Agility is a critical competitive advantage that small to midsize businesses (SMBs) have over larger enterprises. SMBs typically can respond rapidly to changing demands and market conditions and fine-tune processes on the fly to enhance the customer experience.
Many SMBs are using cloud-based solutions to increase their agility. In a recent TechAisle survey, 47 percent of SMBs said the cloud helps make their operations more agile, while 41 percent said it enables them to introduce new products and services more quickly. Another 40 percent said cloud-based solutions increase employee productivity.
Without a clearly defined strategy, however, cloud adoption can bring significant business risk. Almost half (45 percent) of SMBs surveyed said they were concerned about security and regulatory compliance, and 42 percent worried about ensuring data integrity. More than one-third (35 percent) said they were unsure how to integrate various applications.
The good news is that a well-defined cloud strategy can help overcome these challenges. By identifying the business results you hope to achieve from cloud services and defining a roadmap for cloud implementation, you can ensure predictable results and a rapid time-to-value.
Challenges in the Cloud
The cloud is generally considered the ideal IT model for smaller organizations with limited capital and staff resources. It gives you access to enterprise-class solutions you might otherwise be unable to afford while removing the burden of owning and maintaining IT infrastructure. You can buy the services you need and scale up or down according to your business requirements.
In reality, however, cloud benefits can be elusive. In a 2019 Unisys study, almost a third of respondents said their cloud initiatives had not met expectations for increasing revenues or improving productivity. Because the cloud model makes it easy to add new applications and services, many organizations exceed their budgets and wind up wasting resources. Ineffective management of the cloud environment often leads to performance problems and security threats.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges. In a new study by LogicMonitor, 87 percent of global IT decision-makers agreed that the need to support remote workers is accelerating cloud adoption. In their rush to adopt cloud services to meet remote access demands, few organizations have given adequate consideration to cloud selection, management and governance.
The Right Approach
An effective cloud strategy starts with determining which applications can move to the cloud. Good candidates include IT functions that are essential to operations but don’t differentiate your business. Email, collaboration and conferencing tools, telephone systems, productivity apps, customer relationship management, and data backup and disaster recovery are all proven to perform well in the cloud.
The next step is to select the right cloud services for each application. Each option should be carefully evaluated in terms of cost, scalability, performance, reliability, security and more. Migrating to the “wrong” cloud can be an expensive mistake that results in significant business disruption.
Finally, you need to develop a migration strategy. Which users need access to the cloud? How will you manage that access? Will you move all your existing data to the cloud or archive older data? How will you protect your data from loss or exposure?
Verteks has the experience and expertise to help you develop a comprehensive plan for cloud migration. We will conduct a thorough assessment to identify applications that can be migrated easily and meet with key stakeholders to discuss the operational and management considerations. We can also help execute the migration with emphasis on security, data integrity and regulatory compliance.
Cloud computing requires a strategic approach that will optimize IT resources and enhance business processes. Let Verteks help you develop a cloud strategy that makes your organization more agile and efficient.