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February 12, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:16pm

Disaster recovery, BYOD & collaboration: How cloud can help digitally transform your business

List: Key business benefits can be achieved through the adoption of cloud services.

By James Nunns

Businesses are increasingly being forced to change in order to deal with disruptive rivals that are utilising cloud to accelerate growth.

It is not that the majority of businesses are digitally transforming, it is probably just the beginning of the journey, but more and more are becoming attuned to the potential value of digital transformation.

One of the great enablers of the digital transformation is cloud computing technology. This is partly due to a push from vendors to transform their software and solutions into cloud services, but it is also coming from a desire from businesses to be more agile.

So how can cloud help to drive the digital transformation? CBR advises with a handy list.


1. Collaboration

Cloud based collaboration tools have been growing in popularity and sophistication over recent years as the likes of Dropbox and Box create file-sharing services that have become integrated into tools that are used everyday such as Microsoft Office.

Not only does this mean that it is much easier and thanks to increasing levels of security much safer to share files, it is also easier to work with colleagues.

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This collaboration can be done remotely as well, so it’s no longer an issue to work remotely if necessary.

Collaboration tools don’t stop there. Yammer for example hooks in to Office 365 Groups and can provide cross-suite scenarios that allow users to extend their Yammer conversation into a Skype call.


2. Convert capital expense into operational gains

Making the trade-off between spending on hardware and IT, or spending on services and innovation is often cited as a good reason for moving to the cloud, essentially it is an OpEx versus CapEx debate.

What cloud provides is the opportunity to avoid big upfront costs that some hardware purchases can land you with. The benefit of this is that the money that would have been invested in the hardware can be spent elsewhere, for example improving your operations.

This isn’t the only benefit, because the cloud is flexible it means that when demand surges it can dynamically scale to meet requirements. The whole process is automated so there is no waiting around for weeks for a server to be provisioned, that time is reduced to hours.


3. Enable BYOD

Bring your own device is another advancement in the mobile work place that has been partly enabled by the rise of cloud computing.

Both small and large businesses are increasingly enabling their employees to be able to use their own devices both in the office and on the go. Like the collaboration tools previously mentioned it helps to create a more mobile and dynamic workforce.

This does have its pitfalls though particularly related to security. The business needs to ensure that data and company platforms that are being accessed outside the office remain safe, however, by using cloud-based storage and security tools this can be addressed.


4. Simplify IT

Much of cloud means that the business is effectively renting a service that is being managed by someone else, a vendor such as AWS, Microsoft Azure or IBM for example.

The outsourcing of this frees up IT so that they can do other jobs that are more value based rather than maintaining the hardware infrastructure and software that runs on the employees’ computers.

Tied in to this is the aforementioned benefits of reduced cost and the flexibility of the cloud service to be able to scale as and when it is needed.

Businesses don’t have to worry about outgrowing Microsoft’s ability to provide Office 365.


5. Business Continuity

Backing up data is a vital part of business process that ensures that if the systems go down that the important files and data are safe. However, backing up locally is not the best way to go about having a disaster recovery strategy.

The problem is that in case of a flood or fire the data can be damaged and lost.

If a cloud service is used then not only is the business assured data access based upon your service level agreement, but in-case of disaster you need to be certain that the data is elsewhere and safe even when the physical business might not be.

The cloud approach is a near certain way of assuring that even if there is a fire and the servers are destroyed, the data is safe in the cloud.

Basically this means that the business shouldn’t be disrupted, computers can be replaced at a much smaller cost to the business than years of critical data that has been lost.



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