Is cloud technology an enabler or a disruptor?

If you listen to the hype, when it comes to digital transformation, cloud-technology is one of the most potent enablers available. Employees get the technology they need to work more efficiently, customers benefit from unparalleled levels of service, and businesses become agiler and more competitive.

Despite this, when it comes to upgrading your IT infrastructure, many businesses still see the cloud as a disruptor. And that’s understandable. If you have spent years creating a solution that meets your needs, it’s likely to be based on a delicate balance of interconnections. So adding anything new into your IT ecosystem can be daunting. Particularly with fears that one wrong move could see the whole system break.

But, no matter how carefully you have created your IT setup, many older architectures just won’t scale to meet your evolving business needs. So, despite concerns, most businesses will have to move to the cloud at some point.

But it is possible to keep your IT stable while investing in cloud-based software, and moving to the cloud doesn’t have to cause any disruption to your business.

Analyse your current set up

Establish how your existing infrastructure will be integrated into your new setup. Your migration will go much smoother if you take the time to scrutinise your hardware, software, apps and data before making decisions about how to bring the cloud into this ecosystem. Your business needs will decree how much you can automate and how quickly. You’ll also need to identify any risk points. In many cases, it’s better to find a trusted partner who can manage all this for you. Of course, one of the best things about the cloud is that it’s scalable, so adding additional space and services to accommodate growth shouldn’t be an issue.

Review your organisational structure

Establish who is going to need access to what. Departmental silos are a problem for most businesses. So, take this opportunity to improve how data is shared across your organisation. Establish how the cloud can help to ensure everyone has access to the most up-to-date information and enhance communications and visibility between different departments.

Minimise downtime

One of the biggest concerns when upgrading an IT system is how much downtime you will have to endure. But, if you have a carefully executed migration strategy in place there shouldn’t be any impact on your operations.

Choose the right IT vendor

When it comes to the cloud, your infrastructure vendor should do most of the hard work for you. Ask them about APIs, how they will integrate their software with your infrastructure and how quickly they can adapt to your changing needs. Can you keep using your business infrastructure and applications, and how will it all work together. Get them to find a solution that works for your business.

Check that your chosen provider can offer a level of guaranteed uptime and continuity protection that is acceptable to your business. Ask how often their backup procedures are tested, and whether they are multiple instances of backups should one host fail.

Make sure you know what you’re getting for your fee. Do they just implement the software or do they keep a proactive eye on it to make sure everything is as it should be? How much do they charge to update your software and hardware, and how much will it cost if something goes wrong and you need additional support?

Consider the worst case scenario

What would be the impact on your business if something went wrong? If that thought terrifies you, consider a managed approach. This way, IT specialists are watching your system all the time, making sure it’s running smoothly and quickly. Managed cloud services also boast best-in-class backup and recovery processes. So you can be sure that your data is recoverable should something go wrong.

In our online world, security has never been more critical. And, while storing data in the cloud can be safer than storing it onsite, it pays to be vigilant. To avoid damage to your reputation (and hefty fines), make sure your cloud vendor understands the risks and what’s needed to minimise your exposure. Get them to commit to an acceptable level of security as part of your SLA and check that they comply with the Data Protection Act and any other relevant legislation (for example the GDPR).

Cloud computing has the potential to be a significant business enabler, but only if implemented and managed correctly.

 

Providing a total Service Management Solution, we will help you to invest in the right technology for your business. Technology that will help you to increase your efficiency, optimise your workforce, and boost your sales. To find out more about how we can help your service-led business succeed with Service Manager Software, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671.