In today’s connected world the only constant is change, especially when it comes to the technology we use to help run our businesses. The pace of that change is constantly accelerating, whether as a result of major innovations like cloud computing or the impact of economic events.
The technology that you use should be an asset—one that helps you to anticipate, manage, and respond quickly to change. It should make life easier, and provide the flexibility to adapt quickly to your changing business needs—whether expanding the infrastructure that powers your business applications, or adding devices and apps that help your employees do their best work.
Businesses are now looking to cloud technologies to provide that flexibility and help adapt quicker to change.
Choosing Your Technology Path
Your businesses requirements for cloud technologies are going to change and grow, so having a flexible cloud platform that lets you choose the path that’s best for your business, is going to be the best fit.
You also want to find a platform that doesn’t come with a huge amount of additional training and costs or related business disruptions. Meaning you can use technology to adapt more quickly to changing business needs and move more quickly than your competitors.
So how do you find the right platform for you? You start by asking questions of you and your team, to identify exactly how you need a cloud platform to work for you.
How does your team work now?
Take a close look at how you and your team work currently. What applications do you all use daily? What devices are you working on? Answering these questions will help chose the solution that allows you to continue much as you are, just adding greater efficiency.
As an example, if you are currently working on server with the Microsoft Office tools such Word, Excel etc. then the most appropriate cloud solution could be Office 365, as your team already use these and will just continue as they are without much extra training required.
How much flexibility do you need in the medium to long term?
With any cloud solution, you don’t want to have to accommodate apps or services you don’t need right now, just because they are part of a package. You want to get only what you need, and be able to change your requirements easily, when you need to.
Think about the flexibility you need in the medium to long term, so as your business grows you and your team are ready with the software and tools they need to do their jobs. You need to be able to instantly add the apps or services you need to meet your business challenges.
Do you need built-in migration support?
One of biggest hurdles in adopting a cloud solution is migration – moving all your existing business data and apps. Luckily, some cloud solutions eliminate this hassle with built-in support for migration, meaning that you get support with importing your data. By choosing a solution with this benefit, you can save yourself a lot of time and avoid potential mistakes down the road.
Do you need to work with a partner?
If the choices on offer are overwhelming, one of the best ways to ensure you make the right technology decisions is to enlist the skills of a technology partner. Some businesses can shy away from this because they already have lots of technology expertise in-house.
But often a fresh perspective into your challenges and technology can support you to meet those challenges can be refreshing. Technology partnerships allow your business to bring the knowledge of your business needs and business model, and combine it with the deep knowledge that a partner organization has to offer.
How can you phase in a transition to a new way of working?
The last thing you want is business disruptions with people getting used to new ways of working, or learning how to use a completely new set of tools.
A good starting point, if you don’t want to make the jump to a full cloud solution straight away, may be to get the best of your server and the cloud. Hosting and accessing your business applications such as email or documents is a great start. Over time you can run more apps on the cloud helping reduce your costs as you grow.
Often, choosing the right cloud solution requires commitment – either monetary or with changes in routines and workflow. While this kind of change usually requires little effort in the long-run, the process of getting started can seem time consuming. But by identifying upfront exactly what you need, you know that whatever solution you bring into the business will be the best fit.