularity of being accessible in a safe way, from an office, an employee’s home, a tablet, or a phone. When finances are accessible through a real-time browser, everyone is operating on a “single version of the truth,” no matter where they are, whether it’s at corporate headquarters, a subsidiary, or elsewhere. Resulting, thus in better:

    • Efficiency
    • Automation
    • Accuracy
    • Adaptability
    • Ease of use

Overall, accessible financial planning and process are much more streamlined, less error-prone, and more accurate by having cloud-based financial functions, where line-of-business stakeholders are operating in real time-time throughout the company and off-premises, due to the power of accessibility.

Thus, the finance industry can access a single set of accounting, economic or financial numbers, securely at any time and from any place.

Cloud accessibility is essential in the Information Technology industry

The use of Cloud Computing in Information Technology can cover communication networks for a company, safeguarding data and information, creating and managing databases, helping employees solve problems with their computers or mobile devices, or doing multiple jobs to ensure the efficiency and security of the company’s information systems. The companies that develop these programs are incorporating important accessibility criteria into their projects.

Among the initiatives in this field, some of the stand-out companies are:

    • Microsoft Accessibility
    • Apple Computer
    • AccessAdobe
    • IBM Accessibility Center
    • Information for Java programmers regarding accessibility.
    • Macromedia Accessibility
    • Opera Software
    • Sun Microsystem’s Accessibility Program

They also incorporate courses or tutorials to teach developers or content authors how to design in an accessible way with their programs, and some even provide specific programs to solve possible difficulties.

Accessibility is crucial for this industry, as it lays the pillars of cloud computing. The key to information technology is to develop a system that keeps everything accessible and running smoothly.  The fundamental aspects of its functioning are described below:

Keep everything connected

Having systems that work independently of each other can become a headache over time. The ability to move data from one platform to another should not be an add-on, but built-in as an essential component. The more interconnected your information technology is, the better the productivity of your company and your clients.

Incorporate the IT developments

Your business is not static and neither should be your IT. As devices continue to get more advanced, technology at the enterprise level is advancing even faster.

Staying on top of upcoming trends and developments is crucial to the success and growth of your business. Although it may seem cheaper to maintain outdated systems that your company has used for years, denying progress can be detrimental to your bottom line.

Upgrading can mean faster speeds and smoother interaction between your systems, which means more time to spend on a new business and other projects.

To seamlessly follow these fundamental factors and achieve the results mentioned, a great level of accessibility is required, which, ultimately, will result in a harmonious workflow.

Accessibility is a game-changer in the construction industry

Cloud computing in this industry has managed to separate hardware from software, allowing many of the large organizations in the industrial sector to have remote and on-demand access to many of the main services they need to carry out their processes. Accessibility is one cloud computing feature that is particularly important, as it allows to have various applications in the industry. It is especially useful in remotely monitoring tasks or in data collection and analysis. These are some of the areas in which accessibility presents great opportunities:

    • Market analysis
    • Traceability
    • Risks prevention
    • Process monitoring
    • Q&A
    • Technological surveillance and data mining
    • Collaborative project management

Accessibility in the education industry is crucial for modern e-learning

This article also raises the importance of incorporating accessibility conditions in virtual learning environments and institutions. In this sense, the mainstreaming of the perspective of accessibility constitutes the fundamental principle that must support the management and formation of education policies. The concept of web accessibility is addressed, stressing the importance of incorporating it into the virtual learning environments, as a condition for achieving the goals of expanding access to education, and in return, strengthening the institutional processes of knowledge and information democratization.

It is argued that virtual environments for remote education and ICT constitute central tools to respond to current local, national, regional and international recognition of diversity, expansion of access, quality and equity in education.

Taking into account the definition of accessibility, it is a fundamental requirement that spaces, areas, services, goods, as well as objects or instruments, tools and devices, are available to everyone. It is considered that any manager, administrator, teacher, student or staff involved in the development and application of virtual learning environments must have technological products accessible, generating and promoting the model of an inclusive culture.

What are the next industries to benefit from cloud-computing accessibility?

The future of the cloud still promises room for further, strong potential, which will ultimately result in many industries harnessing the accessibility of the cloud. Below are industries whose future can be improved leveraging the accessibility of cloud computing.

Cloud computing in the legal industry

The legal industry relies heavily on the ability to store large amounts of files for long periods. This data must remain accessible and secure. That may seem like a lot to ask, but with the cloud, it isn’t. Backup, failover, recovery, and more advanced computing are allowed to be accessible to any legal firm.

Legal data will not only remain safe and always accessible, but more and more can continue to be stored without worry. Nonetheless, one of the biggest concerns is for non-profit organizations. Their need to run a business on a limited budget is a concern, many NGOs find it too difficult to spend money on the latest technology.

With the cloud, however, this may change. Now they can stay within their budget and keep up with the latest computing solutions. It’s easier for this industry to be on the same playing field as larger companies with the cloud, ushering in more innovation from all corners of the business world.

Cloud computing in the health industry

Another industry that benefits greatly from cloud computing is healthcare. Physicians can more easily stay connected with their patients, as well as improve collaboration between them. Simple tasks that used to be a hassle, such as making referrals or completing patient history, can be completed in no time, allowing clinicians to focus their full attention on patients. After all, this is how it should be. In addition, remote monitoring can be done with many of the devices that connect to the cloud, and information for care and future treatments can be shared from anywhere, without forgetting research topics.

When it comes to insurance sales, accessibility is the best resource because you can experience collaboration in real-time. Communicating within channels and setting up customer portals that will help you keep track of accounts and statements is easy. Speeding up the process when you have the information you need in front of you will make customers appreciate your organization and efficiency.

Before the advent of cloud computing, the industry had an unobtainable need for a robust, scalable solution to help businesses avoid initially spending too much on equipment that soon becomes inadequate. Now, the cloud and its accessibility provide an agile computing environment, and services that can be quickly changed to suit the needs of providers.

What will be the future of Cloud Computing and its accessibility features?

Having data in the Cloud is hugely advantageous because the user can access it from any device with internet access – a computer, a tablet or a Smartphone. Thanks to its accessibility, you can start editing a document from a mobile phone and finish preparing it from a PC a few hours later, saving the data in your online account.

The cloud also has the great benefit of being able to facilitate backup copies of the data stored on a tablet or smartphone, remotely, connected to a 3G/4G network or to broadband via Wi-Fi. It is common for online storage services to be integrated into the software of a smartphone so that the photos taken with the device are automatically stored in the cloud once the user connects to a Wi-Fi network or even when using a mobile network.

The challenge for the future of cloud accessibility is to go beyond its base function. Data processing access is still limited; that is, it cannot establish a relationship within the information it stores since its analytical capacity is very limited. External applications or programs are required to perform this function.

The cloud is not only a private space on the Internet, it is the place to go if you need to access information that mirrors what you have on your PC’s hard drive. The cloud is also a new way of accessing documents, images, music or videos with total freedom, avoiding having a diversity of data scattered among different devices.

Storing data has improved accessibility to information, at the same time that it has influenced digitization processes in many areas. Today, it is a fundamental tool that is gaining more and more strength.

The Cloud Computing Awards and SaaS Awards take pride in recognizing excellence in the industries mentioned above and many others, hoping to inspire numerous organizations to advance in cloud computing.

Our Cloud Awards winners of 2021 and 2020, alongside 2021 and 2020 SaaS Awards’ winners hope to inspire you in your industry’s evolution.