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Q&A: Why moving to a cloud solution is necessary for businesses (Includes interview)

In today’s fast-paced and digital savvy world, “comfortable” is the last thing business owners should feel and new technologies need to be considered. To keep pace and to remain agile, many companies moved to the cloud years ago, have adopted artificial intelligence solutions and use tools like Microsoft Teams to connect employees on opposite sides of the globe.

Other companies have been slower to adapt, often adopting the attitude ‘if it gets the job done and it doesn’t matter to our customers what tools we use, why change?’ The issue is that customers are becoming more aware and are expecting multi-channel digital solutions. So by not evolving, this could be the downfall of many firms in this position, according to Mark Sami, VP of delivery management at digital tech consultancy SPR.

Digital Journal caught up with Mark Sami to discuss why outdated IT is basically a death wish in today’s modern age and how business leaders can efficiently throw out their outdated internal processes and tools to remain competitive.

Digital Journal: How important is digital transformation for businesses?

Mark Sami: The scale of the successes of digital startups and failures of long standing non-digital companies in the past few years shows that digital transformation is extremely important for business. If organizations don’t embrace their own digital transformation, they’ll inevitably suffer.

DJ: What does the modern customer expect?

Sami: The modern IT customer expects the applications they interact with at work to have the same level of quality as the ones they use in their everyday lives; otherwise, there will be a disconnect between customer expectations and an organization’s ability to provide.

DJ: What are the consequences of having outdated IT systems?

Sami: Employee productivity and satisfaction are huge risks when businesses fail to update their outdated IT systems. Maintenance costs and security are also big concerns. Aging platforms and systems may have more vulnerabilities than modern platforms because they assumed a much different environment a decade ago. Our world is much more connected, and there are different factors businesses must consider when designing a system or application. Supporting legacy solutions in a modern world may actually cost more money and have more security risks in the long run.

DJ: How important is the cloud for businesses?

Sami: The cloud is very important for the modern business. The greatest value the cloud offers organizations is the ability to scale both smaller and bigger as needed with very little upfront investment. The cloud has also given smaller organizations the ability to roll out complex workloads (e.g., AI and low latency large data repositories) without having to make massive investments in infrastructure. The ability to invest in technology infrastructure is really no longer a barrier to entry in most industries because of the cloud.

DJ: What advantages can AI deliver?

Sami: AI and – more accessible in today’s technology – Machine Learning, have given organizations the ability to make quicker business decisions based on both public data and the data that exists within their firms. Cloud computing has made these technologies a lot more accessible to organizations of any size.

DJ: What strategies should businesses be undertaking to upgrade their systems?

Sami: It’s important to note that upgrading internal systems is bigger than just an IT problem. To start, an organization needs to take a holistic view of its overall business strategy before delving into technology and digital strategy needs.

IT can do its part in this process by identifying high-impact and low-complexity systems to upgrade. Basic back-office systems like email and collaboration are great candidates to move from outdated in-house infrastructure to SaaS providers. These providers usually offer a much lower cost of ownership and have a higher return on features and functionality available to end users. Office 365 and G-Suite are great examples of providers that have made it extremely easy for organizations to take this first step.

Next, businesses should consider leveraging more advanced cloud offerings to replace aging on-premises systems. Finding a SaaS provider to replace line of business applications is definitely a good next step where possible.

If SaaS isn’t an option or doesn’t meet an organization’s needs, custom applications built using a modern cloud infrastructure and PaaS offerings is the next best option. This approach gives businesses the most flexibility from a functionality perspective and has the added benefits of cloud scalability and value.

Ultimately for all of these approaches to be successful, the business and technology teams need to be aligned. As the consumer digital experience evolves, a user’s experience within the organization and the systems they interact with will continue to be more and more important. As consumers, we are going to experience a consistently more rapid evolution of how we interact with technology and our workplaces need to keep up.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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