The ability to adapt to changing business landscapes is critical for today’s businesses. Because agility is so important, more than 70 per cent of IT teams have adopted agile strategies.
One of the tools IT professionals add to their agile strategy is cloud computing. Others completely overlook cloud migration due to concerns around data privacy and security.
Prior to the pandemic, cloud adoption was pretty slow. Stay Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, revealed the number of businesses subscribing to Microsoft 365 in the first two months of lockdown paralleled the number of subscribers in the previous two years.
Even businesses that had adopted cloud-computing services only stored 20-40% of their data in off-site servers. But today’s businesses have to be agile across all key areas of the business; marketing, sales, production and operations.
The ability to foster agility typically finds a solution in cloud technologies, both emerging and existing. And whilst cloud solutions have been around for several years, their evolution promises to play a key role in business continuity and ongoing success.
Cloud Software v Legacy Software
It’s well known amongst IT professionals that legacy systems hamper efficiency and growth. On the flip side, there are not many in-house IT professionals that have experience with cloud technologies.
The skill shortage in IT technologies is a growing concern. As more businesses switch to a digitised hybrid workplace, the skills gap gets wider. With cloud technologies driving post-pandemic business models, specialist knowledge that can navigate the relevant software is critical.
According to cybersecurity chiefs, misconfigured cloud technologies is one of the leading causes of data breaches. IT teams that do not have experience with the cloud are advised to reach out to outsourced IT consultants that specialise in cloud migration.
Cloud solutions, however, do have some advantages over legacy software. Security updates are released on a regular basis with little disruption to operations and updating to the latest version of the software is simple. Legacy software is becoming outdated by the year – even to the point that software companies eventually stop supporting older versions of their products.
Subsequently, legacy software tends to develop more bugs and suffers more outages than cloud services. Some cloud providers aim to deliver 99.999% server uptime.
In-house servers, on the other hand, do not have a good reputation for stability, storage and application services. The bigger the company, the more problems you are likely to face – particular companies that have adopted remote working practices.
A report published by McKinsey highlights why the only way forward is digital. The report also notes that digital strategies can also fail if companies do not understand how they can best serve their customers and stakeholders through digital channels.
Server outages clearly have a negative impact on productivity and profits. They are also frustrating for employees that have deadlines and targets to meet. If remote working staff choose to work outside normal working hours and the servers go down, who will restore their system?
IT support solutions that deliver cloud services provide the ideal solution – a 24/7 help desk. No matter where your workforce is based and no matter what time of day they are working, there is always support on hand to fix problems at the earliest possible convenience.
A report published in CNBC indicates that between 50-70% of job seekers want the autonomy to work when, where and how they want. Flexible working options are a factor top-talent consider when deciding whether or not to accept a job offer.
The Scalability of Cloud Software
The uncertainty and instability of global and national economies mean that businesses have to adapt quickly to avoid financial carnage. For some companies acting quickly can be the difference between survival and collapse.
The biggest outlay for any company is salary. Although nobody wants to make employees redundant, the wage bill is always the first cost-cutting strategy in a crisis. The same is true for business growth. Companies cannot evolve and capitalise on opportunities in the market if they don’t have sufficient numbers in the workforce.
Consequently, enterprises need to have an IT system that is scalable. Businesses simply cannot be agile if they do not have the capacity to upsize and downsize quickly.
Cloud-based solutions foster scalability. Subscriptions are paid for on a monthly basis so you only need to purchase accounts when and when you need them. Adding and removing users is straightforward and can be performed in a matter of minutes.
Knowing how much you are spending on software and services month-on-month also makes budget planning easier.
Customisation and updates
Research shows that companies with an efficient IT infrastructure are more successful. Deloitte explains how cloud technologies support small business growth.
Almost every business will have a unique need. And there is no guarantee that anyone out-of-the-box software will satisfy your needs. Subsequently, customising your software capabilities is required to help execute and improve operations.
The problem with customisation is that software is not always compatible. When you encounter an issue, it can take a while to fix if your in-house team does not have the experience and know-how of how to troubleshoot the issue.
Software manufacturers understand that businesses need a variety of specialist solutions. Cloud software is generally designed to be compatible with other products on the market in order to help businesses integrate multiple solutions that satisfy their unique needs.
That’s not to say you won’t experience a glitch. Installing conflicting pieces of software is not always plain sailing. However, fixing issues is typically less expensive when you have a managed outsourced IT team with the experience of integrating cloud software. For starters, IT consultants can advise you from the outset which software programs satisfy your needs. They will also know which software work well together. Therefore, they can build a software package that will cause a minimal amount of disruption. And if there is a glitch, they will know how to fix it promptly.
Having said that, the number of software updates issued by manufacturers could potentially create more problems. With cloud technologies, you always have the latest version of a program so every piece of software gets updated. And the update may create a glitch or untick a box you need to be ticked to customise your system.
Legacy software that is no longer supported won’t cause this problem. But they can expose you to a bigger threat – there is more potential to leave a gateway open for hackers. So you need to weigh up rewards versus risks.
Moving forward it is inevitable that cloud solutions present the best solution – simply because cloud technologies will be the only option. So the sooner you move to the cloud, the better it is for you to lay the foundations that will drive your business forward.