It wasn’t long ago that “Cloud” was just a buzzword. Today it’s an everyday concept.
People use the Cloud in personal and business life all the time, even if they’re not aware that’s what they’re doing. For example, if you sign up for Microsoft Office 365 and access documents on multiple machines, you’re using the Cloud. The software and the hardware it runs on are located somewhere else.
Cloud computing allows your business to take what were once capital expenses (like an onsite server room) and transform them to operating expenses. There are trade-offs to making the Cloud transition, but it has gained strong favor, particularly among small- and medium-sized businesses that are facing the challenge of scaling up efficiently.
The typical business today doesn’t own its own onsite electricity grid to power the workplace, but taps into a grid located elsewhere. Cloud computing can be the same. Rather than installing software onto hardware at your premises, you tap into software like you would a utility, usually with a pay-as-you-go fee structure. The question of transitioning to the Cloud isn’t so much an “if” question as a “when” question.
Why cloud? For the convenience, savings and security.
Suppose you have a thriving business that is outgrowing its original accounting and operations software. There’s no question you will have to change to a new system capable of handling your new, bigger needs. Even if your old system is on-premises and you have hardware and a place for it to reside, there’s no guarantee that a new system would run on the same hardware. Upgrading your software on the premises could require spending a significant chunk of money. With the cloud computing, those worries go away.
In the early days of cloud computing, security was one of the biggest concerns and caused many businesses to question whether they should use it. Cloud providers have answered clearly by addressing head-on some of the biggest issues with cloud security. Policy-based firewalls, encrypted communication, and robust access management have alleviated the concerns and brought strong confidence in the security of cloud computing. Today it only makes sense that the biggest cloud providers for business software, like Amazon and Microsoft, are going to have more resilient and leading-edge security resources.
The Cloud also frees up your team to access their applications wherever they are.
“Now” doesn’t mean scrap all your legacy systems immediately and replace them with cloud solutions. But it does mean that your business needs a cloud strategy starting now. Chances are you’re already using the Cloud in some capacity, whether with something straightforward like Google Apps for office functions, or something complex like Hadoop clusters run by Amazon Web Services.
Think of the effort involved in maintaining and monitoring all your onsite software licenses. If a software provider decides to conduct a license audit (and they’re doing this with increasing frequency), you have to divert significant resources toward preparing for it, even if you have an asset management program that tracks software licenses accurately. That issue goes away with cloud services. You have a certain number of people using your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, for example, and that’s how many subscriptions you obtain from the Cloud ERP provider. It’s simple and there are fewer associated administrative tasks to deal with.
Which of your legacy software systems are becoming outdated? As these near the end of their useful lifecycle, exploring cloud options for their replacements only makes sense.
How to begin
Particularly if your business grew rapidly, you may have ended up with a variety of hardware and software investments over the years, and your IT team probably has its hands full. Beginning the transition to the Cloud is like beginning the transition to any better business process. You assemble key players, discuss problems with legacy systems, determine what’s available and what features you need, and proceed based on careful analysis of costs and benefits.
Let NexTec accompany you from the very first step of your journey to the Cloud. Having more than 20 years of experience delivering value-added business software to our clients, we know how to help you raise productivity and profitability with ERP, CRM, BI, and more. We’re ready to help you determine the exact solutions your business needs today and tomorrow.
Use the form on the right to contact us or download the NexTec brochure to learn more.