Adopting a Software as a Service (SaaS) business model and deploying major business systems in the cloud is a marmite-subject amongst senior management teams. Those that can see the benefits of the cloud do not see why it wasn’t done yesterday, meanwhile other stakeholders believe investment into a new platform just isn’t justified. We’re sharing some of our experiences to help you manage the change in practices, policies and culture in your organisation.
1. Security fears
This is the default obstacle faced by decision makers trying to induce change amongst the wider senior management team. With so many high-profile cases of data breaches and leaks in the press every other month it is clear to see why a director’s first instinct is to protect the company’s intellectual property. A counter argument for every security concern you’re likely to face would take some serious research and preparation. There are shortcuts that you can apply that are equally effective.
Firstly, you can lean on a cloud partner for their support. Bringing the experts into the equation early can speed up the process as questions can be answered on the spot, examples and references can be shared and what is a major transition for your business is just another successful migration project for your partner.
Secondly, there are other tools like Microsoft’s Azure data centre virtual tours that help management teams realise that taking comfort in the tangible company servers locked away in the secure server room is probably unjustified.
2. What are my IT staff going to do?
This is typically the second question the organisation asks when it considers cloud. If there are no servers to manage, is there a need for the server management team? The answer is yes. Although there are no longer boxes with flashing lights and cables galore that need managing, there are still the same amount of services that need optimising.
There are significant visual changes to the infrastructure, but your end users will still need to receive a familiar experience that is quick, along with easy access to all the business systems they use in order to fulfill their role. This was the role of the IT team when the services were on the company hardware, and this is the role without hardware in the equation.
Microsoft’s cloud applications like Office 365, Dynamics 365 for Financials and CRM online (Dynamics 365 for CRM) come with powerful reporting and analytical tools like PowerBI. It is within these reporting applications where your IT team can optimise your business use so you are not overpaying for some services and under-utilising others.
3. Masses of data that needs to be restructured
Cloud adoption for some organisations is a can of worms that some senior management want to keep firmly shut for the foreseeable future. The idea of migrating years of financial records to a new platform is an overwhelming task. It also exposes the untidiness of the archived data because, even though intentions were there, the task of optimising historic data was always knocked down the priority list. And now it’s a problem, and a priority.
As a team, you can get past this. If departments are deliberately stalling whilst they quickly get their ducks in order, offer to help them. Moving to the cloud improves collaboration, but you don’t have to wait until the majority of the business systems are in the cloud before you demonstrate collaboration and unity, after all, the sooner the whole business is on the cloud, the quicker your own department will benefit.
4. What are we going to do with the server investment?
This has been an unexpected obstacle for several our clients that have invested heavily into servers, accessories, high spec server room refurbishments all of which will be in vain if they move into the cloud before they’ve felt a return from their efforts.
There isn’t a quick fix for this one I’m afraid. Cloud is very much a disruptive technology, and the top spec server room has taken the hit. But the bright side is the running costs will be reduced. And you will no longer need to factor server additions or replacements in to future budgets as your servers show their age and begin to reach their limit, so the sooner you are in that place, the better for your whole business’ cashflow right?
Hopefully, this gives you an idea of what to expect when you begin to have serious conversations about moving your business systems into the Cloud. The sooner your organisation embraces digital transformation, the sooner your entire organisation will see the benefits and cost savings of a SaaS pricing model. What are you waiting for?