Making the most of life in the Cloud

Grow at your own pace
Cloud computing offers scalable services that let users select their own level of engagement and upgrade easily at any future point. Solutions are available today that offer users an entry-level service for a single licence and then allow them to expand seamlessly from there. Many new businesses may choose to use all their applications in the cloud. If they are starting from scratch, they will want to be up and running as quickly as they can. In contrast, more established businesses might choose an approach whereby their existing on-premise back office systems and data can be integrated into cloud-based solutions that offer greater ease of use, access and ubiquity.
 
Learn from the experience of others
Cloud computing services have a strong and loyal community following. While software has previously been developed in a silo, cloud services are often improved through user feedback. Companies should find out if anyone else in their business community has implemented cloud computing and look to learn from their experiences and emulate their successes.
 
Leverage the subscription model
 Cloud computing employs a subscription model. This allows users to have much greater control over their IT budgets. They can forget about buying servers and software. When applications run in the cloud, services are ‘rolled up’ into a predictable monthly subscription, so customers only pay for what they actually use. This makes it easier for businesses to work out exactly how much they have saved and to calculate their return on investment.
 
Think long term
SMEs are currently investing too much in upfront cost for IT infrastructure. They often incur huge costs managing IT, when they could be saving cash and re-investing it in their business. Cloud computing significantly reduces the need for costly infrastructure associated with traditional, on-premise software and the additional management overheads. SMEs need technology that is scalable to their requirements – especially in these uncertain times. IT should be seen as an investment, which can deliver long-term efficiency and success, rather than a quick fix to satisfy short-term goals.
 
Put applications first
Organisations need to consider which cloud applications will deliver the best ROI. Cloud computing is as much about having the power and flexibility to meet particular needs as and when they arise as it is about ongoing business success and efficiency. So businesses need to think carefully about how the technology could help to meet their strategic objectives.
 
Foundation for Success
 
For SMEs across the UK, there has never been a better time to make the switch to cloud computing. The technology is low-cost; easy to implement and use; flexible and scalable. Such is its flexibility that it can be used at the heart of business strategy helping to drive cost efficiencies, company-wide collaboration, operational effectiveness and ultimately competitive edge. For SMEs, life in the cloud is a compelling prospect.
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