The way people do business today has been completely transformed by the emergence of ‘the Cloud’. There is an idea that cloud computing delivers a sustainable competitive advantage for businesses and in particular Small and Medium Enterprises (SME).
This advantage can be achieved as it presents the tools to work smarter and quicker to capitalise on opportunities, utilising cloud and mobile technologies to help eliminate inefficiencies, facilitate flexibility, and ensure the agility and productivity of the organisation.
The cloud offers many benefits to organisations; however, this doesn’t mean that you are ready to transcend to cloud.
The Cloud is a broad term - in order for your business to take advantage, it is important to understand what is needed and which ‘Cloud’ service is best.
Going beyond the hype
Cloud computing’s recent emergence has only been in the commercial arena since 2006, and has become a popular technology solution. The cloud enables organisations to access on-demand IT services using internet technologies on a pay-per-use basis. This technology can provide many cost effective benefits for SME’s that typically have limitations on capital that could restrict their capability to succeed.
Owning your own on-premise IT infrastructure can be beneficial if your business system usage remains the same, however some businesses will experience periods of highs and lows which can result in expensive investments during busy periods, and wasted resources during quite periods. Cloud services can help your business scale resources as you need them, reducing capital expenses on hardware or software. Having unlimited access to cloud resources when you require them lets you get back to business.
Ensuring that your data is secure while in the cloud is also an important consideration but could mean a cost reduction as these systems are maintained by highly reputable companies with security experts. Some companies require that their system meet specific certifications and taking advantage of cloud services that already meet these standards results in reduced costs and maintenance.
Cloud technology is all about flexibility and scalability when you need it.
The cloud technologies can be combined with your existing infrastructure, expanding on the investments that you have already made for your business. There are 4 financial benefits of cloud infrastructure and these are important when making the decision to move to the cloud.
Before signing up for cloud services, it is necessary to first identify the needs and readiness of your organisation.
'Cloud Readiness' is a Lanrex assessment strategy which examines your businesses ability to adopt or integrate cloud services with your existing system.
A readiness assessment will determine whether moving to the cloud is financially conducive for your business in addition to identifying the return on investment of adopting the right cloud solution. Not all organisations are cloud ready and that’s OK. This assessment will help determine if a different approach may be of more benefit to the business in its current phase.
Many organisations aren't rigorous in analysing their ability to move to a cloud model, nor do they adopt comprehensive approaches for managing their engagement with cloud.
During a readiness assessment there are three key elements to consider:
1. What the business goals and models are
2. Your user base (numbers, training level, work styles etc.)
3. Existing physical infrastructure
4. Whether you prefer operational expenditure (OPEX) or capital expenditure (CAPEX)?
By taking these into consideration you will be able to decide on the right IT strategy for your business.
Do your due diligence
While cloud computing promises countless benefits to your organisation, a successful implementation from an IT managed service provider requires an understanding of the current business situation, the organisational strategy and the businesses goals.
Every business is unique and there's no one-size-fits-all cloud model. The best way for SME leaders to prepare their organisation for a potential cloud move is to engage in a cloud readiness assessment. This is guaranteed to save a few headaches in the future.
For more information about the different cloud models and services download our free Cloud 101 Guide.