Companies to Move ‘All-In’ on the Cloud
The cloud offers businesses innovative ways to optimize operations and achieve amazing results. While many companies have already migrated to the cloud in some capacity, the full scope of its services have yet to be fully leveraged. The cloud market today is a $200 billion industry, yet overall global IT spending is in the trillions of dollars. This is evidence that a great deal of IT spending is for on-premises technology. But there has never been a better time to fully embrace the cloud to take advantage of its many benefits and leverage the wisdom shared by early adopters.
Lessons from early adopters
BitTitan began moving to the cloud five years ago and is still not 100 percent there. The company quickly saw the benefits of being an early adopter of the cloud, including greater flexibility, ease of updates, enhanced security and data governance, improved collaboration, and the inherent cost savings that comes from not having to maintain and replace aging hardware.
Over time, many cloud migration pain points have been worked out with early adopters and vendors, and there is a plethora of documentation available online. Even so, companies embarking on such a project are likely to encounter challenges, and will learn and improve along their migration path. The first 80 percent of the migration is often time-consuming but not overly complex and can be done in stages. The last 20 percent of the migration is where the critical fine-tuning happens. To get a jump-start on their competitors, companies should begin moving ‘all-in’ on the cloud now.
Pre-migration factors to consider
There are a few important factors to consider when embarking on a cloud migration. Paying close attention to security at every stage can be challenging in a complex migration, but it must not be overlooked. Assess security requirements and consider assigning someone to monitor security throughout the migration. Also, evaluate the current environment broadly and assess what is truly needed before the migration. Many companies discover they can reduce costs by cleaning house before moving to the cloud. Having a solid plan before starting is important.
To ensure the move is truly cost effective, companies need to consider what happens after the migration. It’s important to properly decommission on-premises infrastructure to avoid paying for things no longer being used. And restructure the charter of the IT team to account for the fact that they will need to focus on different priorities in a cloud environment. Companies shouldn’t forget about end users of the new cloud technology. It’s vital that end users have the appropriate training to familiarize with new applications and minimize disruptions.
Boosted security protections and integration of workplace systems
IT professionals far and wide laud the benefits of single sign-on made possible in the cloud. It provides improved access control and security auditing, given that everything is in one place. Single sign-on also enables greater insights through analytics, improved data governance, the streamlined addition or removal of employees, the ability to set role-based permissions, and reduces the possibility of errors. And the improved integration of workplace systems means that company-wide processes can be easily monitored and enhanced, optimizing the efficiency of operations and increasing profit margins.
Better cost control
The cloud enables companies to more effectively monitor and manage costs. Having the ability to regularly audit usage of software and licenses can enable companies to quickly address underutilized applications. The company might be alerted to an opportunity to reduce license costs or it may signal a need for further training to be sure employees are effectively using critical workplace systems. The active visualization of costs in the cloud portal reduces reliance on finance to alert IT of cost overruns, which typically delays action. The process of moving to the cloud can also offer cost management opportunities as companies encounter old systems that won’t easily transfer to the cloud. It can be a good time to restructure and improve systems to add flexibility and agility, which can lead to further cost savings.
Streamlined employee experience and productivity
One of the benefits most notable to employees is the improved collaboration offered through the cloud. In today’s business world, having access to data and tools from anywhere at any time is no longer a luxury; it’s a business imperative. The cloud enables routine IT tasks, such as password resets and bit locker recovery, to be automated or set up for self-service. This not only allows employees to avoid spending time waiting for assistance from IT, but it also enables IT to focus on more meaningful work as a partner to employees. Employee onboarding is also greatly improved through the cloud, as it allows managers and HR to automate as much as possible for new employees to make their onboarding experience as seamless as possible.
Going ‘all-in’ on the cloud will ultimately position businesses to fully leverage the many benefits the cloud offers, leading to better business results. While a full move to the cloud may not be entirely possible for many businesses yet, there are many ways to approach migration, and the process can be done in stages. Getting the first 80 percent out of the way as soon as possible will position companies to focus on the critical last 20 percent when the time is right, so they can realize the benefits of moving 100 percent to the cloud sooner rather than later.
By Nikolaus Thumma
Nik Thumma is an IT manager, systems engineer at BitTitan, where he manages helpdesk and IT expenses, coordinates company-wide integration of applications, and serves as subject matter expert on active directory and Office 365 projects. He previously worked as a systems administrator at Lockheed Martin, as a support technician at Outerwall, and as operations support at GTECH. He has a bachelor’s degree in information systems from York College of Pennsylvania.