Businesses urged to look beyond the cloud for tailored ICT solutions

Every business can take full advantage of cloud but each should consider their ICT options carefully before choosing one to suit them,” says leading IT support and services company 365iT.

“We understand businesses see cloud as an attractive option and the benefits are significant and totally achievable,” says Peter Howells, Managing Director at 365iT Services. “But the journey to cloud deployment is more complex than many in the industry admit. Mass adoption and the full benefits are unlikely to be realised for some time yet.

“Until now businesses have used cloud for smaller parts of their ICT. Now, as a result of increased bandwidth and a changing economic landscape, many are looking at new ways of delivering applications and services over the internet. Whilst cloud is certainly one option for ICT deployment, it is not the only option with hybrid and on-premise solutions still having a part to play.”

To help businesses assess their readiness for cloud adoption – and indeed if it is the best solution for their needs – 365iT has identified five key considerations as part of a wider white paper.

Optimised solutions require careful planning
Planning is critical. Swapping one environment for another is a complex process that should not be underestimated. Both business requirements and the existing environment need to be considered and technical and financial objectives identified.

Value to the business versus cost reduction
Commercial gain and cost reduction are attractive benefits of migrating to cloud but should not be the main drivers. Whilst cloud deployment undoubtedly changes the cost model, it does not necessarily reduce it. Cloud does however allow ICT costs to be fixed which brings additional value to the business through greater stability, financial certainty and forward planning.

Another important consideration for many is the cost of leaving an agreement. Some businesses enter agreements on current requirements – but technology moves and changes quickly. Contracts and processes do not always allow for the level of flexibility needed.

Simplicity means meeting business objectives
Every business has different requirements and legacy systems, there is no one size fits all solution.

It is vitally important that businesses fully explore what they want from a whole or partial switch to cloud. Taking time to analyse – before a migration even begins – any issues and challenges that may occur, will help ensure the benefits of any change can be delivered as promised.

Another key consideration is the experience of those using the business. Ideally, the only difference users should notice is an improvement in performance and ICT support.

Steer clear of treating cloud as a utility
Whilst cloud, or indeed hybrid and on-premise ICT, can be accounted for in a financial context, in real-terms all are too important to be considered just a utility. They should be strategically reviewed regularly to support business strategy, ensuring the services they deliver continue to evolve and improve.

Commit to a change in culture
Addressing the human factor is crucial. People need to understand and engage in the process to embrace this new way of working. For many staff this is a training exercise, some skills will no longer be required but others will need developing. For those in ICT, it marks a fundamental move from trouble-shooter to strategic player.

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