18 Aug Small Business Clouds: The Strategic Perspective
When it first came to market, the cloud (or ‘The Cloud’) was an exotic new trend of which few really grasped the significance. During those times it was easy to write articles about the cloud because nobody knew into what it was going to mature.
Nowadays the landscape is a lot different. In fact, the landscape is the cloud. Whether purposefully or not, every business relies on cloud technology. However, precisely because of that omniscience, businesses often don’t know what exactly they’re relying on.
We don’t need to sell anyone on cloud computing any more, but we do need to dispel a lot of myths and clear up a lot of misunderstandings.
IT Grows With You
Before getting to the heart of things, we’d like to take this opportunity to extend our invitation. It is not a coincidence we’ve picked these topics to talk about. They’re the ones most often appearing in conversations with businesses about scaling their software systems properly.
Our portfolio is built on clients tasking us with developing, integrating, and supporting these facets of their business software. Thus we have extensive experience in what usually goes awry with cloud computing from a business perspective.
We live and breathe business IT and software systems — but of course we ought to. Recognising that, we’ve set out to build not only business relationships, but a community of businesses who can empower each other. Therefore, Transition is offering a free 4-hour consultation at the end of which we’ll connect you with those from our extensive contact list who are best suited to help propel your business forward.
How to use this article
Although we’ll dive into all of the topics that follow more deeply in the coming weeks and months, you should be able to scan for and identify your primary pain point(s).
We’ve wanted to give an overview that orients small businesses who look to grow and prosper through technology. The thoughts presented here come from nearly 20 years in the field. We’ve seen how cloud technology was born and we’ve seen it develop into what it is today — moreover, we’ve developed a decent amount of it ourselves.
We start with the strategic values of small business clouds, without which the practical, everyday aspects of business software that follow remain disconnected from the business and quickly lose value — and even become a liability.
Bespoke Software (vs?) Cloud
Many clients come to us using bespoke software, wanting to switch to cloud technology. The idea that the two are mutually exclusive has been one of the most widespread misunderstandings about this technology.
In fact, cloud technology can complement and enhance bespoke solutions. Even though cloud resources are often offered as a service based on usage, the technology they enable aren’t uniform and unchangeable.
Transition has been in the bespoke development space for nearly two decades. We’ve been developing software systems tailored specifically for
- companies ranging from start-ups to enterprises
- operating in a wide range of industries
- using the most complex workflows
With the introduction of our cloud services these don’t disappear. Instead they become more manageable and scalable.
At the same time, cloud services offer more detailed value than simply cost savings and better resource management.
Unified Management Systems
The more homogeny your systems have the better they become at serving business objectives. Business can, even unknowingly, trade control for convenience.
Although systems become detached from physical location through the cloud, they still need to operate as part of the company. Business development benefits from the aligning of internal departments with IT processes. A bespoke system running efficiently in a cloud environment enhances workflow across HR, CRM, ERP, and other systems while keeping costs down.
Big Data & Business Intelligence
Cloud technology enables large-scale data operations to benefit business decisions. With relevant data from comprehensive reporting tools companies can develop more purposefully.
Advanced dashboards not only provide quick insights but also develop business intelligence that educates employees and improves how they understand tasks within context.
Small Business Systems Integration with Cloud Technology
After understanding how putting bespoke systems into the cloud creates strategic opportunities, the second step is the actual task of integrating existing systems into a comprehensive framework.
Cloud infrastructure by nature scales in sync with the business, and allows interfacing with third party applications and services through a common layer.
Workflow automation and management
Smart processes and sophisticated yet simple automation frees up company resources for growth. Implementing and streamlining new business processes quicken to the point of becoming organic.
Creative and intuitive tools on top of comprehensive solutions create information governance across applications and technology platforms.
Productivity and employee satisfaction soars when IT processes don’t get in the way of getting things done. This can be achieved through simple but powerful workflow experiences.
Cloud Support, Support Cloud
A major reason why companies either shy away from cloud technology or abandon ‘classic’ software systems is the misconception of the support space.
Legacy software often becomes a hinderance due to support issues, but still remain valuable for the company. With thoughtful innovation involving reimagining core systems and migration of legacy data and processes, the cloud can become a continuation of that value.
Legacy Systems in the Cloud
Legacy systems often face compatibility issues, not least through inadequate and failing hardware. Maintenance becomes expensive if not downright impossible.
Cloud revitalises existing systems by moving off of hardware dependency and shifting to more accessible data. This preserves investment values, respects implementation complexity, but deploys against hardware-agnostic platforms.
Agility Through Mobility
Cloud technology itself isn’t dependent on the classic understanding of how IT is supposed to work. Hardware is turning irrelevant in favour of software becoming omnipresent.
This in turn creates the value of location independent businesses. Cross-platform mobile applications can communicate with the bespoke business systems through cloud layers.
Connecting Business With Customer
Cloud technology can also connect the internal and external systems of a business to provide better customer service.
Extending CRM into ERP integrates customer-facing systems to the back office. For customers this means quicker and more competent solutions to their problems, while businesses enjoy increased retention and satisfaction from their buyers.
Cloud computing makes sense for businesses experiencing or expecting significant growth. Small businesses especially can re-direct investment of revenue into business development instead of capital expenditures into software systems.
Money saved by avoiding risky long-term moves becomes a strategic advantage, without upfront commitment. This in turn enhances all processes, be them internal or external.
In this blog series we’ll cover both strategic and tactical aspects of building efficient, homogeneous, secure, and complete software systems. If you’d like to read the answers to specific questions, do get in touch so we can include the solution to your issue.