Just about everyone who uses a computer or mobile device is familiar with the concept of cloud computing. Likely as not, when you snap a photo on your mobile, the image is transferred to storage offered by your contract provider. On the phone you see a small thumbnail until you access it via the Internet, either to share or edit.
The beauty of this system is that the phone’s internal storage isn’t stuffed full of photos. Recent advances in mobile photography resolution mean file sizes are now quite large. It wouldn’t take long before phones became unusable because they were full. Storing photos in the cloud frees up device resources but the pictures are available on demand. You can also create libraries to share with others.
Cloud technology applied to business computing works on a similar basis. The big difference is that business operations need a lot more computing power than capturing a moment on a mobile phone.
The Danger of Staying in a Business Rut
Established businesses often get stuck in a rut. The argument runs along the lines of, “this is how we’ve always done it. It works and we understand it. We’ll carry on with what we know.
The problem is that failing to stay abreast of tech advances creates a distinct risk. Competitors with stronger, faster, leaner, cheaper ways of developing products, manufacturing, shipping and managing customer relationships, will leave you behind.
Some well-known UK firms provide cautionary tales of what can happen if you lag behind. Examples include Jessops (giant photographic firm) and HMV (huge music and film retailing company). Both are still trading, but as shadows of their former selves.
First Thoughts about Cloud Integration
First thoughts should revolve around which systems or processes you want to improve. Embracing cloud technology is not just a matter of transferring existing operations.
There’s an opportunity for simplification and streamlining. So think about which areas of business you’d like to improve in an ideal world. It could be finance or manufacturing, app development or taking advantage of the Internet of Things, to name but a few.
Get an idea of where you could smooth out current processes or make them more efficient. Then explore cloud solutions that meet your new goals. Simply moving current operations may mean you also transfer current inefficiencies and will miss opportunities to improve and advance.
Step by Step Transitions
You don’t need to jump in the deep end and introduce a totally cloud-based system overnight. For many, a gradual transition works best. It allows staff to adapt and causes minimal disruption to everyday business.
Moving one workload at a time makes the process manageable. You could, for instance choose logistics, finance or sales operations to move to the cloud. Modular cloud software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows you to integrate CRM and ERP processes. If you’re currently operating these functions separately (with the chore of manual syncing) this may be a first consideration.
Hybrid cloud systems are popular for exactly this reason. Companies can choose where and how the cloud can best serve them, and focus technology advances in those business areas. Some processes remain handled by on-premise software and servers, while others move to cloud-based operations.
Expert Advice and Help
We specialise in helping businesses stay current with technology, preserve their place in the market and stay competitive. We recognise how confusing it can be, and what a big leap into the unknown cloud computing can often seem. If you already know the cloud is the way forward but are fighting to see how to achieve it, please get in touch. We have the expertise to help you figure out how to adopt cloud computing and offer suggestions on where to start.