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Information Technology Assignment Question
Need to write on topic – Big data with cloud computing- The new cash cow for companies
Information Technology Assignment Answer
As per Moore’s Law, ‘the processing power of computers doubles every 18 months’ (Moore, n.d.). However, if we involve the software or the virtual side as well, the rate of technological advancement for computers is even faster!! If the 19th century was the era of computers, with such a breakneck speed of progression, the software will dominate the 21st century.
Why it was needed:
Any disruptive innovation in human history has always been the cause of a change driver. The need for these two disruptive innovations, big data and cloud computing, (Information technology and Innovation Fundation, 2014) in this case, is the ease in usage brought about by virtualization and the increased focus by corporates on customer satisfaction. Thus, in cloud computing, the hardware is replaced by servers hosted remotely and then leased to organizations, mixing and matching various configurations as and when required. This offers a plethora of advantages for the organization, the primary among which is a lesser headache when it comes to maintenance hassles. Similarly, as was showcased very famously by Amazon in its anticipatory shipping (Forbes, 2014 ), Big Data and Data Mining opens up a whole new world of customer engagement and business opportunities. We will delve a bit more on these in the subsequent sections.
Prehistory: Their Origins
From the bulky mainframes of the 70’s and the 80’s, technology has improved to an extent where the size of the hardware can be constantly reduced, without compromising on the quality of the service delivered. Though this has meant lower floor space and lesser complexity of hardware, the world, hell bent on cutting costs wherever possible, wanted something more. It was then that companies such as Google and Amazon first discovered the potential of the concept of virtualization and invested significant resources in developing it (MIT Technology Review, 2011). Realizing it as the next big thing, other companies such as IBM followed suit.
On the other hand, the manipulation of a set of data to retrieve useful information have been around for centuries. The use of statistics finds a mention in much older literature, around the world. However, the use of big data to retrieve actionable data is a more recent phenomenon. Also, the proliferation of the internet, and more recently, the internet of things, acted as a catalyst in this case (Enterprise CIO Forum, 2015 ), what with the tons of data generated every day. What was used as more or less a verification mechanism even 15 years back, is gradually becoming an essential factor, or rather a game changer, influencing business decisions of corporations, both large and small.
Present: How the organizations are making money
Let us take cloud computing first. Moving beyond the obvious advantages of not having to deal with hardware, or not needing the storage space and maintenance workers for it, organizations can use cloud computing commonly in three different types (IBM, n.d.),
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
SaaS, for example, enables accessing and running any software, hosted elsewhere. For this, we consider three types of companies –
- Companies which uses cloud hosted software
- Companies which provides the software hosted on cloud
- Companies which provides the SaaS platform itself
For the first type of companies, just a thin client is sufficient for accessing this and organizations do not need to invest in purchasing superior configurations of computers. Multiply the savings over one computer with the hundreds of employees of even a small-sized firm and it is understandable why going the ‘cloud way’ has been so lucrative for companies. For the second type of companies, SaaS makes it possible to keep a single copy of the software and sell just the access to it. This drives down the cost of up keeping and hence lowers the price of the software. This, in turn, makes it possible to bring a more lucrative market offering to clients, resulting in higher sales and hence higher profit. For the third type of companies, investment needs to be made only in hardware and supporting staff. Not having to hire more specialized workmen, reduces the cost of the same, over time and also through economies of scale. As a result, there remains a stable source of high income, with a very less amount of initial investment. It is quite possible to find similar cash flow drivers for PaaS and IaaS as well, as is currently being utilized by various companies across the globe.