It’s impossible to escape all things cloud at the moment. And, with Gartner predicting the global market for cloud will reach $240 billion by 2017, it would seem that the cloud isn’t going away any time soon. But for businesses yet to make the move skywards, the cloud can be a daunting prospect, particularly for SMEs who rarely have the necessary IT resource to fully evaluate the right way forward, or to determine if moving to the cloud is even the correct strategy to pursue.
Often the biggest struggle faced by SMEs when moving to the cloud, is how to sell the concept to the rest of the business, key decision-makers in particular. From an IT point of view, it might be that cloud adoption is long overdue, but to secure that all-important buy-in from the rest of the business, it’s vital to understand the real business benefits that can be achieved through a move to the cloud.
So what are the key business benefits that a move to the cloud can facilitate? Well, for SMEs, more often than not, the overarching goal is to reduce IT costs but increase IT service levels, a big challenge. But this is exactly what a move to the cloud should enable: a lower overall total cost of ownership through major savings in infrastructure maintenance, less spent on keeping operating systems up-to-date, decreased licence costs, and much less expenditure on recovery processes, all of which pave the way for improved service levels.
Also, the cloud can be the solution to the problem of legacy systems and solutions. So many businesses out there operate with a myriad of systems in place, some of which are no longer useful but so ingrained in the business that it seems almost impossible to extricate them painlessly. That’s not to mention the IT resource that’s often required to maintain or operate these systems. With a move to the cloud, legacy systems can be a thing of the past, freeing up vital resource to devote to more value-add, proactive operations.
In terms of adding value, the cloud can deliver additional functionality, too. The right cloud platform can enhance an organisation’s analytical ability, as well as its collaboration potential and its use of mobile technology. Again, not only does this boost the level of IT service within an organisation, but it enables the rest of the business to focus on key strategies, safe in the knowledge that operations are underpinned by robust, modern technology.
However, what is key for organisations of all shapes and sizes, is deciding how and when to make the move. For SMEs, it makes sense to work with experienced partners who not only offer outstanding technical knowledge, but who also bring the required objectivity and impartiality to your business to make the right investment recommendations.
Third party cloud partners can and will analyse the unique and often complex set of challenges faced by an organisation to determine the best route to cloud for that particular business. By thoroughly assessing both the IT and business benefits of cloud adoption, the right partner can offer a great deal of value, ensuring resources are invested in the right area, at the right time, establishing a blueprint for cloud success.