Cloud computing and software as a service offerings are nothing new these days. Many organisations have made the shift in some areas of their business and technology capability stack. Yet we realise that many still haven't.
Mobile and cloud technologies are changing the way we do things, in both our personal and professional lives. As these technologies continue to evolve and influence our daily lives, many field service companies are beginning to look to these technologies as a way to help them run more efficiently and offer their customers a differentiating experience.
Some of our customers aren't ready to embrace cloud solutions until their legacy platforms go out of support. For others shifting costs from capital expenditure to operating expenditure doesn't make sense for their budgeting and accounting. Some organisations worry that they won't be able to configure a cloud solution to fit their specific needs, preferring to preserve their on premise solution. Again for others they have security and data management issues that mean hosting or accessing user information in the cloud is a business issue.
There isn't one right answer for these and other business challenges and in reality the decision to move to cloud solutions is one to be made business by business.
Regardless of approach, however, the importance of building a strong internal business case for cloud adoption is vital. It is critical for staff from the CIO to the CEO to the IT teams to understand the benefits and disbenefits of investing in cloud technology and what making the move will mean in practice.
Let's consider some of those benefits.
Delivering new products and services rapidly at scale
As these recent challenging times have shown, cloud solutions are allowing businesses to more rapidly deploy infrastructure and IT services to their employees at scale. Where these employees are remotely or geographically distributed this can be of particular benefit. An ability to scale up infrastructure to support business need (within reason) enables organisations to bring new products and services to market and be supported by the cloud solutions that will facilitate it.
On-premise infrastructure is harder to scale up to respond to the dynamic nature of changing business needs. Cloud solutions can be scaled up and down and include IT resources, enterprise management, business efficiency, and resource distribution. Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) can help organisations scale up to match their expected growth.
Affordability and budget
A move to cloud services allows organisations to reshape their IT budgets to take advantage of the as-a-Service and on-demand financing. This can allow expenditure to increase up and down according to usage and for licences to be paid for as an when they are being used. Cloud services can replace the need for dedicated servers, on-premise hardware and software infrastructure. There will remain an ongoing cost, however, as access to SaaS will only be provided whilst licence fees are continued to be paid.
It's also worth remembering that the cost profile of SaaS is not necessarily static. Discounts gained at point of go live in year one may not be replicated in future years. Alternatively software companies may offer incentives at point of renewal to ensure customers stay with them! Either way, economies of scale do help businesses to reduce unit cost of ownership overall and right size the IT infrastructure model to meet the needs of their business.
Cloud services allow organisations to access the potential of cloud computing that might outpace their on premise capabilities. For example they might gain access to the latest cloud technology, faster processing at scale and service such as big data analytics and machine learning that would be hard or costly to replicate with on premise. With cloud services businesses can deploy and maintain applications with operational agility and choose to scale back if those capabilities are no longer needed.
Cloud solutions are also kept updated with features that benefit the needs of customers and users. This can mean that where a solution is updated every quarter, organisations will tap into an ongoing development path that can bring new functionality and benefits. That said these updates will also be something to train and support users with, and consider the adoption across a business.
A study from Dell reported that companies that have invested in big data, cloud solutions, mobility, and security can expect up to 53% faster revenue growth than competitors. This technology is therefore allowing some organisations to operate more efficiently, better serve their customers, and dramatically increase their profit margins. A Verizon study showed that 77% of businesses felt cloud technology gives them a competitive advantage and 16% believed this advantage is significant. Cloud solutions can improve productivity and eliminate the issue of ‘downtime’. Also, employees can work from home and on devices of their choice, opening up mobility solutions and redefining the way users work, without the constraints of physical infrastructure.
There are natural concerns over security when considering cloud solutions. Cloud platforms do offer good security features these days, similar to the security measures organisations would be using in on-site data centers and servers. A cloud host's full-time job is to monitor security and can be significantly more efficient than in-house approaches.
In a cloud platform as the business infrastructure grows, security measures will adjust with the demand. The software-based intelligent security tools manage to maintain a secure atmosphere all across the whole environment. As an added security measure, with most cloud-based services, it is possible to set security settings based on the user.
As these challenging times are demonstrating the ability for businesses to recover from challenging market conditions or circumstances is vital. Unfortunately, no matter how much an organisation has its processes under control, there will always be things that are completely out of your control. Downtime in business services can lead to missed revenue and an impact on brand. Cloud services can provide quick data recovery for all kinds of scenarios. With a cloud-based server all the information that businesses have uploaded to the cloud remains safe and easily accessible from any computer. This allows businesses to recover information when it is needed and restore services to customers and employees.
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Leadent Digital helps organisations to achieve transformational change. We love developing apps that transform customer experience and help you deliver a more frictionless service experience across all of your contact points and channels. Why not get in touch to tell us more about your current business priorities?