Who would have thought 15 years ago that we’d all be connected to each other, communicating on mobile, cloud-enabled devices that grant us access to whatever is happening in the world, in real time. Today, we are all used to running our personal and professional lives from our mobiles – reducing the need for cumbersome hardware devices that chain us to our homes or desks. 

And from a business perspective, the cloud has revolutionised their operations and IT set-up. Gone are the days of managing computers, servers, storage and hardware that are costly to maintain, expensive to upgrade and take up huge amounts of physical space. Some of the many benefits of cloud computing are that it also enables flexible, mobile working, and has helped deliver productivity tools that would have otherwise been too expensive for smaller companies to take advantage of. 

This mobile, always-on world would not be possible without cloud technology. In this blog I’ve taken a closer look at the cloud’s impact on consumers and businesses and how it’s having a positive economic impact in the UK today.

An explosion of apps: The cloud’s effect on people and businesses 

Think of your favourite and most-used digital services – for me, this includes Gmail, iTunes and Spotify – the one thing they all have in common is that they’re cloud-based. And it now seems impossible to imagine life without them. In our mobile age everyone expects to be able to receive a personalised, 1:1 service and experience whenever they want and on the channel and device of their choosing. 

Take Uber for example - traditionally you had to phone a taxi company in advance to make a booking or stand in a taxi rank waiting for a black cab. Uber’s digital business model has completely transformed the way we travel – it’s so aligned to today’s mobile customer that at a click of a button we can order a car to take us wherever we want to go.  

From a business perspective, an entire app economy is expanding – the ability to easily develop and deploy apps represents an opportunity to improve every business function and customer interaction. As such, in the UK, we’ve seen a whole generation of entrepreneurs building businesses around commercial app development.   

What’s more it’s not just SMBs and start-ups tapping into the app phenomenon either, forward thinking CIOs are also recognising the advantage of apps for improving business success and have teams of internal app developers working on internal and customer-facing apps. 

Cloud: the creator of opportunity

Fifteen years ago cloud computing was met with criticism and hostility – many IT professionals were worried that it would take away their jobs as it removed the need to manage on premise IT. 

Fast forward to today and the cloud is now the go-to solution for so many businesses and today’s app economy has no doubt helped sway public opinion in a positive way. Fast-growing small businesses are creating and delivering tomorrow’s apps to other companies and this is helping to create new career opportunities for people in IT. 

In addition, for IT departments who have embraced the cloud, staff are free to focus on driving innovation that will help a company to improve the products and services they deliver to customers. Not just working to ‘keep the lights on’ by maintaining legacy systems. 

Already we’ve seen that the cloud has helped to generate millions of pounds sterling in GDP as well as a huge number of new jobs and opportunities. In fact, new research commissioned by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that cloud computing is set to boost the UK economy by £25 billion a year. 

It’s fair to say that we’re now in the age of the cloud. With the incredible convenience it offers to us as consumers, and the huge advantage it offers to businesses, it’s clear we’re not going back.

Ready to begin your journey? Download our free How to Jumpstart your Journey to the Cloud e-book to learn more about investing in innovation, not infrastructure.