The reason why is actually quite simple. Technology has advanced considerably, overtaking nearly every field and process in the business world.
The so-called digital transformation has been implemented by nearly every organization known to man, and just continues to become even more of a priority. In addition, mobile technologies have also become the go-to, not just for consumers, but for the professional world, as well. Mobile capabilities have grown so much that the platform is on par with desktop solutions.
As more of these technologies are implemented, the need for a stable infrastructure rises. It puts quite a demand on available resources too, which can often be too much to handle even for the largest corporations out there. As a result, many companies have chosen to move their infrastructure into the cloud, thanks to cloud computing and remote opportunities. Supporting this move — and the necessary systems — are data centers.
Data centers provide companies the opportunity to offset conventional technology requirements to a third-party. This allows the business to focus on what matters, like their customers and business objectives. The infrastructure, server system, software and additional hardware are all maintained and operated by a cloud provider, as opposed to in-house.
But this is true of all businesses that adopt cloud solutions, in both the B2C and B2B sectors. The more pertinent question is, how do data centers aid B2B businesses specifically? Why would a B2B company want to subscribe to and use a data center service?
Most discussions about data center benefits come from a B2C perspective. The problem with this is that the B2B market is decidedly different. All of the common benefits still apply, yes, but to truly see the advantages it makes more sense to look at the unique gains.
In other words, B2B companies that adopt cloud solutions and rely on a data center will absolutely see cost savings in operations, higher security for their systems, lower resource usage such as energy, and improved efficiency.
More importantly, however, they will see these B2B-specific gains:
With conventional corporate or business-wide networks, software and technology solutions are managed in-house and limited in their accessibility. Employees generally have to be at a company terminal or computer to access to software and tools.
With cloud solutions, however, those same applications and tools are accessible anywhere, anytime. Employees can work from anywhere in the world, and they have access to the same systems and software as they would on company property, even via mobile. Imagine being able to access and manage payroll, project, scheduling and communication tools from anywhere, at any hour of the day or night?
Better yet, those applications and tools are maintained remotely by the data center provider. They are always up-to-date, always operational, and in the event they’re not, cloud providers will provide all the necessary tech support. None of that has to be handled in-house or by an internal IT team.
Another factor of this is the robust selection of services and products that a B2B company must offer their clients. Take a coffee provider, for example, that must offer packaging, order fulfillment, custom blends, lab and research opportunities and much more. All of these different solutions have their own system or software tools to power the service, but at the same time, the resulting data must be compatible across the board and accessible to everyone. By moving the related systems into the cloud, everything is synced up nicely creating a sympatico environment.
For companies that have yet to adopt cloud solutions, a huge financial benefit is earned through upfront cost savings. The company itself doesn’t have to spend thousands or even millions on upgrading its IT infrastructure and installing a local data center. Instead, all of that is managed by a data provider.
The business can roll all of that money back into critical tasks and operations.
Ninety-three percent of companies without disaster recovery plans in place, who suffer a major disaster are out of business within a year. Furthermore, over 50 percent of companies have experienced a downtime event over the past five years that lasted longer than a full workday.
In the aftermath of a disaster, internal data centers must be restored to their full glory. This can take time, let alone any additional time that’s necessary to get a network operational again. System and server backups are also a problem. With local solutions, backups are usually destroyed or damaged alongside the original infrastructure. An exception is if the equipment was housed off-site, but this can be rare, yet even so internally managed data centers are usually nearby.
When dealing with cloud solutions — read data center providers — none of these issues are prevalent after a major event. Cloud providers generally have resources dedicated to disaster recovery and system backups so they can get everything squared away much faster. Not to mention all of the equipment, data and hardware are stored remotely — most often away from the epicenter of an event.
B2B companies must properly plan for scaling, more so than B2C businesses, because it tends to happen at a much more extreme pace. That makes it quite difficult to plan ahead, at least when it comes to dealing with an increase or decrease in demand.
With data centers and cloud providers, these concerns are removed from the table. Cloud solutions are available on-demand as a subscription. When needs grow, a business can upgrade their service to increase output. If demand drops, a company can lower its subscription just the same.
Additionally, the cost per unit is much more affordable and the demands of higher-scaled economies are easier to handle, as well as faster to meet.
Alongside cross-platform access, the remote nature of data center solutions means that collaboration is improved across the board. It doesn’t just apply to in-house teams and departments, but also extends to vendors, partners, clients and more.
Everyone has access to the same applications and tools, as well as the same documents and data, provided they are authorized. What this means is that there’s an environment where the same files and content can be worked on simultaneously, by multiple people without the need to download or transfer local files. It speeds the entire collaborative process up and also ensures that everyone is working from the same version of a document or application.
Mergers and acquisitions tend to happen often in the B2B world. Even when they don’t, it’s a hassle to convert and transfer all the necessary systems and hardware from one site to another.
When using a data center or cloud solution instead, nothing has to exchange hands except for access to said network. The data is always readily available, the same tools and systems are always on, and everything is consolidated in one place — no need to track documents down across multiple locations.
Cloud solutions help to lower total risk in the B2B sector. Upfront and adoption costs are low, the entire infrastructure including hardware is managed remotely by a more capable party, and the remote content is always on and always accessible. It also takes a lot of stress off the internal IT crews, particularly when it comes to managing company-wide networks and computing solutions.
Kayla Matthews writes about data centers and big data for several industry publications, including The Data Center Journal, Data Center Frontier and insideBIGDATA. To read more posts from Kayla, you can follower her personal tech blog at ProductivityBytes.com.