Cloud services can play a role in almost every operational area. From keeping your team connected, to disaster recovery and the infrastructure that your business runs on, there is a cloud service that could suit your needs.
Cloud services, also known as cloud computing is, as you can imagine, a broad network of service providers. Technology firms of every shape and size fit under this label, from three-man software startups to multi-billion dollar establishments such as Microsoft, HP, Salesforce, Dell and Google.
In the last twenty years, the rush to establish and launch a cloud offering has seen the pace of change and innovation accelerate. Businesses, if they need to, can access everything from quantum computing to machine learning to help organise and generate value from multiple data sources, while also gaining access to vast amounts of storage and dozens of other integrated services.
Investment in on premise infrastructure - such as servers and computers - has undergone a massive decline, whilst cloud-based investments have surged. Companies don't need to own or manage their own technology stacks anymore. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) providers can deliver a near instant computing infrastructure, providing data centres, servers, security applications, and comprehensive solutions that make it possible to run everything else without the need to outlay huge capital expenses, as was common practice twenty years ago.
Platform as a Service (PaaS), such as Microsoft Azure (which can also provide IaaS solutions) is the next layer, giving companies the computing power to create and configure apps and services in a secure cloud environment.
Software (SaaS) is the layer above that, the one more people are familiar with. Even when companies don't offer a wide range of productivity subscriptions and tools, many working professionals will use a few services on their own devices, usually to make it easier to work remotely.
Every layer in this simplified version of a technology stack is designed to make it easier for companies to improve efficiencies and do more with less. Spend less, do more with what you’ve got could be a motto for the cloud industry and those that make those services more accessible and easier to understand, such as strategic IT partners.
But a question always worth asking is how can we measure this? Finance directors and CEOs need to understand the ROI from any investment; even one that saves companies money.
How to measure cloud services ROI?
- Faster adoption of change. Traditionally, implementing a new technology solution was time and resource intensive. Planning was extensive. Now, companies can commit and scale-up a solution in a timescale that keeps pace with customers, changing economic conditions and circumstances. Innovation, and the benefits thereof, are far easier to put into practice when new solutions can be ‘switched on’ in a much shorter timescale.
- Dynamic scaling. Ramp services up or down, depending on what your business needs. You aren't fixed to expensive outlays if your company doesn't have the budget or requirement at any given point.
- Leverage savings. Shared services mean that one area of the business can generate savings for every department.
- Predictable pricing. Measuring ROI is easier when costs stay static or within defined perimeters. Working with strategic IT partners makes it easier to negotiate long-term deals whereby businesses gain from continued flexibility, whilst locking in a pricing model that prevents costs from getting out of control.
- Accurate reporting. Make sure, when you implement a cloud service, you know what you are paying for and how to measure successful outcomes. These can be measured numerous ways, from cost savings to higher revenue and productivity, to improved net promoter scores (NPS) from customers.
- Reduced data security compliance risks. Cloud services come equipped with security solutions that are often leaps ahead of what most companies can manage on-site. With GDPR in force, you need a security stack that is constantly evolving ahead of new threats and risks, which is something you can get through security-focused cloud providers.
- Get more for less. Implementing an all-encompassing solution such as Microsoft Azure means that companies and organisations can get more services in one solution. For example, disaster recover, archiving and back up replicated to 3 data centres is all included in Azure, thereby reducing the cost of running multiple IT solutions.
- Every business has unique needs. Defining success is different for every organisation. Working with the right strategic IT partner will help you identify where your business would benefit from cloud services and how to implement them to ensure the maximum ROI is realised and achieved.
You may like to read our case study on how UKN Group has supported legal firm Dutton Gregory transition from on premise IT solutions to the cloud. Click on the link below to discover how they are getting ROI from cloud services.