The way business happens has changed dramatically over the last few years. More and more businesses are keen to engage and collaborate with stakeholders within and beyond the four walls of their enterprise. Whether it’s the coworkers, customers, partners, suppliers, or any other external groups – businesses are keen to collaborate with them in real time, regardless of where they might be located.
Related: Business Impact of Email and Collaboration Technologies
Faster and effective communication between internal and external stakeholders has become the key to a venture’s success. To facilitate the seamless flow of information and knowledge-sharing between stakeholders, businesses use a suite of services called collaboration services. These services essentially include a range of communication and security tools such as email, web and voice chat, video conferencing, shared contacts, calendar, document management, archival, etc.
Traditionally, businesses have been deploying in-premise collaboration solutions on their own servers within their own data centers, managed by their own (or outsourced) IT teams. Managing an in-premise setup comes with its own set of challenges such as the overhead of Capex, getting the most out of ageing hardware, dealing with the complexities of application upgrades and the like.
Related: 7 wants of an IT Manager of a Small to Medium Size business
But cloud, as a platform, has changed the game in the recent years. Although it was way back in the 1960s that the concept of a global computer network first emerged, it’s only over the last few years that cloud computing has come into its own.
By providing readily available elastic components, modules and storage, it has become a no-brainer for application providers to adopt cloud computing as a platform for scalable and reliable delivery of the applications. In fact, the cloud computing market is projected to exceed $241 billion by 2020, according to Salesforce.com, one of the global pioneers of cloud computing.
Related: Understanding cloud computing as a platform
So with so many benefits, what still stops organizations from moving their application workload to the cloud platform?
We believe that the lack of understanding of the business impact of applications delivered via the cloud platform is perhaps the single biggest hurdle in the adoption of cloud-based collaboration services. Besides satisfying the 7 wants of an IT Manager, see if any or all of these five additional compelling reasons make you change your mind about moving your collaboration workload to a cloud platform:
1. Flexibility, reliability and multi-location accessibility
Traditionally, businesses have been using in-premise collaboration solutions. These location-specific solutions work well when users in that particular location have to collaborate with each other. But as is already established, that’s not how businesses work anymore. Collaboration happens across geographical boundaries and time zones. Cloud-based collaboration solutions, since they are central to all locations, are not restricted to a specific geography, and can reach the employees of an organization dispersed across regions (even countries). In his paper, The Promise, Progress and Pain of Collaboration Software, Jason Green, board member on many SaaS firms working to improve workplace collaboration, quotes the solutions built by companies like Yammer, Box, Skype and Google to tackle the problem of employees working together remotely.
2. Grow and shrink your operations freely and instantly
The modern day IT department is one of the most complex and over-burdened part of an organization. Reducing complexity, scaling resources and adapting to changing business requirements are some of the major challenges that an IT department faces. By adopting cloud-based collaboration services, organizations get access to elevated elasticity in resource allocation, which allows them to grow and shrink their operations freely and instantly, without having to carry the burden of provisioning or de-provisioning expensive resources.
3. Leverage the latest functionality of the continually upgraded versions of the apps
The cloud application provider will normally ensure that the latest security patches and the latest application upgrades are always applied on the cloud delivery platform to ensure that the consumers get secure access to the new functionality quickly. The entire upgrade/migration and configuration is performed by the backend teams, relieving you of the effort to manage downtime, and performing the upgrade.
4. Zero Capex and reduced operational costs
With no upfront capital outlay required, cloud-based collaboration services allow organizations to start deployment immediately. Not only are they able to save the cost of buying new servers, but businesses also benefit from the reduced need for space, power and liability, not to mention the expense of managing and maintaining the servers. In addition to that, most cloud-based services run on a ‘Pay-per-use’ subscription model allowing companies to budget for them easily and more accurately.
According to Kristof Kloeckner, CTO for Cloud Computing at IBM, cloud computing can reduce IT labor costs by up to 50 percent and improve capital utilization by 75 percent. Additionally, companies can save an estimated 68-87 percent in energy costs by moving to cloud computing, as per the data shared by Google.
Related: Will the cloud and new devices lower the cost of collaboration for an enterprise? Will they make collaboration richer and more efficient?
5. Reduced risks – Not happy with your vendor? Another one is just a click away!
Shifting from one vendor to another is an easy task (as long as you have stuck to an open platform and used open clients for application access). If you plan your deployment well, you may be able to shift with minimal or no change at the end point. It’s only a matter of deciding. There is no play of complex infrastructure overhaul, upgrade, reconfiguration, etc.
These are just five ways in which businesses benefit from adopting cloud-based collaboration technology. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find many more such compelling reasons to adopt this platform.
So, is your business ready to make the big switch?