Published on 22 December 2011
There are plenty of "Top 5 lists" with generic reasons for why businesses should migrate into online software and cloud computing.
Scalability, cost, mobility - they're good reasons, sure but we've heard them before: what else does cloud computing offer?
Our cloud migration consulting partners VM-Associates explore in this post unknown reasons why small businesses should move to the cloud.
So, if you're thinking about moving your business into the cloud but haven't yet, check these five reasons that are often overlooked.
1. Clients notice
Traditionally, IT has served a "backend" role in business. With the exception of email and websites, most businesses hide their IT solutions from clients, and with good reason: IT is ugly. Cloud computing changes that.
Many cloud-based applications incorporate new ways of reaching clients as part of their workflow solutions. For example, Solve360, a popular web-based CRM application, allows users to "publish" select materials from project workspaces, enabling real-time client collaboration. E-signature services allow clients to sign documents via a slick, paperless delivery model, and help desk online software lets clients access knowledge base forums and ticketed support in a branded, easy to use online environment.
When it works, clients notice that you're new, different, modern, and "slick." IT itself becomes a branding mechanism.
2. Smarter architecture
Amid all the fuss about cloud differentiation it's easy to forget that, aside from being cloud-based, many cloud apps are simply designed better than their on-premise counterparts. This could be attributable to a whole host of reasons, the most prominent of which is that (good) cloud apps have been designed entirely from the ground up.
Whereas most on-premise solutions have strong ancestral roots in software designed 10-20 years ago, cloud apps have been developed much more recently, meaning they've benefited from years of accumulated programming and business experience. Cloud apps are designed for modern businesses: most on-premise apps simply aren't.
One of the great innovations of cloud-computing has been the focus put on end-users. Many legacy apps put function first and usability second (MS Access, anyone?), whereas good cloud apps don't see a difference between the two. This key principle can't be underestimated: software is only as powerful as the people using it.
Generally speaking (and yes, there are exceptions to this) cloud-based software understands that people matter, creating a better user experience and increasing efficiency.
At least cloud-based software makes API integration a viable and affordable workflow solution. Good luck getting anything to integrate well with a legacy app, especially on the cheap. Compare that reality with the generous and freely available API's that most cloud-based vendors offer and it's an easy sell.
5. Quality of Service
This only applies to online software, but it's a powerful enough attribute that I'm listing it as an argument for all cloud-computing.
In a traditional IT setting, clients have a one-time transaction with vendors, repeated every few years for product upgrades.
In the online world, clients generally pay vendors month-to-month and upgrades and bug-fixes are released on a significantly ramped-up timescale.
This means that: A) clients can drop out at any time, giving vendors a perpetual incentive to innovate, and: B) clients get a product that's updated far, far more frequently than before.
In addition, cloud apps vendors increasingly have robust forums and user communities where support questions and feature requests are addressed quickly, effectively, and by multiple user types. This establishes a culture of support and user-driven innovation that has long been missing from on-premise software.
Contact us if you need advice on migrating processes and software to the cloud
This post has been written in collaboration with VM-Associates.