How can the cloud help your business?

The only constant is change

Today’s decision-makers are facing a rapidly changing digital landscape. The priorities for business are evolving, driven by three distinct pressures.

  • The move from the ground to the cloud – We are not using 56k dial-up anymore. The availability of high bandwidth data connections has made cloud technology available to businesses of all sizes. As such, many are moving their on-premise infrastructure – servers, backups, telephone systems and so on – to external cloud providers. Instead of large upfront investments in licensing and physical hardware, mid-size businesses are finding that a pay-for-what-you-use model that will scale with their growth ambitions is the way forward.
  • The rise of the mobile workforce – The days of employees commuting into offices for 9 – 5 are numbered. The way people want to work has changed; flexible hours and remote working practices are becoming the norm. As a result, employees need to be able to access company systems from home or from out on the road.
  • More to do but fewer people to do it with – According to research by computer weekly, IT departments will have shrunk by as much as 75% in the period from 2013 to 2018! At the same time, the IT department is being asked to do more than ever, expanding its remit into a more strategic role. As responsibilities expand, businesses must shift their focus towards delivering the things that add value to the entire business, This means you can no longer spare time to deal with the everyday ‘keeping-the-lights-on’ infrastructure issues and administration.


What does this mean for you?

This is actually where the move to the cloud can be hugely beneficial. The main priority for decision-makers here then becomes to find the balance between what is managed internally and what is outsourced to a supplier and delivered as part of a managed service. Consider the core business processes where you spend most of your time fixing problems.

These are the things that you should think about transferring to another supplier. This will allow you to shift the burden of support to a third party.

“Your priorities must change from what you are doing today to what you are going to be doing next year. You don’t have to worry about keeping the lights on, so push it onto providers who can do it for you”

In today’s digital workplace, the end-user dictates how they want to interact with the business. The main goal is, therefore, to make this as easy as possible, ensuring that all the applications and tools that workers need are accessible wherever they are, through a device of their choice.

This could mean implementing VoIP technology so that employees working remotely have access to the same corporate phonebook and features they have on their office phone on their mobile or via a desktop app. It could mean optimising all your systems so that they can be accessed through an online portal to make changes to user settings, rather than logging into an on-premise server or PBX.

Delivering the mobile experience employees demand not only boosts productivity, but it also raises the employer brand and reputation of the business.

“Think about how we interact with banks now – very few people actually log onto a banking website anymore. It’s all done through mobile apps because it’s far more convenient for the customer. Whether you deliver it in house or via a trusted partner, this is the kind of end-user focus that you should be delivered with your digital infrastructure.”

A lot of time and resource is expended on managing suppliers. And if you’ve got multiple agreements for multiple services with multiple providers, then that drain on resources is only going to multiply.

Finding a provider that can offer everything you need under one roof will free up the time spent managing these relationships, helping you to focus on more strategic IT initiatives.

It is also easier to meet service requirements coming from within your business if you are dealing with one provider and their services are interlinked, or if their solutions can solve several business needs.

“Does it really make sense to have one provider for data, another for voice? The most sensible solution would be to find one provider that can deliver all to your business. Chances are they will also be able to deliver other services around those solutions should the need arise within your business.”


So what’s next?

It can seem like an insurmountable task to balance supplier consolidation, technology change and facilitating mobile working, all at once. But the rapidly changing world of digital business will not wait for you to figure it all out.

It might be a good idea to consider a pilot scheme to outsource one of your business processes and trial improved technology, perhaps something like telephony or mobile, and establish the business case. You will be able to see first-hand how making the change will free up the extra resource to drive strategic technology initiatives in the organisation.

And if you choose a provider with a broad portfolio of solutions, you may be able to consolidate some of your other services with them later.

Louise Cryer | 02920 859048 |

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