A recent publication by Gartner Australasia Pty. Ltd, stated “For most organizations in Australia and New Zealand, cloud has become a matter of how and when (not if).”
The ‘How?’ and the ‘When?’ are just as important as each other. Both ‘How?’ and ‘When?’ are dependent on:
- Your business’ current technology infrastructure
- Your knowledge of the most suitable systems for your business
- Whether your staff are ready to be led to a new world of information management.
Whether you like to call it ‘digital’, ‘online’ or ‘cloud’, the move from desktop computers and servers is inevitable. The relief is that any change to your IT infrastructure does not need to happen overnight (unless your current server crashes…).
Will you be the Master of change?
It is important to ask yourself whether you wish to be a Master of your own IP (Intellectual Property) or a Servant to a Software Vendor. For instance, if you were in the market for an ERP (Whole of Business Package), this requires in-house licensing, high costs associated with customization and implementation and you would easily morph into the servant, especially over a prolonged change period. Even though customization can be done, this is typically a Vendor designed and led solution and won’t come with a proven warranty for the outcome to be aligned to the true business processes you require. Worse still with this option is the risk of continuing an existing process, if you are only following that process because the system you are using, is forcing you to do that now.
Another problem with systems dependent on “a whole of business approach” is that a day will come when the switch from old system to new would be flicked, requiring everyone in your team, no matter what role they are in, to change practices – whether they are ready and prepared for the change or not.
Should you be the Master of change?
In all likelihood we are talking about your destiny as a business or business owner. Much of what you have achieved today can be analysed as validation of the need to change to a better and value adding information asset. This type of asset is always key in the understanding of a business going forward, so it needs serious consideration as to the roles (top to bottom) that are required.
The business knowledge you have built up over the years has brought you to where you are today. Your systems whether hardware, software, spreadsheets or just in you or your employees heads, have possibly held you and your team back from systemising your business processes to fit the growth or future needs for day to day running of your business.
One of the benefits of moving into the ‘cloud’ is that you can choose multiple applications to slot together giving you, in time, a full bodied IT solution that not only suits your business processes better than an ERP system, it allows better efficiencies, visibility and clarity for your business on a whole. Knowledge can be passed between team members in such an efficient way that if one of your team members were away for a month (even you), your business wouldn’t miss a beat.
Warning! Don’t start by looking for a system that would suit your business now.
How should you start? Sit down with your key staff and a suitably skilled process specialist. Map out your current business processes together and most importantly, discuss where you want to take your company in the future. Your chosen IT solution needs to be flexible enough to develop as your business develops. This is not an overnight process. It needs thought, time and knowledge of your business to be able to identify which applications will form your ideal cloud solution. This will not be just the ideal cloud solution, but also the all-important information asset that your business and its stakeholders need.