For whatever reason, new technology makes individuals do crazy things. Eager to get their hands on their very own iPhone 7, people wait for days or even weeks in long lines outside Apple stores in Sydney and Melbourne approaching the phone’s release. Considering how the differences between the iPhone 6 and 7 are minimal, you might think these people are crazy. Sure, the iPhone 7 might be quicker and have a few more features, but it will hardly change the way those in line live their lives.
And while there are not many technologies that small and mid-sized business owners can afford to line up for — after all, you do have a to business run — the same kind of fervour can build over certain advancements that are designed to help improve profitability. For example, the cloud has been one such technology that SMB owners have been racing to adopt despite not really knowing how to use it to its fullest potential.
A study from Statista, an Australian-based research firm, showed that the cloud services market is expected to bring in $2.7 billion next year. That’s partly due to many Australian SMBs’ willingness to adopt this technology despite having concerns about security and other issues. The benefits of embracing cloud technology are often too great to pass up.
However, in the same way that iPhone fanatics realise the latest model isn’t actually worth it, SMB’s who abruptly embrace cloud technologies realise that implementation won’t be as easy as plugging something in.
Cloud implementation is a complex and time-consuming process that SMB owners must be ready for. If the implementation is a success, a world of benefits, including lower operating costs, increased productivity, and improved employee mobility await. Rushed or incomplete cloud implementation can negatively impact productivity and leave an SMB on the hook for thousands of dollars in unused equipment and storage space. With that in mind, answering these three questions will help your business navigate implementation and eventually reap the rewards of the cloud.
1.) What does your company want from the cloud?
If your answer to this question is simply benefits, you’re not quite ready for cloud implementation just yet. The cloud can be very powerful for a company’s operations, but much like any technology, it must have a clearly defined role in order to be of use. If your business hopes to reduce its storage costs and gain mobility, transferring files and data to the cloud can accomplish both.
However, if you simply move everything to the cloud with no real plan in place, this can end up having severe repercussions. Legacy applications or custom-made ones, which currently work fine on in-house servers, may not be able to function in a cloud environment and can cause countless headaches and delays during implementation.
Instead, clearly understand what your business is hoping to accomplish by integrating cloud technology, and make sure the implementation adheres to these goals. This will make navigating the process significantly easier.
2.) What IT infrastructure you have & what you need?
A quick or careless cloud implementation will cost your business a lot of money. Additionally, you may end up with way too much or not enough space and capabilities. Being able to avoid this scenario is important for SMBs who do not want the cloud implementation to go over budget.
Before beginning to adopt cloud technology, it’s vital to assess your current IT infrastructure. This will help paint a clear picture of what your company currently has, and what will be needed in the short and long term. If a majority of your servers are more than three years old and performance begins to decline, starting to retire these in favour of cloud storage could be a wise decision. However, if your organisation has recently purchased new servers, now might not be the best time to move everything over to the cloud, as it will be hard to recoup the investment on the hardware.
Finally, be sure security is included during this process. Some industries have specific security measures they are obligated to put in place to protect data and information. This means they will either need to remain on-site or stored using a private cloud. Factoring in all these concerns will ensure that the cloud implementation is a seamless process that doesn’t drag on for months.
3.) Who’s managing the cloud?
This is arguably the most important consideration for a business thinking about adopting cloud technology. Partnering with an experienced and skilled cloud service provider can be the best move a company can make. They will have the ability to guide you through the entire cloud implementation process, helping your company avoid potential pratfalls. Those providers who have experience in the field will also prevent the implementation from causing extended periods of downtime, which is always a concern.
Most importantly, the cloud service provider will show employees how everything can be used through training sessions instead of simply turning over the technology once installation has been completed. Much in the same way a company building someone a car and handing them the keys is pointless without teaching them how to drive, having a cloud service provider install the technology without proper training renders the implementation moot.
Director of Empower IT, Salim Sukari says, “There is no question that cloud technology has been a game changer for Australia’s SMBs. This does not mean bringing it to your company is as simple as snapping your fingers. Cloud implementation is a process that must be considered carefully in order for your business to get the most from it. One of the most common mistake business owners make is rushing into it. This almost always leads to issues during the implementation process. It’s better to take your time, plan accordingly, and find a cloud service provider who is willing to act as your partner, not simply another customer.”
Ready to bring the cloud to your business? Get in touch with the experts at Empower IT. We have experience helping SMBs throughout Australia find the right fit when it comes to cloud services. We’re here to guide you through the entire cloud implementation process. We prepare your business for what to expect, keep you up and running during the implementation, and ensure your staff knows how to get the most from the new technology. This guarantees that your company will enjoy all the benefits of the cloud.