Using the cloud for IT services brings numerous benefits for organisations. The flexibility, security and scalability of the cloud all bring strong advantages over on-premise, resulting in cloud migration becoming the obvious choice for many enterprises. However, it’s easy to overcomplicate the cloud, and to involve a workforce in its implementation and use more resource than is necessary.
At Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, we believe that the cloud works best for organisations when it happens behind the scenes – in other words, when it isn’t even a concern for most employees outside of IT functions. Here are some reasons why.
PaaS is a cloud computing service which provides enterprises with a complete platform, including hardware, software and infrastructure. Using this, IT teams can develop, manage and run applications in a much easier way than if they were maintaining the platform on-premises. The employee experience here has become so seamless that the cloud component is to all intents and purposes transparent.
This means that employees don’t have to be involved in assessing or monitoring the various benefits cloud brings, such as lower cost, simplicity and flexibility. The great advantage here for the organisation is the ability to provide a platform that works every time, but won’t run into issues like storage capacity or service interruptions caused by malfunctions or errors in the management of an on-premise platform; issues that can disrupt the employee experience and cause unnecessary concern.
Flexibility to innovate
One of the key things that hold organisations back from innovation is the time and money that is needed to set up new platforms. Implementing these services on-premise can be an extremely labour-intensive process, which slows down the organisation as it tries to maintain competitive advantage and agility in the market.
However, with the cloud, establishing new services is often much quicker. New configurations can be up and running within hours, and because the organisation is only being charged for the time it uses (and not the hardware and infrastructure) cost is greatly reduced too. Using the cloud for new products and services liberates your product development teams, giving them the freedom to innovate without having to worry about new infrastructure and return on investment. The business model associated with the cloud is a key change in how the services are consumed. On a subscription-based model, the customer is free to increase or decrease their bill according to their real use of the solution. A customer can even stop whenever they choose. The subscription model provides real value for customers as they have zero capex investment.
Vendors also have to adapt to this model. Instead of selling products, they now need to sell services with impact on how they manage the cash flow. On that side, many changes are happening and require serious adaptation in the vendor’s business intelligence.
Company structure evolution
In any company some evolutions are bound to take place, be it extending the offices, opening new locations or even closing some locations; it is important to have a solution that can adapt to those typical changes. For instance, any merger or acquisition requires a great effort to bring together disparate sets of data and records. With on-premise systems, months or even years of manual coding can be required to bring information from one system to another.
With systems in the cloud however, making that transition is far smoother. Employees from the two organisations can easily exchange and merge data using the cloud, making the merger or acquisition a seamless and almost instantaneous process.
In any merger or acquisition, the workforce is concerned with how the process will be achieved. With IT systems merging in the cloud, at least one piece of the challenge is handled, and employees can focus on more important aspects. It’s critical that the data merger taking place within the cloud is kept as seamless – and to all intents and purposes as transparent as possible. This helps ensure the merger of two organisations feels like the creation of a new, single team.
Continuity in uncertain times
Managing costs and workload during times of market upheaval has always been a tricky proposition for the enterprise. One enormous advantage of cloud working is how quickly and easily activity can be altered and scaled to adapt to changing circumstances.
This means that IT systems can be changed with relative ease when market circumstances (for example, a fluctuation in sales) happens. By keeping cloud IT systems in the background, all the workforce needs to know is that the same services and platforms continue to be available. Issues like scaling of cost and resources simply are no longer relevant. This means a much smoother ride in tougher times, or times of fast expansion.
Never is this more important than in the case of disaster recovery. Cloud backup helps businesses to recover their data quickly should the worst happen. It ensures that operations continue with minimal downtime. Kept out of sight, the cloud enables minimal disruption to the employee experience, maintaining the confidence of the workforce even in the face of major incidents.
More effective collaboration
Cloud technology allows collaboration on a much larger scale among employees within the same organisation. It allows multiple users from a range of different departments to access the same information.
Thanks to the cloud, organisations can overcome geographic limitations and set up multi-region infrastructure that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. It enables disparate international business units to feel like one team, operating together to achieve shared goals.
The key here is that the cloud enables this collaboration in a way that feels transparent – and as much as possible, it should be kept that way. The cloud, managed in a discrete way, means that collaboration can be taken for granted.
Cloud technology – a need-to-know platform?
At Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, we believe that powerful technologies such as the cloud should be orchestrated behind the scenes. A workforce should not even have to think about it, but simply know that it’s there to help them communicate and operate securely and effectively, helping them to work efficiently, anytime and from anywhere.
With the cloud, IT leaders have time to think and act strategically. They are able to provide the insights needed to choose the right resources for the business; they can worry less about how their teams will have to manage on-premise technology. The cloud enables businesses, whether small or large, to provide a comprehensive toolkit that helps a workforce to do its job whether in an office or from home, while maintaining an excellent level of customer service and intimacy.
The importance of the right cloud-supporting technology
To ensure the cloud is always working in a way that delivers its benefits in full, organisations need to adopt certain critical technologies to provide support. A strong cloud infrastructure consisting of servers, storage devices, network and cloud management software, deployment software, and platform virtualisation should all support the cloud in its behind-the-scenes efforts. For example, Wi-Fi 6 will ensure the strongest and most reliable connection within buildings. This is a business essential to permit cloud technology to perform to its fullest extent.
Finally, adequate cybersecurity to protect your cloud network is also vital in ensuring the safety of data held in the cloud. Here again, the cloud provides behind the scenes security through the encryption of cloud data. In addition, the protection of the network as a whole is vital in keeping enterprise data secure and allowing the cloud to be your biggest business enabler.