Every element of culture has changed when faced with technology over the past few decades. The focus for years has been on the computer as a means for changing the way we work and play. This shift was felt mostly in the move from paper to the screen. Following that, the Internet sent a shockwave through every industry, because now those screens were connected and facilitated new forms of communication that, combined with programming and the proliferation of Internet-enabled devices, could be put to seemingly limitless uses.
One of those especially impactful uses was for cloud computing. Cloud computing represents one of the largest paradigm shifts since the Internet itself. What these services allow for is the use of programs that aren’t stored locally on your device and the keeping of files on remote servers.
While there were numerous services that served as prototypes for what cloud computing would eventually become, the first major breakthrough with the technology that came to be recognized the mainstream population came from Amazon. Amazon’s Web Services provided computing services completely online, with program hosted on their servers and accessed through the browser. An even more widely accepted form of the technology came when Google debuted companion services to email such as Google Docs.
But it wasn’t until around the time of Google Drive, a service Google provides to every Gmail user that allows you to store files online for free, that cloud computing turned into the boom for which we know it today. A variety of services from all of the technology heavy hitters started to emerge on the marketplace. Microsoft now offers SkyDrive, a similar file storage service, as well as its own online version of Office. Amazon and Apple have created cloud-based storage lockers for music files purchased from their services, and Google has developed something of its own to compete. No longer does the size of the hard drive on your device impede you from accessing your entire music library.
These products are, for the most part, on the consumer side of cloud computing. Some of these services, like productivity apps, are made to be scaled for businesses. And therein lies one of the advantages of cloud computing. Not only are your files and programs stored on a remote server, meaning you don’t need to worry about hardware for your computing needs, but those services are easily scalable and seamlessly updated. Many of the hassles of traditional software involve installing, updating, and storing programs on numerous computers, all with varying capacities for these processes. These headaches can be largely eliminated by relegating those tasks to the cloud.
Where business finds advantages in cloud computing, so goes Wall Street. Traditionally one to leap at the gains evident in new technology, Wall Street can be counted among the early adopters of the cloud computing paradigm. The purveyors of cloud technology for financial services are just as smart about taking advantage of new technology. When asked to describe their competitors, Alok Misra, Co-founder and Principal from Navatar Group, one such industry provider, mentioned specifically “obsolete technology [that] requires a lot of money to be paid up front.”
Navatar Group just launched their latest product, Navatar Investor, a next generation LP portal, that will serve to assist fund managers as they communicate with investors and market their funds through a virtual data room. The service combines Salesforce CRM and Box Content Management with several of the capabilities offered from Navatar’s other services for Private Equity, Venture Capital, PERE, Hedge Funds, and Placement Agents.
Misra describes the advantages of cloud services as including the lack of necessary infrastructure. With no need for software or hardware, everything can be delivered via the Internet and paid for every month like your typical cable bill. These systems are by their nature flexible and updated constantly by the vendors, who are also readily available to connect with users should they require assistance. Wall Street, always one to look for whatever advantages they can leverage over their competitors, seems a perfect match for this opportunity.
But neither Wall Street nor cutting edge technology providers like Navatar Group are content to rest on their laurels. As Misra put it, “It’s still the early days. If you think about it, cloud technology, even in the financial market, we’ve only scratched the surface. There’s a big opportunity as it becomes popular. It has huge implications.” It would seem we’re only at the dawn of this new age of computing, and taking advantage of this fact could be the differentiator for big gains down the line.