Henry Ford once stated, “If I had asked the public what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Innovation isn’t about doing the same things only better. If that was the standard we held our best and brightest to, we’d still be living in the dark ages, probably riding horses. Real progress takes risk; innovators have to be willing to question their assumptions and dive headfirst into the unknown. For a business, this means letting go of antiquated practices and looking instead to all that modern technology has to offer.
People are wary of technological advances when they first hit the mainstream; it’s human nature to fear what we don’t understand before accepting it. As we saw with the transition from mainframes to client-server networks, the mind-boggling soon became mundane, and the mundane is now becoming dated. Today, we get to witness the next step in the technology evolution – cloud transformation.
Before we can delve into cloud transformation, we first need to understand the cloud. By its simplest definition, the cloud is all of the things we can access remotely over the internet; to put something in the cloud means to store it on internet servers instead of local hard drives. Before the cloud, files and applications were tied to a physical space. Now, we are no longer constrained by location; the majority of cloud services can be accessed by web browsers, such as Google Chrome or Firefox, so work can happen anywhere with internet access.
What Does Cloud Transformation Entail?
Cloud transformation is the process of moving from traditional servers to the cloud – but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Cloud transformation impacts almost every business process, meaning every employee will likely have to relearn aspects of their job. What’s more, reimagining the IT infrastructure will alter the importance of certain processes. To manage these changing priorities, company leadership will need to reevaluate how they choose to allocate resources. Cloud transformation requires change throughout an organization, but despite it’s challenges, the end result is usually worth the effort.
An application is a computer software package designed to carry out a specific task for users or other applications. The first step in cloud transformation is to make sure that all of your existing applications, such as web browsers, email platforms, and word processors, can move to the cloud without a hitch. While some applications don’t require much effort to transition to the cloud, others may need to be modified so that they are compatible with the new host.
A network is a group of computers that share resources and communicate with one another electronically. Network transformation involves moving your network from a traditional network, such as a VPN, to the cloud, where you can access resources via the internet. The result is faster and less complex connections, improving the overall user experience.
Security transformation usually takes a good amount of time and effort. Often, the measures in place for server-based security don’t translate well to the cloud, so this transformation may require a whole new system to keep your company safe. A good place to start is with data encryption, backup strategies, and implementing network security policies. The good news is that once you’ve moved to the cloud, you can establish continuous threat monitoring and zero-trust networking, which ensures that anything trying to connect to your system must first be verified.
Company culture is often considered an afterthought to any widespread company changes, but in order for cloud transformation to have the effect it was intended to, it needs to have the support of the people involved. Luckily, there are many step a company can take to prepare it’s employees for the changes to come. First and foremost, a company should offer trainings to help their employees understand the new processes and answer any questions before they become issues. If workers are feeling uncertain about the transition, it can also be helpful to open the floor for discussion so you can address their concerns.
Why It’s Worth The Effort
The Ability To Adopt New Technologies
Before the cloud, adopting new technology was often a lengthy and arduous process. Cloud transformation allows a company to take a more flexible approach. Large-scale cloud providers offer heaps of native services that are ready to implement. These services are constantly updated to stay at the forefront of innovation, so by utilizing the cloud, you’re business can adopt the most advanced technology on the market. When a company has access to such a wide selection of modern technology, and are able to use them immediately, they are able to operate in a more agile way.
Cloud transformation also helps a company release new technologies and capabilities to its clients. Companies on the cloud can send updates and new features in a matter of minutes – far outpacing their server-based competitors who take weeks, if not months, to do the same.
A sudden increase in demand for a service provided by a business used to be a recipe for disaster; too many users caused systems to crash, slow loading speeds, and ultimately lead to lost clients. With cloud-based operations, a spike in demand can benefit a business as it should. Companies can automatically increase their capacities to meet the number of users in that moment, so a peak in demand results in more customers and higher profits instead of system failure. Ever wonder why Netflix moved to the cloud? Because they had to; traditional servers weren’t capable of handling their rapid, mammoth growth. This was a big risk when they first made the switch, but in hindsight, it was unquestionably the right decision.
Ability To Respond To New Threats
When it comes to the security of in-house hosts versus cloud hosts, one is not inherently better than the other. The difference is that with cloud hosting, you can take far more effective steps towards keeping your company safe from threats. With a server-based model, companies are at risk of data breaches and system shutdowns, which could devastate a once profitable business. While the cloud doesn’t remove the possibility of an attack, it allows a company to create multiple backups for their data, and since there is no physical structure storing them, those backups are fairly untouchable.
Ability To Optimize Costs
Cloud transformation also paves the way for cost optimization, the process of lowering spending by identifying poorly managed resources and reducing waste. Paying for resources you have no intention of using is like buying a Rolex just for the battery; you’ll get what you needed, but that’s a lot of money to spend on batteries. Cloud transformation allows a company to scale their resources to meet their current needs. By paying for only what they use, a company can be far more strategic in how they spend their funds. Transitioning to the cloud also lets you more accurately weigh the costs and benefits of your investments, so you can place more energy into those that provide the most value, and less into those that aren’t serving your objectives.
The Creation Of A More Iterative, Experimentation Environment
While the technology side of cloud transformation is extremely useful in and of itself, the real progress is in the way it affects company culture. To start, the cloud also makes it easier for leadership to delegate tasks, as they are able to dictate the level of authority for each user. When roles are built-in and documents can be accessed, retrieved, and processed from any place at any time, employees are able to collaborate more efficiently.
The next benefit of cloud transformation, perhaps the most important of all, is that it makes room for failure. The creative agency, Wieden & Kennedy, has a mural exclaiming “Fail Harder” hanging on their office wall. The point of this artwork is to highlight the fact that their agency is a safe place to take a risk, no-holds-barred, because failure is an opportunity to discover something great. Agile technology allows a company to test ideas before making a large investment, so there’s little harm in trying something if it doesn’t work out. This opens the doors for employees to share their weirdest, most interesting ideas, and view failure as an opportunity to learn instead of a threat to the organization. Nothing groundbreaking comes from playing it safe; in the art of innovation, the opposite of success isn’t failure, it’s failure to try something new.
Faster Development Pipelines
Cloud transformation allows businesses to design, test, and deploy software without investing large amounts of time and money into complicated IT infrastructure; the resources required are available on-demand. Because of this, cloud-based systems significantly reduce the time-to-market, giving businesses a competitive edge.
Companies on the cloud are able to release, test, and improve their applications almost immediately, allowing them to rapidly respond to market demands. The potential to deploy your minimum viable product (MVP) faster than the competition means you can reach the public first, positioning your company as a spearhead for the entire industry. In a similar manner, the accelerated development pipeline jointly improves user experience; instead of waiting months for a feature request to materialize, companies can cater to evolving user needs in a matter of days.
Transform Your Company With Vice Software
Cloud transformation is a substantial undertaking, but our talented team of consultants and developers is here to show you the ropes. We’ll work closely with you to build the right plan for your specific business needs, whether you’re looking to improve data security, scalability, storage capacity, ROI or completely modernize your system. Cloud transformation focuses resources on the processes that provide the most value, and we’ll help you build a solution that does just that.
If you’re considering a tech refresh, contact Vice Software today! Our experts make excellent guides as you move your business to the cloud, and take advantage of all that modern technology has to offer.