One of my favorite cloud success stories comes from my friend Alan, who works for an industrial paint company. When his organization decided to move to the cloud, there was a lot of resistance throughout the company. Unfortunately, a lot of the team had a “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality, and didn’t want to embrace the change that the cloud would bring. Many team members didn’t see an opportunity to improve the company, they just saw change and they didn’t like it. So Alan explained that the move to the cloud would make their lives easier. Salespeople could enter sales orders from the road on their laptops instead of having to track down a fax machine. Delivery drivers could enter mileage and timecards from their smartphones instead of having to use the old paper forms back at the office. Billing could electronically send invoices and payment reminders to customers instead of mailing them out. Once Alan explained all the new things the team would be able to do, they quit putting up a fight and instead started asking, “what else can we do with the cloud?”
Changing workflows with cloud solutions
When you move to the cloud the same question still applies: “what can we do with this technology, and how will it help our team?” The answers you come up with will guide you as you consider which tools and applications to move to the cloud, and how to use them once they are there. As you contemplate utilizing cloud services, keep in mind these four key benefits for every cloud experience:
1. You’ll have more time to work on things that are interesting, exciting and drive revenue. The real savings in moving to the cloud comes in the form of more efficient and more effective work. Breaking down the true costs associated with how your organization works and how new tools will change those costs is key when moving to the cloud. Alan moved his company’s email to hosted Exchange, and while the cost was a little more per mailbox than his previous mail solution, both Alan and his internal IT director found themselves with more time to focus on revenue-generating activities. They no longer had to fix the email server every time there was a problem.
2. You’ll remove roadblocks like never before. Finding useful ways to expand what your team can do with their tools is a big component of your future success with the cloud. Are there new ways to interact with customers that were previously unavailable? Can you speed up your cash conversion cycle with a digital accounting system? Will always-on access give your employees a way to work from anywhere and at any time? An example is how cloud-based CRM solutions mean salespeople can enter requirements, confirm sales orders, and generate invoices while meeting with customers out in the field.
Alan’s sales team was shocked at how much more productive they could be from the road. Instead of entering sales orders at the end of each day from the business center at the hotel, they could enter them as soon as they walked out the door of a client office. Even better, the team back at headquarters was able to process orders as the salespeople entered them, instead of showing up in the morning and having a huge stack of orders to wade through.
3. You’ll finally have complete integration of all your tools. All too often we see organizations creating more work for themselves by using systems that aren’t compatible with each other. In such cases, more work is created by having to combine the two systems, which leads to frustration for employees and headaches for IT administrators. Thankfully, most systems available in the cloud have APIs and exports that encourage cross-compatibility. From data storage to business intelligence and all points in between, cloud and virtualized solutions can be brought together to create a more powerful experience for employees and customers alike. For Alan, this meant syncing his inventory system with his accounting software, to automatically order new inventory when items in stock began to run low.
4. Your disaster recovery plan just got a whole lot simpler. Using cloud or virtualized services means removing a lot of the possibility for disaster at your own location. Think about it. Since data and applications are being powered from another location, an incident at your office doesn’t mean your business will be halted in its tracks. Being able to access the tools you need from anywhere means having the peace of mind that an office flood or a failed hard-drive on the local server won’t interrupt your business. That piece of mind might just be the biggest benefit of all.
No one moves to the cloud simply because it seems like the popular thing to do. Moving from on-premise hardware to hosted and virtualized solutions is about security, accessibility, and flexibility. That is the real power of the cloud: finding new ways to be productive, to make the workday a little easier on employees, and to have peace of mind that your data is safe. Ready to get started? The Diamond IT team would love to help! From cloud migration services to helping manage and maintain your virtual infrastructure, our team has years of experience helping organizations of all sizes get the most out of the cloud. Contact us to learn more about how DiamondIT can help get your team to the cloud!