Post by Paul Reames
It's something that most businesses have either done or are thinking about, but moving your business to cloud based services is a significant change to any organisation and one that needs careful consideration.
My company Bluecube Telecom has seen a massive shift over the last 24 months towards cloud services. Bluecube provide hosted voice services and internet connectivity, we have seen our customers buying habits take a complete U-turn in recent times. Very few businesses now want to invest in on premise equipment, like phone systems or servers that will need replacing in just a few years as technology evolves. Why would they when there is an alternative that never really dates in cloud based services?
The growing trend in businesses adopting cloud based services was so significant that at the beginning of the year we decided to change the entire marketing approach at Bluecube. Our marketing now puts it's focus on the provision of next generation communications and IP based solutions for business. It's proven to be the right decision as sales of the hosted voice service Silverline (our cloud phone system) have boomed in 2015. Conversely, sales of digital services like ISDN30 and traditional PBX systems have dropped off quite noticeably.
The benefits of the cloud are well documented and becoming too great for many businesses, small or large, to ignore. Security, flexibility, access anywhere at any time, low capex and disaster recovery are all benefits banded about when hosted services are being discussed. However, moving to a cloud environment where no servers, systems, equipment or information is based on site is a big step and one that should be considered very carefully.
Just to be clear, I'm definitely not saying it's not a good idea, Bluecube have been championing the cloud and the reasons to move to it for some time now. However, it has to be done right...
The importance of a suitable internet connection cannot be understated. Moving to a hosted environment but trying to access services and information over a poor connection would make life miserable for everyone. Furthermore, if you are the one that made the decision to move to the cloud and this happens you'll struggle to find a less popular person in the building than you!
There are many types and grades of internet connectivity and choosing the right connection for your business and the cloud migration project is critical. Get this wrong and you are on a collision course with an IT & comms disaster, so take professional advice. There are companies out there, like Bluecube, that will give you expert advice on what internet options are available at your business location(s) and what would be suitable for your business requirements.
The other important thing to consider before making the big move to cloud is a migration plan. Do you really want to dive in head first and then find out there are huge problems?
Think about the systems, applications and information you want to put in to the cloud and then prioritise it. Creating a migration schedule that allows you to dip your toe in the water, before making the next move is highly advisable. Try moving one small and then one key function in to cloud first and testing at both stages before progressing with a wholesale switch.
Finding an IT and communications partner that can help you take the plunge is easy, finding the right one is slightly trickier. Do your research, think about the project first and come up with a rough plan. Then invite your shortlist of potential providers to "fine tune" it and add some detail. This should help you to find the right partner or partners and ensure that they have a well thought out plan with some experience in similar projects.
There are endless opportunities in the cloud but there are a few challenges that come with it too. Dealing with the early challenges in moving to the cloud and making it a smooth transition for your organisation and your team will be great for your career. On the flip side, poor planning that results in a bumpy ride to the new world will not win you any friends!
Good luck and contact our team if you need any advice. Bluecube provide cloud services and/or the internet connection platform to support them. You can follow us on LinkedIn and on Twitter @BluecubeTelecom for more news, advice and offers.