When it comes to cloud adoption in the UK, the largest enterprises typically grab the headlines. These are the ones making the big, bold strategic and technological steps towards efficiency with cloud solutions while managing extensive legacy systems and security concerns. At the total opposite end of the market, there are vast numbers of micro businesses who might be considered ‘cloud-native’ – who never had the on-prem services that other businesses are phasing out.
In between these two lies the mid-market, a group that as diverse and whose needs are just as distinct and important as large enterprises and small to medium sized businesses. Mid-market businesses, which can be roughly defined as those looking to serve up to about three and half thousand end users, are established enough to be facing serious, existential decisions as they weigh up the benefits of moving critical business processes from the familiar and into the cloud.
That’s because the mid-market is the engine room of the UK economy. According to the business advisory firm BDO, mid-sized businesses accounted for a third of UK private sector turnover and added more jobs to the economy last year than small businesses and FTSE 350 companies combined. This shows how big an opportunity the mid-market presents to IT vendors to help these businesses migrate their apps and infrastructure to the cloud.
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It’s important that vendors do not forget the mid-market is facing the same digital disruption challenges as larger enterprises, and have often made considerable infrastructure investment that they don’t want to abandon overnight. While very small companies are often able to take the plunge and leverage new trends such as the cloud, midmarket companies may not have as much flexibility to adapt.
Still, the Cloud Industry Forum reported in March that 88% of UK businesses had started to implement the cloud. It’s clear that there is momentum behind mid-sized companies in their digital transformation. The job is now to show these businesses that moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be an agonising experience.
Case study: Lights, Camera, Cloud
Cloud migration is not an on/off decision; it’s a journey. Customers on this journey demand a particularly high level of expertise from service providers, and that’s why they can’t simply rely on a wholesale solution. Customers want vendors to understand their business, provide local customer support and have knowledge of exactly which staged applications will best improve their operational performance.
So how do you do it? It often starts with something as simple as the opening of a new office or the expansion of an existing site. It involves working with the vendor to understand your key business drivers and outcomes.
A film studio provider, The Crossing Studios, came to Avaya after they had converted warehousing space and found themselves with eight buildings in various studio locations, all running different communications technology. This meant the studio IT staff were responsible for setting up and managing phone systems at every location for each production that rented the studio space.
It’s essential for directors, crew and actors to stay in contact with the producers, creative teams and agents in Hollywood during production. Any loss in network connectivity could result in an expensive delay that costs the production thousands of dollars an hour.
A blockbuster multi-million-dollar shoot operating on a tight schedule might sound it needs a wholesale cloud solution, but that wouldn’t have been right in this case. Of course, the cloud has brought The Crossing Studios operational efficiency, but without ongoing cloud management support, the company couldn’t work intelligently to respond to the needs of its customers or grow its bottom line. A hybrid cloud deployment model offered faster deployment, flexibility, scalability, predictable costs and the reliability it was looking for.
Importantly, cloud management helped the studio’s provider expand from eight studios to more than 330,000 square-feet of studio space without running into difficulties managing or maintaining its network infrastructure. The managed service around its hosted cloud solution also allowed them to work with the vendor if one of the productions had a new request.
Cloud management as part of a hybrid solution made it easy to deliver a consistent communications environment that was aligned to each client’s needs and helped The Crossing Studios control operating costs and reduce the workload of IT staff. Looking ahead, this hybrid cloud solution has allowed The Crossing Studios to implement video collaboration so that productions can benefit from face-to-face calls and meetings with their execs back in Hollywood.
A Simple, Scalable Communications Platform That’s Easy to Manage
Businesses want to pick and choose what works best for them instead of relying on a single provider or product. The next few years will be a critical period for the mid-market’s embrace of the cloud, and it will take effective collaboration between customers and telecom providers to meet their needs. The overall shift to efficiency in the cloud is inevitable: mid-market companies getting left behind isn’t.