Cloud computing is consistently touted as the next big thing in the business world, and its productivity and cost benefits are easy to see. Firstly, cloud management takes the maintenance and improvement of your system out of your hands and into those of a dedicated service provider –regularly updated software guaranteeing cutting-edge technology for your company. Secondly, the potential data storage of cloud computing is far greater than the vast majority of companies can ever hope to obtain on their own. There are also no large, up-front set-up costs, and of course the accessibility of the cloud makes workspace mobility and BYOD easy for companies to implement.
The World of Design
One sector, though, that has remained largely unchanged by the general move towards cloud computing has been the world of design. Traditionally, Adobe – the world’s largest provider of design software – has offered users the latest version of any one of their programs (usually as part of a bundle), and then encouraged them to update over time. Take the latest batch of design software, for instance. The cheapest bundle is the Adobe Design Standard ($1299), which includes the basic tools for any designer: Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign (as well as the standards: Bridge, Media Encoder, and Acrobat X Pro). At the other end of the spectrum, the most comprehensive Adobe bundle is the Master Collection ($2599), which includes an extended Photoshop, Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, SpeedGrade, Prelude, and Encore, on top of all that’s offered in the Design Standard package. Both options clearly represent a quite substantial hammering to the wallet.
But with Creative Suite 6, Adobe has for the first time provided a cloud option that effectively lets users rent their software, rather than buying it outright. Billed at just $49.99 a month, Creative Cloud is a 12-month, locked-in subscription plan: essentially $600 to use the software for a year. For this you get access to the entire Creative Suite catalogue, which even includes programs beyond those contained in even the Master Collection bundle. The downside, of course, is that if the user is not interested in using the vast majority of the programs, or already owns older versions of all the software they require, then in the long run it may still be cheaper to purchase the software outright – continuing to make updates manually. For those starting from scratch, unsure about their long-term usage, or interested in using more than a few of the basic package, the choice is obvious.
And there are benefits to the Creative Cloud beyond the merely financial. Significantly, updates to the software no longer come in installments but instead are continuous, meaning you’re always using the latest, cutting-edge programs. There’s access to additional design programs like Muse – which lets you create a website from your artwork without using any code – and Edge. Creative Cloud also lets you store your work in the cloud and access it from multiple devices, meaning you can work from your tablet or phone should inspiration strike on the move, continuing from your desktop later on. Perhaps best of all, Creative Cloud means no shuttling large files back and forwards to clients – they can view and comment on designs as they are developed.
Since Adobe’s Creative Suite is so integral to all branches of creative design, it seems inevitable that this sector will also soon be embracing cloud computing. Just like other industries, the benefits are beginning to outweigh the disadvantages. Adobe Creative Cloud represents a bold new step.