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Cloud computing offers so many benefits to businesses of every size. This Q&A is designed to help you take advantage of technology and move your business to the cloud.
What does your business need?
Before you do anything, take a moment to review your business requirements. Identify where adopting cloud computing will make the most difference, provide the most improvements and get the most value out of your IT investment.
For example, implementing an account payable solution like WayPay can help speed up payments to vendors and save your business considerable time and money. Or, if many of your employees work remotely, perhaps centralizing how you access files and business information will give you the flexibility and efficiency your business is looking for.
Which option should you choose?
There are three types of cloud – public, private and hybrid. It’s important to get up to speed on each and to weigh their pros and cons. It should become clear which option will work best for your business. Generally, public clouds are cost-effective but not as secure and private. Private clouds are costlier but have more customization options.
What’s the best way to deploy?
Many cloud computing tools offer a free trial or pay-to-play model. It’s smart to take the trial run and see how the platform fits and benefits your business. If you make it a priority and utilize the tool for at least 30 days, you should be able to get a good understanding of how the technology works and if you want to roll-it-out across the remainder of your business/department.
When you chose to deploy, start small and keep it simple and uncomplicated. You can always scale up later when you are more comfortable with the technology and have a better understanding of how it can evolve with your business operations.
How do you get your employees on board?
Introducing a new technology process will impact everyone in your business. It’s a good idea to take the time and sit down with your employees and explain why you’ve chosen to adopt this new platform, how it impacts the organization, and most importantly, how it impacts them. Some employees may not see the immediate benefits of these changes. A clear sightline on why your business is adopting new technologies will help them become ‘believers’ sooner and with fewer disruptions in the transition from old to new.
Take the time to address their questions and concerns prior to integration to set expectations. Throughout the adoption process communicate frequently with everyone to provide updates and progress on process, timing and impacts. Maintaining transparency and an open-door policy will help facilitate a smooth transition.
Where can I get help and advice?
With so many businesses moving to the cloud, you are definitely not alone, and most business owners are happy to connect and share their knowledge. While their technology needs may be different from yours, there is still a great opportunity to learn from their experiences. What went well? What challenges did they face? If they had to do it again what would they do differently? Gathering these insights will help to better prepare you to adopt cloud technology in your business.
How do I evaluate vendors?
Do a search on Google and you’ll quickly see many cloud vendors interested in connecting with you and your business. You’ll even see big players like Microsoft and IBM targeting the small and medium business segments. Take the time to evaluate and pick the option right for your business. Try not to focus solely on price because reliability, scalability and ongoing customer support are also important factors to consider.
What about my future business needs?
While you’re probably looking to address your current business needs, keep your future goals in mind to ensure that as your business grows you have the right technology solution that will scale with your business.
Ask yourself questions such as ‘Where will my business be in five years?’ ‘Do I plan to grow?’ ‘How?’ ‘Will I need more employees?’ ‘Will they work remotely?’ ‘Will I expand my locations?’ These questions will help create a defined framework to ensure that the IT solution you select will meet the needs of your business today and as it evolves over time.
Don’t be afraid to ask vendors questions too. ‘How will they support you in the case of a security breach?’ ‘Where is your data being saved?’ ‘Does their platform meet your industry’s compliance and regulatory standards?’
Doing your due diligence and addressing the areas outlined in this article will help you meet the needs of your business today and for many years to come.
The information in this article is for educational and information purposes only and should not be relied upon for decision making. Always seek the expertise of a professional advisor or accountant prior to making any decisions.