According to the research team at IBM, about 80% of the companies in the U.S. today want to use more cloud managed services. There are two main reasons for this.
First of all, the cloud places a great technology delivery model at businesses' fingertips. Unfortunately, most of these businesses are still learning how to harness this power though. Their staff simply doesn't have the knowledge they need here. This surprises many businesses who didn't expect the cloud to be so complex.
Secondly, businesses really need to get this right. For this reason, they're turning to specialists who can give them the management overlay they need so they can make sure their workload is secure, efficient, and cost-effective.
At the same time, it's also important to understand that this percentage includes companies who are already using a managed cloud hosting service and simply want to use more services. This is because there are more cloud managed services available now than ever before. With the right provider, these companies can add extra workloads, infrastructure, and applications to their managed workload agreements.
Why Businesses Are Using The Cloud Today
In 2014 Intuit also conducted a study that showed the number of businesses who would use cloud technology in 2020 would more than double. There are four reasons why this is now happening. They include:
- Lower costs are one of the most obvious benefits a business of any size will recognize. This is because cloud computing fully utilizes physical server hardware and this virtualization allows you to do more with less. As a result, your business doesn't need nearly as much IT requirements, rack space, or power usage as it did in the past. All of this results in saving money on things like maintenance, hardware, upgrades, and support, especially if you own and operate a small business.
- Collaboration gets easier with the cloud since employees can save and access files from the same master document. Upper management can also choose to limit what documents employees have access to. Regardless, employees can still upload, edit, and comment on documents together, allowing for more of a team approach to their work. Ultimately, this makes it easier for managers to track and manage an individual's progress, making things even more efficient.
- Client Meetings, as well as employee interaction, becomes easy with web conference, instant messaging and screen sharing. No matter how far or remotely you’re working.
- It no longer matters where your employees are located or what device they're using for doing their work. Thanks to the increased flexibility that cloud computing offers, your employees no longer have a reason why they can't get their work done. Files are no longer stuck in your office so flexible working arrangements are now possible. At the opposite end of this, managers' work is also easier because they can see what's being done at any time of the day or night, regardless of their location. Ultimately, this leads to even more cost savings because now small businesses can require employees bring their own computers. A BYOD (bring your own device) policy allows employees to work on devices they're comfortable with, including their tablet, laptop, and even their smartphone.
- When your business adopts a cloud-based solution, it enjoys many opportunities for simplified integration. This is because when you own a cloud-adapted business, you have the opportunity to integrate with various providers. As such, your business can take advantage of specialized services for everything from your back office's operations to human resources, marketing, and accounting too. These opportunities afford you the extra time you can spend focusing on the more important parts of your business.
Overcoming Challenges On Your Way To The Cloud
With so many benefits of moving to the cloud today, it's no wonder so many businesses are doing so. However, this move doesn't go without its challenges. Fortunately, these are something your business can overcome. Nevertheless, you need to know what they are. As such, they include:
- Unless you're moving to a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) it's easy to get things wrong at first. This is because infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is a lot like Legos – many pieces with many uses. For this reason, PaaS is highly recommended for businesses who are just getting started with using the cloud.
- People and processes must adapt when moving to the cloud. This takes time, which limits how effective adopting the cloud is. As such, tech-savvy companies find the move easier. On the other hand, big companies have a lot of transitioning to do, so it takes more time.
- Many people develop psychological barriers when it's time to move their business to the cloud. They worry about things like security, uptime standards, and technical support – all things that are easily addressed by any mainstream cloud provider. These concerns don't change over the years. However, when companies discover that they can actually reduce their hosting expenses by about 75% while maintaining their business' standards, these concerns usually mitigate pretty quickly.
- Time, cost and security are common challenges because moving data are slow, plus it requires a lot of bandwidth and man-hours. Many businesses also have security doubts, which is why they choose to store their data on a local server. Overcoming these concerns is a huge challenge. However, you should rest assured that managed services are powerful and cost-effective, especially when compared to what your company is currently using.
- It's important that you don't put more in the cloud than you and your team can effectively manage. In the same way, as you wouldn't put more on your plate than you can eat, this is “dangerous” because you'll start matching the wrong workloads with the wrong providers. Instead, you should take the time to properly plan out your move to the cloud. Make sure you match your workload and then migrate in the order of priority.
- When looking at the cents per service unit, remember to multiply it out correctly so you know its true cost over the course of a month or a year. By accurately estimating the costs before moving to the cloud you'll understand what services you should migrate first. It's a good idea to start by moving those in-house services that you don't use a lot because this is where the true savings are.
Moving to the cloud has a lot of great benefits. As such, it should come as no surprise that most businesses are making the move today. When you're ready to do so, make sure you take your time so that you experience a smooth transition.