Cloud computing and digital transformation are two things that many business owners have heard a lot about in recent years. If every innovation is supposed to be a good move, then what do Cloud Platforms mean in practice?
And how do you know if your business is ready for the cloud?
In practice, cloud computing replaces on-site (also known as on-premises) servers, hardware and other essential IT services and moves them into the servers of another company, an IT company or software vendor.
Private and public sector organisations have been making great strides towards moving IT infrastructures into the cloud in recent years. In a few short years it has changed from something only technology companies were keen to do, to standard practice amongst organisations of every size. In 2018, a Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) poll found that 85% of organisations use cloud computing, servers and infrastructure.
How do you know if your organisation is ready for the cloud?
Start with how your IT systems are currently managed.
Look at your basic IT provisions. Email, phone, website: Are they managed from a server in your office? If that is the case, explore whether it would be more cost-effective communications using cloud providers. It usually is.
If you want email and IT systems that staff can access from anywhere, then cloud computing is the way forward. Not only is it more efficient, but with the rise of cyber attacks on smaller organisations and business, cloud providers are equipped with more extensive security systems that protect your data. Under GDPR and other regulations, you need as many safeguards as possible for customer data and sensitive information.
Next, look at ways you can improve efficiencies.
Are there processes and procedures that are slow and time consuming? Talk to your staff. Talk to your customers. Are there things you can do to improve the customer experience and reduce staff workloads?
There is a good chance that an outdated paper-based process can be dramatically improved using a cloud-based form and system. Put more effective processes in place. Make staff workloads and customer inputs more efficient, even enjoyable for everyone. Not only will this improve service levels for your current clients, but you can promote these improvements to those you want to work with.
Do you have a roadmap?
Do you know where you want to take your organisation over the next 3 to 5 years?
Many IT projects don't succeed because the organisation invests in solutions that aren’t aligned with long-term strategic objectives. Instead, you should always start with long-term goals then identify ways technology can help you to achieve those. Also read our article on the benefits and risks of cloud platforms.
Whatever your goal: More customers, happier customers, happier staff, expansion etc., with the right tools and systems you can achieve these goals. Moving your IT estate to the cloud simplifies systems management. It means that you no longer need to invest in hardware, or make any further capital investments in technology. With cloud computing, you can make your organisation more efficient, more profitable and benefit from a more secure technology infrastructure.
You may also like to download this Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Strategy that explores proven methods to migrate to the cloud with the minimum disruption: