Many businesses put large amounts of time and money into investing in and managing their hardware and software. This is all fine and well if your business is in IT, but what about if it isn’t? How much money have you invested in technology you don’t understand? How many additional man hours do you expend trying to manage it yourself? How much money are you spending on hiring experts that cost a fortune and are not directly contributing to your business bottom line?
The shift to cloud services addresses this dilemma for businesses of all sizes. With cloud, there is no large upfront cost and most solutions are easily scalable, allowing you to add or remove user licences as needed. Our experience has shown that it allows us to offer solutions to businesses that might not have had access previously due to set up times, upfront purchase price or even location - cloud provides products with greater international reach.
When you own the hardware and infrastructure, it is your responsibility to maintain it, keep the security up to date, ensure that there is sufficient storage and that your backups are working and heaven forbid anything crashes or breaks down and you don’t have an internal specialist on staff – the cost of bringing in an external consultant can be prohibitively expensive. How much are you investing in an IT department to manage a system that is there to support your core function, not be the core function?
Moving into the cloud can be a daunting prospect, as many consider it the “unknown”, this is no longer the case with the proliferation of cloud services, and the many high level businesses that successfully use them should help ease your concerns. Remember, transitioning from traditional paper practices to IT solutions raised many of the same fears in the past and look at where we are now.
The data centres cloud providers use, have backups in place to prevent the loss of your data, ensuring your ability to recover it should any disaster hit – natural or otherwise. In addition to this, the physical security at a data centre far surpasses that which the average business could afford. So you are gaining a physical safety bonus as well.
Most providers will also include automatic updates, from software integrations, customisations, fixes and even additional products and features that can be implemented without any disruption to your business.
Cloud services not only allow you to refocus on your company’s key strengths and clarify your objectives, it also frees up large amounts of capital from hardware and software, allowing you to invest in your business and the people who will help you take it to the next level.
*As published in Accountancy South Africa magazine in June 2014