Cloud is the most discussed topic in both Business and Technology worlds and rightly so due to the relentless push given to it by all major IT vendors. With Microsoft trying to spearhead this massively disruptive movement due to the strangle hold it has on the corporate IT environment, its offering Office 365 is running away from its nearest competitors by miles. While the early office 365 adopters were those small businesses, educational institutions and non-profits – where the benefits were quite obvious, cloud is now getting pitched in well-established large IT environments as well. Microsoft has got almost everything right in its Office 365 offering due to its vast experience in dealing with businesses that have helped it evolve and hone its platforms, services and tools over the years.
Data Courtesy: http://www.gartner.com
You have been hearing and talking about moving to cloud and if you are a Microsoft enterprise, you are probably getting motivated to take a closer look at Office 365, what with some of the TCO benefits being articulated by Microsoft. So, is it really time to pay serious attention to the cloud migration and its offerings? What will happen to existing systems that businesses are fully entrenched in? What happens to existing organizational policies?
1. It’s all about Productivity and productivity means business
More the productive work more the business and revenue growth. It’s as simple as that. The time spent just to manage communication and collaboration in a traditional on-premises environment has been repeatedly discussed by business managers for several years now – productivity gets hurt when your functional tasks span beyond your desktop – controls, limited access, multiple tools, all bring down productivity. The one thing that cloud brings is consistency in how you access, share and manage information from wherever you are, whenever you want and whichever device you are using.
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2. Cost of doing business
This perhaps is the single biggest advantage that cloud providers tout big time to entice businesses to join the cloud bandwagon. While it is a no-brainer to gauge the benefits to small businesses, where IT resources are hard to come by, the jury is still out there when it comes to medium and large enterprises. This has to do more with the initial cost of cloud adoption than the overall long term cost benefits. The shift away from Capex to Opex is a significant leverage available to the CFO. Talk to any CFO and you will understand the Capex drain due to internal IT costs like IT administration, software, infrastructure and management. The capacity to pay on demand for IT needs results in a significant reduction in the cost of doing business.
Cloud Computing Increases Business Agility, Whatever That Means
3. Collaboration and increased participation among all stake holders
Instead of a select few, cloud opens up several interesting possibilities for collaboration among more number of people connected with the organization. Third-party vendors, suppliers, consultants etc. may now collaborate better with improvement in access controls to cloud systems without worrying about how to provide and control access to your on premise internal network. With the ability to work from anywhere, anytime, staffs can now be empowered to collaborate better to disseminate information quickly, organize tasks and take decisions at a scale never possible before. Real time decisions from business meetings, updates from conferences, and executing tasks faster in project pipelines are all examples of increased collaboration due to easier access to the cloud than on-premise systems.
“A recent survey by Frost & Sullivan showed that companies investing in collaboration technologies increased productivity by as much as 400%.“
4. Convenience of any type of access from anywhere with highly reliable security
The convenience of working on the cloud is immense. Apart from just productivity, the ease of use in just doing “stuffs” – anytime anywhere communication, storage and organization of data and documents and so on – brings a refreshing approach to the way we work using technology. There is a certain sense of security in working without worrying about backups, system crashes, physical security of data etc. The convergence of devices to perform similar tasks using a single unified interface, reduced time to get trained during cloud adoption are all great conveniences offered by the cloud.
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5. Sooner the better
Late adoption to Office 365 causes more pain due to the disruptive nature of cloud. Cloud creates more creative ways and means to do business and late adopters will start facing increased pressure when the rest of the world has already moved on. Cloud disrupts the way businesses are conducted and if your systems and processes do not transform and align with external changes quickly, the internal costs build up due to non-availability of IT resources, obsolescence of technology, increased costs of maintenance and so on. Inability to collaborate with other external stake holders also affects the functioning of the business itself. Early Office 365 adoption also helps in streamlining systems and processes early to cope with a transformed, cloud-aligned business later on. For an evolving small business it is easier to bring an organization-wide “cloud thinking” on a smaller scale than doing it later when a business is forced to scale up on resources.
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