Business Cloud Computing
As FM, your responsibility is to guide your organization through business transformation to minimize risk and recognize opportunity. The latest transformation facing organizations of all sizes is the change from internally supported business management applications, including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and LOB (Line of Business), to cloud based infrastructure and applications.
Cloud computing is an opportunity to completely transform how your business and its people work. Saving the organization from capital expenditures that last longer on the balance sheet than in the server room may be the most often cited benefit.
The shift to cloud based software is being fueled by a number of factors, including:
- Virtualization, which enables shared use of servers, reducing the cost of IT infrastructure and support,
- In order to remain competitive, organizations want to adopt the latest technologies quickly,
- Increasing complexity of IT support requirements for business management applications.
What is the cost savings associated with moving to the cloud? Capital costs are reduced because there is no need to purchase computer hardware to house your system. Operational costs, including IT support power to run servers and server operating systems are reduced or eliminated. Bursars also find savings in the ability to rely on predictable monthly costs.
How will cloud services affect the internal IT team? By moving your applications and workloads to a cloud platform, common help desk calls and other IT management tasks like procurement and server configuration are reduced. IT staffers can be reduced or allowed to concentrate their talents on tasks that will improve the business and revenue generation rather than on general technical problems.
How does a cloud solution improve ability to scale? With cloud computing, you can adjust users and applications up or down to meet the changing demands of your business. You can trial applications without a large capital investment and roll out new applications to groups reducing risk and spreading training costs.
Will my data be more secure in the cloud? Many CEOs feel that when their data is in-house it is secure and under their control. What is often missed in this conversation is that cloud providers have much more expertise in securing data than typical internal IT departments do. Let’s face it, the server room in many companies is no more than a locked closet that does little to protect against break in or natural disaster. In most cases, cloud computing is more secure than an organization’s current situation.
Is cloud an effective business continuity strategy? As thousands of companies in Hurricane Katrina’s path found, business continuity plans are better made now than when the emergency is upon you. Cloud vendors’ core function is providing infrastructure business continuity, so you can focus on your people and facilities in the face of disaster.
As a startup, is a cloud system more than we need? Cloud is a perfect fit for startup organizations and start up divisions within an existing company. You can use the functionality that you need and expand your use as the company grows. Since there is no capital investment and no IT team needed, you can test markets and change course if your business changes.
Will company divisions in other countries be able to use the same system? Cloud computing is a driving force in supporting global expansion. One system can service business operations around the globe, eliminating complex manual reporting from multiple systems. You and your employees will access the application and your data from anywhere by using any PC, mobile device, or browser.
Will employees working from home be able to access the system? Cloud computing can help you support green and employee satisfaction initiatives by allowing employees to perform all of their tasks at home through an internet connection. You also significantly reduce the risk of corporate data being lost or misappropriated by eliminating the need to transport files on laptops and flash drives.
Will our IT team still need to upgrade the application? This may be the best news of all. With cloud based system, upgrades happen in the background without you having to be involved. Of course, you will want to coordinate with your vendor on the best time to upgrade to prepare your teams to take advantage of the new functionality.