Cloud computing services have exploded in recent years.
It has surged in demand and popularity among businesses looking to deliver solutions and utilise applications anywhere in the world.
As of 2021, the cloud infrastructure market hit a staggering $380.25 billion in estimated value, with projections that it will reach $1,614.1 billion by 2030.
It’s not hard to understand why when you assess the benefits it offers. Cloud-based software allows businesses to work and collaborate from anywhere worldwide while automating and streamlining workflows and processes, reducing overheads and increasing efficiency.
As a financial advisory firm, cloud computing allows you to restructure your existing business model, identify untapped avenues for growth and elevate the service you provide to your clients.
Let’s take a closer look at cloud-based software and how it can help your business.
So what exactly is cloud computing?
It’s a term often talked about but rarely explained. Simply put, “the cloud” is a physical network of servers, not those fluffy, white things that hang in the sky.
These servers host data that you can only access via an internet connection. Cloud-based software is hosted in the cloud, as opposed to a fixed, location-based server or on a hardware drive.
All you need to access the cloud is a stable internet connection and the correct access permissions for cloud-based software. Though seemingly unremarkable, the simplicity of cloud-based computing is precisely what makes it such a powerful tool in a business’s arsenal.
How are cloud-based software systems used today?
Cloud computing and cloud-based systems have existed as we currently know them since the late 1990s. It started when Salesforce launched its cloud-based CRM platform and in the early 2000s when Amazon launched Amazon Web Services as the first publicly available cloud-based storage platform.
Despite seeing a surge in growth, pre-2020, many businesses were slow or even resistant to adopting cloud-based software in their operations.
The events of 2020, including lockdowns and the inevitable shift to remote work, forced most businesses to be more flexible in their operations, accelerating the pivot towards cloud computing.
Cloud-based software allowed businesses to continue operating in work-from-home environments, improving businesses’ agility and resilience and future-proofing their operations.
Two years on, cloud-based software has become a fixture in at least some form for most, if not all, organisations worldwide.
Examples of cloud-based software include:
- SaaS: Software as a service like Slack, Dropbox and Google Drive,
- PaaS: Platform as a service like Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine, and
- IaaS: Infrastructure as a service like IBM Cloudburst
Advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing
- Easy implementation
Cloud computing allows businesses to keep their existing applications and processes as they don’t need to handle backend integrations and storage.
- Readily accessible
Cloud-based software is hosted on the internet; businesses can instantly access a cloud infrastructure from anywhere in the world.
- No hardware required
As all data is hosted in the cloud, businesses don’t need to invest in a fixed physical storage centre that’s expensive to maintain.
- Flexibility for growth
Cloud-based software can easily grow and scale according to your business needs.
- Network connectivity dependency
Cloud-based software’s ability to run is based on internet connectivity. This means businesses need access to stable, reliable internet service; otherwise, they may not be able to access all the benefits of cloud computing.
- Technical outages and downtime
Cloud-hosting service providers may face technical difficulties or outages that directly impact businesses using their cloud storage facilities.
- Limited features
Cloud-based software often offers tiered services requiring businesses to pay more to access all the features necessary.
- Reduced control
Customers who use cloud-based services don’t have control over any updates, instalments and deployments the cloud provider may make to cloud-based software.
What to look out for in a cloud-based software solution for commission management
Whether you’re an IFA or run an advisory firm, you’re likely looking for ways to scale your operations and grow your business by taking on more clients while keeping your overhead costs as low as possible.
Cloud-based commission management software can help you to achieve this.
However, not all management software offers the same capabilities, despite being based in the cloud, making it essential to know what to look for in a cloud-based commission management software.
Commspace, for example, is a commission and revenue-tracking management software with capabilities that provide advisers with a 360-degree view of their business operations.
Offering features like advanced revenue analytics, automatic data collection and analysis, and customised reporting features, all while being entirely cloud-based, allows advisers to gain quick access to the data they need to identify potential growth areas and service improvement opportunities from anywhere in the world.