The 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Cloud Solutions

We believe there are many reasons to migrate your organisation’s applications to the cloud, not least of which are cost savings, streamlined operations, redeployment of resources, reskilling of your internal teams and talent retention.  

In this blog, I answer the five most common questions I get asked about moving applications to the cloud, so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right thing for your organisation.  

1. Is it secure and where is my data? 

“Is it secure?”  is one of the most commonly asked questions about the cloud. But as the cloud has become universal in organisations, the nature of the question has changed. 

Every year, major cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft spend billions to make their cloud services stable, robust and secure. Security measures and compliance certifications are available for all to see, and Microsoft’s cloud offering is as secure as it gets in terms of compliance, governance and physical security.  

The result? Today, almost everyone accepts that the cloud is secure. The conversation now is less around how secure it is and more around data control. It’s essential that organisations understand where their data lives, where it may go and who can access it in order to feel comfortable with moving to the cloud. 

A lack of understanding around how the cloud works is a barrier to adoption for many organisations. In the UK, law firms are amongst some of the most cautious adopters of cloud solutions, largely because of questions about where confidential client data will reside and who can access it.  

There needs to be an understanding that, by its very nature, the cloud exists in multiple locations – and your data can too. Azure, for example, for resilience can have multiple copies of data in multiple locations. And this conversation isn’t always an IT-led discussion; it needs the business to decide in which country their data should be reside, and whether they are comfortable with it potentially leaving UK soil. The cloud gives customers choice here, different services having different options about where data is stored, but it’s important that well informed decisions are made in this regard. 

Organisations need to know what they are letting themselves in for and understand how data will be stored and accessed which needs a complex, but not impossible, discussion about trust and understanding. In our experience, anyone who truly understands the options and how the cloud works has been confident in making an informed decision based on facts not fear.  

2.  Will all my IT staff be out of work/redundant? 

Generally, there isn’t a direct correlation between adopting cloud services and IT staff being let go.  We prefer to see this as freeing up IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks. 

Whether they’re in retail, manufacturing, healthcare or any other sector, businesses are trying to be ‘the best’ and provide the best service to their customers. IT should enable them to do that. It should be a supporter and enabler for a business to do its job and operate at its highest level. And for organisations that are held back by inefficient, outdated IT systems, embracing the cloud is one way to make improvements. 

Few organisations today choose to use physical servers; they are costly, require office space and need people to maintain and manage them. Solutions like O365 and Exchange Online are making delivery of common IT services easier, better and lower cost, and like it or not, the requirement for on-premise skills will reduce as cloud adoption becomes the new norm. As IT evolves, the skillset of IT teams needs to evolve with it, or face being left behind.  – Read more

Administrative Ideas for Initiating a Business Cost Reduction Strategy

My Post.pngAdministrative Ideas for Initiating a Business Cost Reduction Strategy

This article originally appeared on Tradogram.

As an administrator, when your attention turns to reducing expenses in the office, there’s more involved than simply declaring an update to existing methodologies.

Especially in larger companies, the process used to revise and adjust the current standard operating procedures which are already in place can prove to be cumbersome and challenging.

In an audio interview focused on procurement cost reduction strategies, a framework is outlined for enhancing purchasing procedures to improve operational cost efficiency in business.

While the idea for this framework is focused on cutting costs through procurement optimisation, the same practice can be used to initiate other elements of a cost reduction strategy.

  1. To start cutting costs, make adjustments at the company policy level first

Policies control everything in a business – including the potential effectiveness of a newly devised cost control strategy.

There are two questions to ask when updating cost control policies:

  • Are current business policies empowering or hindering expense reduction opportunities?
  • Do new policies need to be created to support the initiative?

By assessing current policies from a cost reduction standpoint, administrative stakeholders can evaluate and plan policy changes prior to making impactful operational adjustments.

Some ideas for updating existing policies with the potential to optimise cost control include:

  • Empower employees to source alternative cost-effective SaaS tool subscription options
  • Increase the frequency at which established contract agreements are renegotiated
  • Assess and consolidate the methods used to report spending to accounts payable

Examples of new policies to support office expense control:

  • Implement full or partial telecommuting/remote-working flexibility where viable
  • Transition from paper-based workflows to digital transfers and recordkeeping
  • Require all high-level expenses to be accompanied by an RFQ and CBA analysis
  1. Embed updated cost control policies into standard business operating procedures

Adjusting standard operating procedures can significantly reduce costs. By first planning policy updates, workflow transitions can occur more smoothly by causing less unanticipated disruption.

Examples and ideas for procedure updates that could cut operating costs:

  • Mandate an approval workflow for all business expenses to increase spend visibility
  • Establish the use of purchase requisition forms for bulk ordering
  • Designate a purchasing manager to ensure all costs remain on-contract

Because every business operates differently, innovative ideas for which operational procedures should be added or removed will need to be developed on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Support policies and procedures with a standardised spend management system

Once policies and procedures for a cost reduction strategy have been established, they can be reinforced through the deployment of a spend management system.

Spend management systems are designed to control costs by ensuring all financial activity is initiated and streamlined through a single, standardised point of entry.

Consider the following ideas to get the most value out of a new system:

  • Source and evaluate systems that are simple and not too time-consuming to implement
  • Ensure provided feature flexibility meets the requirements of all policies and procedures
  • Find an affordable solution that will pay for itself by cutting costs, not adding to them
  • Select a system that integrates with other platforms and tools being used

During the evaluation process, consider learning more about Tradogram – a simple, flexible, and affordable spend management system that was designed to support cost reduction initiatives in mid to large sized businesses.

Learn More About Tradogram