The other day, I was on a 5 à 7 zoom with a few friends, having a cool beverage. As it inevitably does, the conversation turned to business. Since most of them are small business owners, the question came up “Should I be looking into cloud services?”
Given the prominence of the cloud, I was a little shocked when this group of guys asked me this. All these guys are running successful businesses, and, in my opinion, are pretty smart, and forward thinking. So, I couldn’t believe that none of them were using the cloud, or at least didn’t realize it.
After talking some more, I finally pulled out that all of them had some sort of cloud service running today. All of them without realizing, already had some aspect of their business in the cloud, the integration was seamless or didn’t impact daily operations, so they hadn’t even realized. After I left my friends, I thought about this more. Why are my friends, and even SMB clients, not ready to move ahead more with cloud services?
Over the past year Canadian SMBs have begun to adopt cloud services at a faster and faster pace, due in part to the global pandemic, but also because digital transformation continues to accelerate. Microsoft has experienced staggering growth in usage of their cloud services. They expect this growth in cloud usage to continue well into the future and are investing heavily here as well.
SMBs need to be agile and flexible, especially in today's new paradigm. Cloud services allow this flexibility and provide an excellent service value. Most SMBs without realizing were already moving to adopt cloud services; backups, accounting, payroll, and sales tools are just a few areas where cloud services are already pervasive. When I grilled my friends, most of them already had some system running in the cloud and just didn’t think of it like that.
When asked, most business owners are thinking about their primary systems, email, ERP and other systems as the workloads they would move. Many view moving these primary systems, that touch every aspect of their businesses, as risky. The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” always comes to mind.
The reality is that it already is broken, and they just haven’t realized. Many SMEs run their business on systems that are outdated, running on platforms that need updates, have security vulnerabilities, or are just not functional for today’s business. Consequently, their systems are already broken or in need of updates that are will require significant investments. Critical systems, like email or ERP, need to be up and running 24/7, yet the average downtime for an on-premises exchange server is 40 hours per year, and that is in the enterprise space, at the SMB level this number is even higher. I highly doubt that anyone wants to have over a week of downtime per year for email?
As well, most SMBs will experience savings when moving to the cloud, when comparing the TCO of maintaining exchange on premise, over a 5-year period, it is almost 3x the cost of Office 365. Many SMBs don’t look at the additional costs for backup, maintenance, power protection and other management costs, instead just looking at the license costs exclusively. Other arguments SMBs raise as reason not to move to cloud services are typically misconceptions, two of the most common arguments I still hear are :
“I don’t want to lose control of my data.”
“The cloud is not as secure.”
Both are very common misconceptions. The reality is that your data always remains your data, it is in the contract, it remains encrypted and secure, probably better than on most networks. Security is typically far better and more controlled in the cloud then in your network, and Microsoft 365 has more certifications and security standards than any other provider.
With COVID, many SMBs have accelerated their plans to move into the cloud, by leveraging platforms like Microsoft 365 and they are experiencing easier transformations. Contact us to learn more about the cloud and our offerings to help you make the move or to maximize your current investment.
The right use of technology addresses business challenges and drives business growth in all areas of an enterprise. We hope this blog will offer insight into developing strategies and tactics to enable you to identify those key drivers of growth and keep pace with and anticipate the rapid technology change of today.