Is cloud a leap of faith or stepping stone to success?

Why moving to the cloud can transform your business to a modern one

In recent posts, we’ve explored cloud and mobility and how they are transforming the business world in which we live and work in every day.

And more often than not, the majority of companies looking to cloud and mobile solutions are drawn there by a technical need rather than a need for business transformation.

When I started to think about this it made me realise that even some of our long-term cloud clients are only now beginning to see the value of their investment. Why is that?

It’s quite simple: they just didn’t plan for the type of business transformation that cloud and mobility delivers. They focused on using the technology to tackle a particular short-term challenge but missed the bigger picture of how these closely connected technologies can fundamentally transform the way in which we do our jobs, day-to-day.

The cloud will transform your daily operations. It will increase productivity while stabilising costs. Add mobility to that and you now increase productivity even more and in turn can set more aggressive growth targets that can be achieved organically.

Customers get very excited about the possibilities that cloud and mobility can deliver but oftentimes, they don’t realise the tangible benefits from the solutions we design for them. And the reason for this centres on a lack of planning around internal process change and combining that process change with the cultural ethos of the business.

But that’s why we are here; to help clients identify these gaps and put in place the steps to allow them continue on their journey towards business success.

Most companies start their journey towards business transformation when an email server needs to be replaced, or they have collaboration requirements.

Enter Microsoft Office 365 as a collaboration tool, but buried in that service is so much technology it would make your head spin. Finding applications for all of that technology is where the challenge lies.

For example, many SMEs don’t realise that these cloud services open up to the world of “Big Data” or data analytics, which allow you to drill down into operational or financial data and use it to inform better decision-making, decisions that are made on cold, hard facts and not simply a hunch of the CEO.

Transforming to a modern business is the order of the day, not just to survive but to thrive in the new world order that we live in. And to make sure that this happens, consider your plans around the following:

  1. Think mobile first: if you’re not thinking about mobilising your workforce and enabling them to work form anywhere they wish, you are seriously hampering your ability to grow your business. In Ireland, we need to physically see our employees to know that they are working but this needs to change.We have to encourage a level of trust in our staff and measure them on business outcomes and not just on hours spent sitting behind the desk, ostensibly working as hard as we want them to.
  2. Cloud is here: if you’re not using it already you need to get using it now. It supports workforce mobility and almost guarantees productivity increases, but it also enables new, more flexible and responsive ways of working with each other and your clients.
  3. Use the cloud for data analytics: this is the really big one. With cloud on your side, you can now drill into your data and make more informed business decisions. The growth of CRM this year will be huge as more companies look to the cloud for these services due to the built in business intelligence tools that are now part of these offerings. Critically, they allow businesses of all sizes to review real time business information and make informed decisions based on accurate metrics and figures.

The modern business is not a sales pitch. It’s a new way of thinking about how you run your daily operations and how you can enable your staff to deliver the most that they can. Embracing this new way of working might seem alien now, but once adopted, you will quickly realise that any alternative was foolhardy.

When you embrace the three core areas above, you might even look back and wonder how you ever managed your business without them.