Unless cloud changes how you operate, you are missing the point
Is the Cloud helping you drive your bottom line – Are you doing the same stuff the same way or using the cloud to do new things better?
The cloud is game changer, but to really win with the cloud you do have to change your game.
For a long time, the cloud was sold as a means of turning capital costs into operating costs – a finance option. The services that were available were based around the tools and processes that were familiar to us. Now we could simply pay monthly for as much, or as little, as we needed – mainly email, storage, and servers ‘on demand’.
Things have changed.
New cloud tools are now giving us tools and opportunities we never had before. They give us access to systems that used to be unaffordable, and they make it easier than ever. The trick is to use them. As we bring on new clients, we’re meeting many that are in the cloud or have tried the cloud, and it didn’t give the benefits they expected. What these business all have in common is that they were trying to use the cloud to do what they’d always done, rather than harnessing the cloud’s ability to help them work in new ways. The cloud gives access to tools and techniques that only make sense in a cloud world and that fundamentally add productivity. More productivity directly leads to efficiency and nimbleness.
A well known (but alas confidential) client used to email papers around board meetings. They were paranoid that papers would be intercepted and read by unauthorised parties. Now they just send the link – so it’s easy to secure access to files, and it’s actually quicker and easier. They can use file permissions to prevent the documents being changed, or even prevent them being printed or emailed onward.
Another client was working on projects across multiple organisations. Again, email attachments meant people could have the wrong version and edit it – duplicating or confusing other work. Now they send the link but let people edit the papers – so they are always up to date and each person can change files, even when someone else is using the document. They are in complete control with a full version history. We haven’t yet shown them how to have final documents ‘approved’ but that’s another step – one we know resonates in industries with a heavy requirement for standards. In this example, its easy for collaborators who work for different businesses because the internet is the great connector. This client then wrapped video-conferencing around the project files, so they could also meet even when people couldn’t be in the same place to view and work through the files together.
Most business have workflows. Something starts as a request, it might go through an approval process or have other people add information. We’ve got many examples where paper forms exist and we’ve made those digital, speeding up processes and developing rich audit trails. In or own business, we track a lot of HR procedures this way, from leave to appraisals to recruitment.
But what about data management and safety?
Lately, clients have been asking us how to keep their data safer. In a world where people are connected from more places than ever and data takes more forms than ever across more tools than we’ve seen before, the old idea of securing the office internet connection is no longer enough. It’s still important, but now we need something smarter, and again the cloud brings that forward as well with data protection policies that you can customise to your needs.
We are seeing a huge upswing in managing data, taking business results and finding trends, opportunities and inevitably weaknesses. They say that you “manage what you measure”, so these new data analytic tools mean you really can start to predict the future and make great decisions. The changes to health and safety have meant businesses need to track and understand their risk profiles, and know what to do to minimise harm – we’re finding cloud solutions and cloud data analytics let us get a rich picture without needing the expensive tools that this work used to need.
Changing how you work is the key
Changes are big and small. From small improvements like the ability to work on a file together, to add an email address to a message by simply tying ‘@’ in the body or better links to access graphs – there are a world of possibilities to help you and your colleagues get more done, more quickly, and to a higher standard. The trick is keeping up with it.
If you are doing things the way you always have, you are missing out. The cloud gives you new tools, new ways of working and new powers. Our new job is to help you unleash those
We offer a programme of coaching services designed to help you and your team:
- Get ‘up to speed’ with what’s new
- Keep current on an ongoing basis to develop your abilities
- Help new staff joining your business become as fluent as you are with your IT tools.