Challenging Cloud: How to use Cloud-based tools and win
The overall goal of any new IT collaboration project is to deliver a measurable business benefit. Deployed correctly, a new system should actually provide a competitive advantage through increased operational efficiency, faster time to market and improved staff retention rates.
Collaboration tools like Microsoft Office 365 provide some significant benefits. Deployed correctly, your business will be well on the way to winning.
Faster information sharing and discovery
Storing data is easy – your business is already doing it in some form or other. But to unlock its full value, you need an easy way to discover and share insights across the whole business.
More than simply storing data centrally however, you also need tools to simplify discovery and analysis. One option is SharePoint Team Sites - part of Microsoft Office 365 - which offers many of the features traditionally associated with an intranet, along with some smart indexing tools like eDiscovery to surface contextual information automatically. According to Navisite research, 87% of Cloud adopters report that collaboration was important to accessing different teams and skill sets within organisation.
Why does this matter? Faster information discovery and sharing has a direct impact on data-driven operations, decreasing time to market.
Reduced operational costs
For many businesses, IT is just another cost centre. Every year money is allocated and spent “keeping the lights on”. And every year those costs increase. According to a recent survey, 77% of IT professionals believe that they spend too much simply standing still, affecting their ability to invest in strategic projects that will help grow the business.
Collaboration tools like Office 365 help to dramatically reduce those costs. The service allows you to replace your email server, file servers and several application servers for instance. Which means your IT team can be redirected to strategic projects because the responsibility for maintaining the underlying infrastructure is passed to a managed Office 365 services provider.
The value of a managed cloud services partner should not be underestimated either as any additional outlay is quickly recouped. Customers using MSPs recoup an average of 50 working hours per week - the equivalent of one employee’s workload.
Increased operational flexibility
Disruption has become a common aspect of every industry as businesses try to meet the constantly changing demands of their customers. This requires flexible processes and a suitably elastic IT platform to support them.
A hosted productivity suite like Office 365 is licensed on a per-user basis, allowing you to add and remove capacity whenever required. For bigger, bespoke projects, cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure provides a completely scalable infrastructure on which to build. With a flexible, cost-effective platform in place, your business is equipped to keep up with customer expectations.
Future proof IT systems
The traditional approach to software deployment means that your systems are always slightly behind the times. Take Microsoft Exchange Server for instance. The 2016 version went to market in October 2015 – so it’s already three years old, and the functionality is stuck at the same point-in-time. And when the next version is released in 2019 you will need to carry out an expensive upgrade project to take advantage of the latest advances and features.
Exchange users can retain the same email services and technology stack by migrating to Microsoft Office 365 which provides frequent, free-of-charge updates as standard. Once Exchange 2019 is released to market, the hosted instance will be updated automatically, providing subscribers access to the latest features and improvements; so you always have the latest tools available for your employees – and without the usual costs associated with a software upgrade.
Faster, stronger, more effective
The right hosted productivity suite, will also include secondary tools like Team Sites, eDiscovery and PowerBI. These features will help you better manage and use data to drive the business forward, and to achieve your growth plans.
To learn more about using collaboration tools and what they mean for your organisation, please get in touch.