Entrepreneur

How To Leverage Cloud Computing To Build And Scale Your Startup


Oh, well, 2020 was a long year, wasn’t it? Thanks (or actually, not at all) to the Covid-19 pandemic, the order of the world has changed, and how! Economies have stagnated, consumers have adapted, and businesses have pivoted. Now, we’re all just learning how to embrace what has changed. 

Ever since the nation went into lockdown, millions of professionals in India have had the chance to take some bold calls, the most liberating of which, has been to take a plunge and startup on their own. Be it out of a passion for some, out of having some extra hours in the day from working remotely, or for having figured out a need in the market for the others — when it comes to building a business, taking the early steps right is everything.

However, when it comes to funding, it’s a long haul from the day you start your company to the day you’re able to bring investors in through the front door. For bootstrapped founders, optimising company resources and costs becomes as important as executing things well. 

Hence, the need of the hour for such businesses is to realise the importance of technologies like cloud computing in solving their challenges to lay a strong foundation and help them build and scale their business in a highly sustainable way. In this quick article, we’ll double down on how cloud computing becomes a no-brainer to look towards for any founder when starting out. 

Typical Challenges Of A Startup Founder

Running a business is tough, and starting a business is even tougher. Startup founders, across the board, unanimously, are overwhelmed with challenges and troubles. From not having industry-specific knowledge and expertise to not knowing how to manage finances, they seem to go through it all. Here are some of the typical challenges faced by a startup founder:

  • Exponentially Increasing Cost Of Development: If you’re starting out in 2020, there’s an almost one hundred per cent chance you’re building a business which sells products or services over the internet. In which case, as your business grows, you need to keep expanding your app or website to be able to facilitate the uptick in traction. This means more server space, complex compute options, managed databases, you name it. Not hard to guess what all of this translates to higher costs.
  • Lack Of Robust Infrastructure To Scale Up Offerings: Whether it is out of ignorance, or negligence, a big challenge that startups face during their course is not having a tech infrastructure which can enable them to execute their roadmap. As a result of which, considerable time and money are spent to make things right. 
  • Filtering Good Advice From All The Noise: If you’re a non-tech founder, for you, this could simply be knowing how tech works. And when you get to learn more about it, it can be difficult to cut through the clutter, to filter out good advice from the noise. Which is why it’s always better to follow advice which comes with proof. 

Let’s see how using cloud computing can help you steer clear of these challenges, but first, here’s a quick introduction to cloud computing for the uninitiated.

So, What Is Cloud Computing?

While it’s been more than two decades that cloud computing has now been on the technology scene, there’s still a lot of confusion around what it constitutes. Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services — including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence — over the internet, called here as the cloud, to offer increased flexibility of resources, lower infrastructure costs, and improved the ability to scale.

The Benefits: Why Should Startups Consider Cloud Computing?

Despite data pointing to the business efficiencies, cost-benefits, and competitive advantages it holds, cloud computing hasn’t fully caught up with the startup community. According to a report, businesses that invest in new-age technologies like cloud computing, marketing automation and more, enjoy 53% higher revenue. 

Shouldn’t it then be obvious for you to choose cloud as the de-facto infrastructure? Here is a look at some of the tangible benefits Cloud Computing can provide for your startup:

Improves Agility And Speed Of Execution

One of the most apparent benefits of working in a cloud computing environment is this: new development resources are always only a click away, as opposed to having on-site servers and infrastructure, which can sometimes take weeks to provide. Owing to this, there is a dramatic increase in the agility and speed of execution for your business since the cost and time it takes to develop is lowered by a significant margin.

Offers Flexibility According To Your Needs

Cloud helps you eliminate guesswork from your infrastructure capacity needs, while at the same time making it more flexible for you to experiment and make iterative decisions. When you make a decision prior to deployment, you often end up either holding on expensive unused resources or dealing with limited capacity. With cloud computing, these problems go away for good. From dynamic compute power to storage, the cloud offers you complete flexibility in choosing the right amount and type of resources for your stack.

Keeps Development Costs Affordable As You Scale

More than 20% businesses are concerned about the cost of setting-up cloud infrastructure and other resources as opposed to having on-site servers, however, this is just a misconception as cloud computing needs minimum investment to get you started. Moreover, you can pay only for actual usage of resources and increase your investments as you scale your products or offerings.

Provides Enterprise-grade Data Security And Protection

According to RapidScale, 94% of businesses saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud, and 91% said the cloud makes it easier to meet government compliance requirements. By locating data on reliable servers, providing encryption, and making regular backups and snapshots, the majority of cloud infrastructure providers provide a set of services and technologies which help to protect your company’s data very securely. 

If you’re serious about building a rock solid infrastructure foundation for your tech startup, here’s an offer you wouldn’t wanna miss. AWS is offering AWS Activate, a program which provides startups with a host of benefits, including upto $5,000 in AWS credits, technical support and training, to help grow your business. To get the offer, sign up to Inc42 Plus

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How Startups Have Leveraged Cloud Computing Successfully

Now that we’ve addressed the obvious, and not so obvious benefits of cloud computing for startups, let’s look at some testimonials from startups who have leveraged it successfully. 

Slack Practices Disaster Recovery Scenarios Through Cloud

In case you haven’t heard the name, Slack is a collaboration tool which provides a messaging platform that integrates with and unifies a wide range of apps and services such as Google Docs, Jira, GitHub, MailChimp, Trello, Stripe, and more. 

The ease of provisioning resources in the cloud allows Slack to practice disaster recovery scenarios, which is essential for assuring existing and prospective customers that their information will always be there, when and where they need it.

Moreover, being on cloud immediately addresses their customers’ security concerns because their cloud provider, AWS, publishes service organisation control (SOC) reports, which are based on third-party examinations evaluating how AWS achieves compliance controls and objectives. 

Ralali Scales And Grows Exponentially With Cloud

Ralali is an online B2B marketplace in Indonesia. It connects local sellers and buyers, from industrial and maintenance, repair, and operating categories to office supplies, automotive, medical, agriculture, and many others.  

Since using cloud services, Ralali’s agent business has been able to grow from 400 agents to over 100,000 agents in a year. Ralali.com has been able to innovate and start new projects in under 3 days, scaling quickly to provide highly available services for its end users.

ShopBack Cuts Infrastructure Costs by 60%

ShopBack is a cashback reward program available across Asia-Pacific with over 5 million members on its platform. It allows online shoppers to receive a small percentage of their purchases on the platform, paid for through affiliate programs by the merchant.

Looking for cost reductions as well as improved scalability and reliability, ShopBack discovered a cloud solution to reduce its infrastructure costs by 60 per cent, increased app/site usage fourfold, and more.

What To Keep In Mind When Choosing A Cloud Solution For Your Startup

With the plethora of tools out there, it can be a tad bit difficult to figure out how to choose the one which is most appropriate for your business. Choosing the right cloud computing is not just important, but paramount to the success of your startup. Here are few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a cloud provider. It should:

Be Robust Enough To Support Your Ambitions

Whether it is building, growing, or scaling, your cloud provider should be able to support you at all stages of your startup’s journey. Given that providing services and infrastructure is only a part of it, your cloud services provider should also be able to offer you resources and community so you can learn from how others have been able to fix the problems you have. 

Offer Round-The-Clock Troubleshooting And Support

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Another parameter which requires you to make a careful consideration is customer support. If you’d need assistance, and you surely would especially in the young days of your startup, would you be able to get it quickly, and on the channel of your preference? 

In some cases, customer support is only provided through chat service or call centre. For the hustle at which startups operate, this might not be the most ideal for you. What you should look for is having a dedicated resource, in addition to having the usual channels. Chances are you still might encounter some constraints on the time and access, so be sure to clear all your queries upfront with regards to the level and form of support you’d be provided with.

Integrate Well With Your Tech Stack

As your startup grows, you’d need more and more tools to empower your teams and various business functions for them to improve productivity, automate tasks, streamline processes, and whatnot. Decisions like tech infrastructure and hosting are some of the most critical ones you’d make in your startup journey, hence, it becomes imperative for you to choose a cloud provider that offers native integration (or through APIs) to other market-leading products.

Cloud Is An Investment, Not An Expense

As a founder, and a business professional, you’d be well versed with the concept of investment vs expense. Investments are what help you grow, expenses are what you’d rather not have on your plate if there was a choice. Cloud is akin to having a solid investment. 

To reiterate the point of this article, if you have a good foundation on which you’re trying to build your startup, your chances of success increase tremendously. Otherwise you’d just be the 9/10 that fail despite doing most things right.

AWS is offering AWS Activate, a program which provides startups with a host of benefits, including upto $5,000 in AWS credits, technical support and training, to help grow your business. To get the offer, sign up to Inc42 Plus.

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