Any business that has yet to migrate at least some of its processes and applications to the cloud is leaving money on the table. After all, adopting cloud-based systems is a quick way to make processes and tasks in your organisation more efficient.
According to a Harvard Business Review report, 71% of organisations believe that cloud computing can reduce the complexity of their operations. Mind you; this was before the pandemic.
With COVID-19 accelerating the growth of remote work (more than half of the US workforce worked from home at the height of lockdown) and the consumer shift to digital goods and services, businesses that are further along their journey to the cloud are positioning themselves to better adapt with the times.
But why exactly is moving to the cloud so important? And what does the “cloud” even mean?
What Is Cloud Computing?
The “cloud” refers to a computing environment where data and applications are hosted in offsite servers connected to the internet. This is in contrast to an on-premise environment, where workloads run through hardware and servers in your facilities.
Cloud services provide a way to deliver applications, data, services and content to users over the internet — a process called virtualisation. These cloud services range from enterprise-level data storage and backups, virtual machines, software, data analytics and chatbots, among others.
Reasons to Move to the Cloud
Now let’s get down to the benefits of cloud computing. Here are four examples.
1. Better Data Security
Cloud-based systems are not bulletproof — no IT environment is. But according to the Oracle and KPMG Cloud Threat Report 2020, 75% of cybersecurity and IT pros believe the cloud to be somewhat and much safer than on-premise servers.
Storing your company data on the cloud allows you to access the advanced encryption features of major cloud providers, giving your workloads and resources an extra layer of protection.
And in the event of a potential cybersecurity incident such as a stolen mobile phone or laptop, your administrators can use cloud-based security features to wipe the laptop remotely.
2. Cost Reduction
According to a survey of 137 IT leaders by OpsRamp, 47% said their IT costs are estimated to fall by 30% to 50% by using cloud infrastructure and apps. Several factors can drive this cost reduction.
For starters, cloud computing can significantly lower your capital expenditure on hardware. By moving your workloads and IT infrastructure to the cloud, you no longer need to purchase expensive on-premise computers and servers to house all your company data and user information.
This can be a game-changer for small businesses as it enables them to divert their savings to things that create value, such as research and product development, marketing or customer engagement.
And as your business grows, your cloud infrastructure can efficiently scale alongside your needs without requiring prohibitive investments in hardware, software, security, and IT support. Even better, you can easily scale down your computing and data storage requirements if you need to downsize.
3. Better Data Visibility
Cloud computing has transformed the management, analysis and distribution of business data. Many off-the-shelf cloud-based tools and SaaS (software as a service) products come with a built-in data analytics backend that allows you to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) about your business and even have a better understanding of your customers’ habits.
Take cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) systems, for example.
Every time your frontline staff use your POS, your cloud-based platform generates and stores a plethora of data points such as:
- The data and time of the sale
- The customer’s buying habits (i.e., if the purchase is by new a returning customer)
- The item value of the purchase
- The total cart value
- The number of remaining units for the SKU
This data is updated in real-time, giving you the latest information about your inventory, sales data and customer purchases. This data is essential to the profitability and long-term survival of your business, allowing you to make strategic decisions about procurement, marketing, promotions and staffing.
Now Is the Time to Plan a Cloud Migration
While the performance gains and cost savings of operating on the cloud can be tempting to business owners, bear in mind that migrating from your on-premise systems to a new cloud environment can be a complex process. It’s essential to take the time to understand your current IT infrastructure and how it drives your business. Better yet, look for an IT consultant specialising in cloud services to walk you through a successful migration.
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