Cloud technology is a subject that is talked about A LOT.
Now rightly or wrongly and whether it irritates you or not, this type of technology is not going anywhere. It is revolutionary whether we like it or not. Take The Internet, Email, and Mobile phones as examples. Each one of these inventions had it's advocates and its critics and yet all three have taken the world by storm and still stand strong as modern amenities in people's lives today.
In today's blog, I want to focus on what a typical but fictional SME business could look like in five years time both if it DID and DID NOT embrace cloud technologies.
For the purpose of this exercise and out of sheer lack of originality, I am going to call my fictional business Brady's!
Here are some quick made up "facts" about Brady's
- 7-year old publishing house for children's books with a head office in London
- 70 employees: 50 office based, 20 remote
- Established client base and great network of partners in London
- Leased office space. Rent is expensive and we are growing
- Content rich website with an e-commerce section
- Employee's crave flexible working and varied work spaces
- Operating systems are the latest and have a mixture of Mac, PCs, and mobile phones
- Backup solution = Physical replication of our on-premise servers in a remote location
- Finding the right new talent is tough!
I think that will do for now!
Here are some of the challenges that I think Brady's would face in five years time without Cloud Technologies...
|Client Base & Network||Growth has slowed down as employees are restricted in where they work. Our customer service level has declined and it is becoming difficult to promote the brand into new areas outside of London.|
|We are still growing, although at a much slower rate than previous years. We still need a permanent office space of substantial size as the majority of employees are office based. There is huge demand for a truly flexible work culture but we are finding it hard to achieve with current technology.|
|Flexible working & culture||Employes continue to crave flexible working and remote access to data. They are becoming increasingly frustrated and productivity is suffering. We have started to introduce breakout areas within the office but it is hard for people to achieve the same level of work they would at their desk due to poor connectivity and access to data.|
|IT Mix||We have an increasingly diverse range of user groups that are using a variety of mobile and desktop devices. It has become complex to manage whilst trying to enable everybody to communicate from no matter where they are. Enquiries are taking longer to resolve than they should and we could be doing things much quicker.|
|Back-up||We still have a duplication of our on-premise solution in a remote location. It is becoming increasingly expensive and unpredictable. As we continue to grow we have to add to the infrastructure twice over. Both our costs and levels of risk are increasing.|
|New Talent||Young talent within the industry have very high expectations of the workplace. They come for interviews asking us about our IT infrastructure and the ethos that we harbour here at Brady's. They have very clear ideas of how they want to work and we find it hard to keep hold of them for much longer than 6 months.|
|General||In the last five years productivity has dropped to an all-time low and we are struggling to maintain levels of customer service that we once had. We used to be ahead of the curve but are finding that we now sit slightly behind everybody else.|
Any of the above sound familiar?
Well here is what I think Brady's would look like in 5 years time if it did introduce Cloud Technologies...
|Client base & network||Office 365 means the Brady's team can now work from anywhere! 80% of our team now work flexibly between the office, home, and in between appointments. We are experiencing fantastic growth and with our editors, designers, and sales team working remotely, we have used some of the office space for an in-house support and admin team! Productivity and service is better than ever!|
|Office space||We have moved from our leased office into a smaller but privately owned building. We have a central office space for those that are permanently desk based and the rest of the space is broken up into different breakout areas for our entire workforce to use for collaboration and hot desking.|
|Flexible working & culture||Features of Office 365 like Groups, Planner, Delve, and Skype for Business allow different user groups to be in communication during projects and throughout the day. People that work remotely are constantly accessible and we have created a true sense of collaboration and creativity within the business.|
|IT Mix||We still have a large estate of mobile devices and phones. Alongside Office 365 we have integrated an 8x8 unified communications solution, which connects all of our communication tools so that we can all stay in touch no matter where we are. SharePoint and OneDrive in Office 365 are enabling employees to access their work data from anywhere and paired with Groups and Planner, everybody is always in the know.|
|Back-up||When moving premises we decided to review our backup solution. During the move, we failed everything over to Azure to reduce the impact on our productivity. Once the move was complete we migrated our data to Azure servers and now we have a completely secure backup solution that comes with complete flexibility and is much more affordable!|
|New talent||Our culture and the way we encourage employees to work has become part of our brand. We now have a team of graduates that have recently joined the ranks and they are teaching us more and more about modern ways of working everyday!|
|General||In the last 5 years we have increased what our employees achieve within the same number of hours, our teams have become more connected, the service we provide has improved, and everybody is more relaxed and successful at work. Using Cloud solutions we have saved costs, improved productivity, and created the culture that our biggest asset(our people) have been craving for years!|
And there you have it. A brief and fictional example of how the absence of cloud technology can amplify business challenges over time, and how its presence can, in fact, help overcome the same challenges.
I am very aware that migrating to the cloud can be a daunting task to face but that is why companies such as ACS exist. Our Cloud Team are here to get to know the current picture of your business and learn about where YOU want it to be in five years time. Consultations around your current environment, which cloud technologies would suit your business, and how to achieve the migration and implementation are what we know best.