Is your head in the clouds?

Cloud computing and IT

How and why to outsource your IT and move to the cloud

Cloud computing and digitisation hadn’t been a concern for many industries until, almost overnight, employees had to work remotely – and couldn’t because their technology didn’t support doing so. Full access to data and systems was impossible from a remote location throwing the overwhelming benefits of cloud computing into sharp focus for many. The cloud provides a fast way to reduce spend and operational risk, and post-lockdown it’s been thrust to the top of an organisations’ operational strategies agenda.

Living through lockdown also highlighted the skills, or lack of them to deal with such an enormous curveball at short notice. Many organisations, especially perhaps those who don’t have vast internal IT departments, struggled to shift people and systems out of their place of work and into the home office. In such circumstances, business continuity was severely affected whilst many scrambled to find help from experts. The benefits of choosing an IT outsource partner were also put under a spotlight.

Of course, technology companies must take some of the blame for the lack of action in moving to the cloud. A jargon fuelled industry often leaves executives cold – those MD’s and FD’s who just need to know what cloud computing is, what it does, how it can save costs and how to move systems over can be left in a haze. Most execs don’t want to know about the bits and bytes of the technology, only what benefits it brings.

So here we try to provide some clarity around the how-to’s and why’s in adopting an outsourced partner and moving an organisation to the cloud.

What is cloud computing?

Let’s start at the beginning. Simply, cloud computing is the ability to access your data (files, critical business information and systems) via an internet connection because its stored on someone else’s server which is maintained by them – for example, Microsoft365, Google Cloud etc. Gone are the days when you need your own server, file storage or back-up and a bunch of people to look after them, instead leaving it to the experts to do that and delivering all the business benefits that come with outsourcing your IT.

What are the business benefits of the cloud?

  • It’s an instant cost reduction to your organisation – you no longer need the skills inhouse to maintain your systems, nor do you need the expensive hardware, software, back-up, security and corresponding upgrades. Renting resources via the internet monthly (known as software as a service, or SaaS) is much more cost efficient and your internal IT team can focus on important tasks such as process improvement rather than fixing issues and ‘keeping the lights on’.
  • Remote working during the pandemic has highlighted one of the core benefits of cloud computing beautifully. A primary reason to move to the cloud is to be able to be somewhere else, but to have the same level of access as if you were in your place of work. As long as you have a Wi-Fi connection and an enabled device, you will have access to your business-critical systems if they are in the cloud. Maintaining business continuity by being able to continue working from any location in the face of unforeseen events is a huge benefit of cloud computing.
  • Being cloud-based means your systems are always up to date and maintained – upgrades happen regularly without the need to worry and data security in the cloud has proven to be much more reliable than most on premise solutions. In any outsourced IT partner contract, there are strict service level agreements (SLA’s) governing disaster recovery and back-up, so your data is safer in the cloud than it is on your own server.
  • Productivity is increased as colleagues can collaborate across all departments. Every team member has access to the latest information and systems so that the entire organisation has one ‘source of truth’.

The benefits of choosing an outsourced IT partner

Choosing the right IT partner is like choosing an extension to your inhouse team – it’s important they are experts, are able to consult with you when or if you need help and deliver something over and above the knowledge you already have internally. Adding value sounds cliché, but if your partner doesn’t, they’re the wrong fit for your organisation.

  • Outsourcing means that you have IT experts at your disposal 24x7x365. You have access to the right level of skills as well as the right type of skills whenever you need it.
  • It isn’t simply about cost-cutting, it’s also about innovating rapidly to meet consumer demand and working to a wholly new digital culture – the type that gets things done and wows your customers.
  • It also means that you can scale the type and level of experience you need in line with demand. Cut back on resources in leaner times and ramp up when you need the scalability to grow. You have fast access to those who can help you without the need for expensive or time-consuming recruitment.
  • Relax knowing that experts are anticipating what comes next – they have a roadmap for your business, and they can alert you when things need upgrading, changing or can be improved to save costs or improve efficiencies.
  • Outsourcing can provide the cultural change for those organisations that may struggle to achieve it internally and it delivers the speed of execution required to keep your business relevant, so it thrives.
  • You’re free to do what you do best. You can concentrate on your organisation, its goals and the needs of your customers without having to worry about technology or data security.

If you’d like to discuss outsourcing your IT or moving to the cloud with a totality services expert, please get in touch today.