The last two years have seen a change in IT strategies. In some cases, business strategies have become survival strategies as they struggle with the changes in the business landscape following the pandemic. Many want to move to an e-commerce platform and perhaps upgrade their web presence.
The effects on IT have been equally traumatic, with the implementation of the new strategies required with a minimal budget. Cloud Services supplied by an outsourced managed services provider (“MSP”) are becoming popular because they don’t need any capital expenditure, and recurring costs can be met from operational income.
There are other benefits that come from a move to using Cloud Services.
Implementing new systems and moving to the Cloud will mean changes to business operations. This provides an opportunity to review existing business policies and procedures. A lot of the time, existing policies and procedures have been in place for a considerable time and reflect business needs that are no longer applicable. This is an opportunity to develop new and more efficient business flows and take advantage of new technologies.
One further point to consider is staff deployment and numbers. By moving to the Cloud and implementing new business flows, you are taking them out of their comfort zones. Some will be in favour, some indifferent, and some will actively resist.
The implementation programme must include staff participation in the development of the new flows to ensure that they feel part of the process and can take ownership of the new policies and procedures.
One point to remember is that existing systems need to keep running. This means that new systems must not impede their operation, and resources used for the existing systems can’t be transferred to development and implementation.
As a result, keeping systems in-house will mean additional expenditure for new hardware and software and temporary skills. The implementation project must also take great care not to affect normal day-to-day operations.
Hardware and Software
Implementing new systems or moving to an in-house Cloud Services basis needs new hardware and software. Often, implementing new systems and procedures such as e-commerce needs to be done quickly, and can’t wait on hardware and software procurement cycles. This is especially important if company policy dictates purchases need to follow a formal tender process.
An MSP will have the necessary infrastructure in place, so implementation can begin immediately. In addition, if additional resources are needed at any time, the MSP can provide them, again without waiting for the completion of a procurement process.
Downtime costs are also reduced in the Cloud. Because downtime causes reputational damage to an MSP, it is rare in cloud systems. As a result, the time and money costs associated with fixing issues related to downtime are avoided.
An MSP will also be able to provide warm bodies to help with support and development. They should also be able to supply technical expertise to assist with the setup of the new facilities.
Using an MSP means that you do not need large support teams to handle your day-to-day operations. They will provide the necessary support staff. They will also have specialist technical resources to help your development and specialist staff with the evaluation of technical requirements.
Cloud technologies are a great option for businesses because they help enterprises efficiently scale their IT needs to reflect their business demands.
If a business has increasing or fluctuating bandwidth demands. or If your business environment dictates an increase in requirements, your MSP can easily increase your cloud infrastructure. They can also provide temporary infrastructure upgrades if they are needed from time to time. Having this level of agility can give businesses a competitive edge over their competition.
Using an MSP to carry the weight of your infrastructure can reduce the risks of in-house operational issues and hardware and software maintenance. Scalability is probably the greatest hidden advantage of the cloud.
Implementation and Development Time
Using an MSP will provide quick deployment. Being able to bring new cloud computing instances into operation in a matter of seconds provides enhanced agility and speed of software development. As the new systems are implemented and interfaces developed, the project team can easily evaluate new ideas and create application architectures without restrictions imposed by on-site hardware limitations or slow procurement processes.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
All prudent businesses have disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place in case a major loss of service happens for any reason. In the case of Cloud deployments, the business and MSP can prepare contingency plans to ensure that service levels are restored with a minimum of delay.
For example, if a large organisation uses multiple Cloud sites, losing one site can be covered by failover processes that automatically switch traffic to another site.
An organisation can accrue significant business advantage by leveraging new business flows with the implementation of Cloud Services.