Cloud technologies - an essential step in the digital transformation journey
The cloud offers a wide range of benefits to businesses, from start-ups to local companies and large enterprises. It's giving fresh new start-ups a competitive edge, as they can begin using the cloud immediately without having to consider integrating clunky legacy systems. There are no servers in the backroom, no resistance from Doris in accounts who likes her 1990 interface; new businesses can adopt a cloud-first approach.
But whether you're a start-up, an established small business or a worldwide global behemoth, there's a place for the cloud in your business. It's clear that executives are aware of this, with 63% of business leaders planning to move their entire IT estate into the cloud (CIF). What's more, 95% of businesses are currently utilising the cloud in some capacity (RightScale), which is encouraging.
Moving to, or integrating, cloud services is an essential step in the digital transformation journey; the use of technology to improve productivity, customer service and profitability. The beauty of the cloud is scalability, particularly when it comes to Software-as-a-Service (Saas) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas). Flexible pricing and licensing structures take the headache out of implementing the cloud. Your cloud services grow with your business.
Scalability isn't the only upside to the cloud; there are significant cost-savings to be made when moving to the cloud. You'll see an immediate ROI in the reduced need for on-premise server space. SaaS clouds significantly reduce the CapEx required to upgrade, move to or implement a new system by spreading it out into a monthly subscription, usually per-user-per-month.
There are a number of different cloud solutions available, giving you the option to choose the one that fits the needs of your business. Private clouds effectively remove the need for your on-premise server, managing your business' dedicated storage and systems in a remote datacentre. The public cloud hosts apps that are widely available, using shared resources managed by the cloud provider. The hybrid cloud is the most common used by businesses, and is the power behind widely-used services including Office 365 and the upcoming cloud-only Business Management Solution (BMS) Dynamics 365. The hybrid cloud hosts applications that are publicly available, but that have private tenants for each business/user; hybrid clouds blend public services with the private cloud.
Whilst it's a no-brainer to utilise the cloud in a number of capacities, many businesses face an uphill battle when it comes to implementing cloud services. An Oracle survey revealed that outdated systems and shadow IT are significant barriers, as incompatible software is often purchased without IT's knowledge or consent - this is often the case with HR and Finance. In a similar vein, getting buy-in from around the business can often prove difficult. There is a lot of scaremongering around the cloud, particularly in regard to security, but most of the time, the cloud can offer more robust security. With secured, manned datacentres and backup servers, many cloud hosts have more protections in place than your office will likely have.
This handy infographic from UK IT support solutions company, TSG, contains everything you need to know about the cloud, including some statistics on current cloud usage in businesses, the different permutations of the cloud, the benefits to be realised, and the areas you need to take into consideration before moving to the cloud.