It doesn’t take long for digital technology to overtake a business, leaving a massive shortfall in terms of capability or flexibility. A lot has happened in computing over the last twelve months that may have passed you by while you’ve been busy concentrating on running your business.
Here are some of the main IT changes and trends that modern business owners should note:
Software Asset Management (SAM) Moves to the Cloud
Almost gone are the days when companies individually bought, licenced, installed and managed their software. Cloud-based vendors of productivity suites, such as Microsoft Office 365, have steadily moved customers to virtual platforms. The increasingly sophisticated capabilities of a cloud-based IT infrastructure make it almost impossible for those who resist the change to keep up with competitors who embrace it. Last year, Forbes reported Cisco as predicting as much as 83% of all data centre traffic will be cloud-based.
It’s a big change for many companies, but the benefits are well-documented by ourselves and other industry specialists. One of the most attractive is the transparent pricing, offering cost savings and budget predictability when compared to in-house SAM.
The Need for a New Core IT Skill Set
It can be difficult to make cloud computing work within an existing IT infrastructure design. In fact, you may be trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.
The scaling and capability limitations inherent with in-house systems can restrict development. Software and server upgrade expenses can also hamper company growth.
And there’s also the fact that adopting cloud-based IT is challenging for internal IT departments. It takes a different skill set to integrate and optimise cloud systems, so IT training becomes an ongoing expense. Many businesses seek external support through managed IT services to stay up to date and keep expenses manageable.
The Drive for Greater Productivity
You don’t have to look long or hard to hear reports of how current UK working practices demand a bigger time commitment from employees. And yet, despite longer working hours, UK productivity generally is still falling. Back in July, the Office for National Statistics reported a 0.5% drop in hourly output for the first quarter.
There is pressure on British companies for better efficiency, and longer working hours are not always the best answer. Research into how adopting new digital technologies streamlines efficiency indicates a better solution. We are all reliant on computers, in business and in personal lives. In business, studies show that staying up to date with digital development can lead to profits around 26% higher.
The Popularity of Hybrid Cloud Strategies
Another survey at the beginning of 2017 showed how many enterprises favour hybrid cloud solutions. In 2016, the percentage stood at 82%, rising to 85% in 2017. The survey also showed that only 1% is not planning any changes at all.
What is hybrid cloud computing? It is a mixture of on-premises resources and cloud services, both private and public clouds. The second largest public cloud provider is Microsoft Azure.
Inclusion of the word ‘public’ can be a little confusing. It doesn’t mean your data in the cloud is accessible to anyone. It means you access services over a publicly available internet connection, and that anyone can buy them.
Cloud computing trends through the year show more companies intend to upgrade. Sometimes we interpret ‘trends’ as being ‘fads’. That’s not the case here. The companies in the 1% not planning a review of their IT architecture run the risk of falling behind their competitors.