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Every year, the percentage of IT infrastructure and apps in the public cloud grows. It seems like only a matter of time before cloud-based infrastructure will surpass on-premises infrastructure in terms of both spending and footprint.
This year, we’ve seen cloud adoption accelerate as much of the workforce shifted to remote work during the global pandemic.
During this time, businesses have relied on cloud-based digital technologies to support their remote operations. While many companies are continuing to grapple with the decision around whether to continue with in-office operations or adopt a more distributed workforce model, business leaders are now evaluating how to maximize the cloud-based services they’ve adopted. Organizations that have recently migrated to the cloud are in a unique position where they can leverage cloud-based tools for everyday use and plot a roadmap for how they anticipate scaling their cloud investments as they grow down the road.
Below are a few best practices to guide IT teams through the process as a new cloud adopter. These tips will help teams mitigate potential pain points and take advantage of opportunities to scale their cloud-based solutions across other aspects of the company.
Pain Point: Scaling Services
A digital-only tool, the cloud is not bound by the same physical limitations to scalability that binds on-premises infrastructure. Cloud-based systems allow enterprises to scale rapidly, which is especially relevant in times of economic uncertainty.
A common roadblock that IT teams and business leaders can face after moving to the cloud is how to scale their offerings without interrupting their existing services or operations. One option that can be useful in streamlining scaling is autoscaling. Autoscaling is the process of dynamically allocating resources to match performance requirements. As the amount of work grows and customer preferences shift over time, an application might require additional resources. On the flip side, as some demands reduce and the resources aren’t needed, the resources can be automatically deprovisioned.
Pain Point: Security
Security is top of mind for decision makers when making the move to the cloud. Hosting data off-site in someone else’s system raises understandable security questions and concerns. Organizations migrating to the cloud might feel like when they move their data and systems to the cloud, they lose visibility that they previously had when they were on-premises.
Working closely with cloud providers is a great way to gain insight into security practices and feel more in control. As a part of ensuring future interoperability and data portability, a best practice is to request the adoption of open standards and protocols. Open standards can help ensure the future extensibility of your solution and safeguard you from creating data islands or facing vendor lock-in. Ultimately, it can give you the confidence that your data will remain usable later.
Pain Point: Cross-Department Integration
Information silos are another common challenge that can hinder communication and collaboration. This is especially problematic in larger companies where processes and data are kept in separate servers or data centers that are not able to interact with each other. In many cases, these silos are inevitable if businesses aren’t strategically working to prevent them from being created in the first place. For example, as single departments have adopted Software as a Service (SaaS) and other cloud tools, silos tend to emerge.
This is especially true when departments choose different software providers.
Despite issues with some tools not being able to connect with others, there are some solutions that can help ease this concern. To bridge the gap between multiple cloud systems that aren’t compatible with one another, one option is to utilize an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) provider. iPaaS providers can bring together data and applications from different sources and help companies communicate internally more effectively.
Opportunity to Scale Cloud Investments
After migrating to the cloud, one of the most important next steps for companies is building their cloud toolbox. Enterprises should consider the tools they have in place and what tools they can add to enhance communications. For example, there is a wide range of cloud-based tools that enterprises can use to strengthen and streamline communications. With all the options available, choosing the best cloud-based telecom tools might feel like information overload. Below are a few common configurations for cloud-based communications that decision makers can consider if they are looking to adopt more cloud-based tools.
Cloud-Hosted PBX Technology
Cloud-hosted PBX creates the least amount of disruption for organizations while continuing to provide the same capabilities that customers are familiar with. Hosted PBX phone systems can bring some great functionality to business, including transfer calls, voicemail, voice menus, recording and businesses can increase their number of phones independent of the number of phone lines connected to their building. The technology eliminates the need for physical phones and can help companies better manage spikes in costs and usage.
Purpose-Built Software Solutions
Purpose-built software solutions are industry-specific and are pre-integrated into a workflow. These communication-native business process applications allow the dental receptionist to better schedule patients, the salesperson to handle communications within their CRM, or the claims processing unit to automate claim status SMS notifications. In these cases, communications are no longer a standalone application, but an integrated capability within a critical and valuable software solution. Further, there are more and more options in this category as software developers recognize the power of integrated real-time communications to their offerings.
Be Your Own Carrier (BYOC) Model
The number of enterprises adopting a BYOC model into their communication strategies has increased with the evolution of the cloud telecom market. This BYOC model is defined differently by industry players, but at its core, the model provides enterprises or third-party software developers with direct access to public carrier-level services to design custom communications offerings into existing services. Adoption of BYOC models is appealing because they offer increased flexibility and allow enterprises to innovate further to address the unique needs of their business and customers.
There’s a number of different reasons businesses migrate to the cloud. Ultimately, the name of the game is flexibility. Cloud tools remove a lot of complexity involved in managing your organization’s telecom infrastructure like provisioning resources on the fly, managing different implementations or solutions, scaling and deprovisioning.
With the far-reaching global pandemic touching all elements of business, it’s clear that some elements of consumer and work activities will not return to what they once were. One of the most important lessons that companies can learn from the pandemic is the importance of flexibility and adaptability as a means of helping the business survive. By having a deeper knowledge of the steps to take before, during and after cloud migration, IT leaders can shift their operations and communication efforts to maximize their own IT and communication applications. As businesses around the globe experience the benefits that cloud technology can bring to their businesses, these solutions will help them forget about their previous on-prem infrastructure.
Article by: Telecom Reseller, Darach Beirne