There will be very few organisations that are not somewhere along a cloud migration journey. They may be just at the start, stalled in the middle after shifting all of their tin to someone else’s data centre, or just in sight of the nirvana of a server free operations.
This short blog is written for those at the start of the journey, hopefully answering these key questions: Can you run a small to medium sized business without on-premise technology? Is this even a good way to work? And is it easy to do?
Can I run a completely server free company?
The answer to this question is easy. Most probably no!
Depending on size of organisation and the type of business, it may be possible to get away without servers. But eventually you will need to think about data, the applications that create and use that data, and where you are when using those applications. For example, you may run an engineering consultancy that uses CAD applications that process and produce massive amounts of data. Storing that data in the cloud is not going to provide a very workable solution for the engineers.
But even if it isn’t possible to be completely server free, it is certainly possible to keep on-premise servers to a minimum. And there are very good reasons to do this.
Is it a good way to run a business?
At Cyma, we have managed to stay server free for 6 years and we definitely think this is a good way to be. We manage to do everything in the cloud, working from our laptops and phones, and only have a router and an under utilised printer in the office. Our productivity tools and business support tools are all SaaS, chosen primarily on a “Fit For Purpose” principle.
Working this way provides many advantages. Simple benefits such as scalability, flexibility, simplicity are easy to realise. We add and remove users as we need and we never worry about server performance. We are in the middle of swapping CRMs, potentially a major exercise which has instead turned out to be relatively simple. A few months ago we moved offices, was not much harder than packing up our laptops in the old office and opening them in the new one - one massive advantage of being in 100% cloud based is that we are also almost paperless!
Working in the cloud also allows us to operate in a more collaborative manner and to share knowledge more effectively. I don't think it is possible to overstate the value of this. Just the ability to collaboration within a document offers great productivity enhancements. Document and knowledge management is also far better as we no longer have individual copies of documents and we don’t store documents on local drives.
And then there’s security. If you set the right standards and follow good processes, security in the cloud will be far better than the security you can implement for on-premise servers.
Of course, there are some downsides. Security can be problematic if you don’t do it right, but it is easy to do it right. Moving to the cloud can bring some cultural and workplace changes that need to be managed. For example, working collaboratively in documents doesn’t come naturally to everyone and encouraging people to stop creating local files can be an ongoing challenge. And you need to have a plan for business continuity - but you should have that anyway, the good thing about moving to the cloud is that it will force you to make that plan.
And what about cost? The economics of moving from on-premise servers to cloud based infrastructure is pretty simple. Comparing costs of on-premise applications to the costs of SaaS, however, can be tricky. And often SaaS can end up looking more expensive at face value.
Is it easy to move to the cloud?
I think we are finally past the point where people are genuinely questioning the value of operating in the cloud. Nowadays, many new organisations start in the cloud just as we did. But there are still many organisations that haven’t even begun the journey. The reasons for this inertia are many, some good and some less so, but a major one is not understanding the process of moving.
To answer the question, it isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be hard either. Planning is the key to success here. Start with understanding how your business currently uses technology, and how you want to use it in the future. Keeping an eye on the future will ensure that you don’t operate on a purely tactical basis - for example, just moving your servers into the cloud. Instead, you can use the move to cloud as part of a wider business transformation and use technology to support better ways of working.
As mentioned at the start, the goal is unlikely to be moving 100% into the cloud, and the final mix of cloud and on-premise technology will differ based on the nature of your business. At Cyma we are still able to operate completely in the cloud, but manufacturing companies will always need production related technology on site. But I would struggle to find a good reason for business support systems (CRMs, Financial Management Systems, etc) or productivity tools (email, word processing, knowledge management, storage, etc) to remain on-premise, regardless of your line of business.
If you like our approach to cloud migration, and would like some help understanding the current state of your business, fill out the form and we will contact you. Thanks for taking the time to read our blogs. If you would like to see our other blogs on Roadmapping, Cloud or even how Cyma uses Professional Development to help our staff, click here.