The cloud has many layers. There are the obvious and highly touted benefits, such as scalability, reliability, lower costs, improved analytics, and disaster recovery. After a cloud migration, however, many companies discover unforeseen advantages and business solutions that didn't even factor into their decision to make the switch.
If your company is thinking about moving certain workloads or systems to the cloud, here are seven hidden benefits you could soon be enjoying.
1. Improved IT Resource Management
As business technology has evolved, so has the role of IT workers. Once upon a time, their job was primarily to maintain servers, troubleshoot office equipment, and ask "Have you restarted your computer?" countless times a day. Today, IT workers have taken on the role of resident rock stars — they're the experts who help your company leverage the latest technology, develop new business applications, and drive innovation. The majority of IT resources, however, still get sapped by routine maintenance, such as installing updates, maintaining servers, and troubleshooting faulty applications.
Cloud migrations unburden IT teams from many of these tasks. IT workers can then spend more time and money on new, strategic projects that contribute to the company's bottom line.
2. Increased Mobility
The cloud doesn't just make your IT department more productive — it also boosts productivity across the organization. It lets staff access data and business applications from any location via any connected device.
With cloud migration, snow days no longer mean a whole day's worth of work to catch up on, and travel time is no longer downtime. Employees in the field spend fewer hours on the phone with the home office or digging through email to find the information they need. And when staff members experience real computer problems — the ones that can't be fixed by turning them off and on again — they can work from their mobile devices while IT gets their computers back online.
With cloud services, your company can save money that would otherwise be sunk into redundant, siloed systems across all of your locations.
3. Larger Talent Pool
There are plenty of fish in the sea, but the best fish for the job might not live in your particular pond. Since cloud migration makes it easy for employees to work from anywhere, you can hire from anywhere, too. So, whether new employees are based in London, Kentucky, or London, England, you can set them up with telecommuting technology.
Likewise, if valuable employees move away or simply prefer to work from home, there's no need to incur the costs of finding and training new talent.
4. Collective IT Insight
Think about the last time you saw someone step in a puddle or trip over something. You were probably thinking, "I'm glad it wasn't me."
Cloud services and applications are constantly being improved, updated, and expanded upon based on customer feedback and experimentation. Because these are shared resources, you benefit from the knowledge that comes with other users' trials and errors, their setbacks and successes, and their collective innovation. After all, it's usually more efficient to learn from others' mistakes and insights than your own.
5. Easier Mergers and Acquisitions
Merging or acquiring new companies offers opportunities to grow and make a bigger impact on the world. But getting data and apps from two companies' servers to play nice is just as much fun as a root canal — and takes a lot longer.
It often takes merging companies months or even years to move their data from one legacy system to another. The time and resources it takes to do so have caused more than one M&A deal to fall through.
When data and business systems are in the cloud, the transition can happen much faster, and employees from both newly joined organizations can immediately access the information and apps they need to keep working at full speed.
6. Better Connectivity Across Multiple Offices
As a company grows, it might choose to open offices in new locations — and that could pose a new set of IT challenges when it comes to linking core information systems across the various locations. With cloud-based business systems, you can provide your branch office employees with the same tools that their colleagues in the main office use to get the job done, all without having to make costly upfront capital infrastructure investments.
With cloud services, your company can save money that would otherwise be sunk into redundant, siloed systems across all of your locations. In addition, you can reap cost savings on bandwidth and site-to-site calling. And as your new locations prosper, you can scale their cloud services on demand.
7. Reduced Carbon Footprint
Running on-site servers and an off-site disaster recovery system for your data center consumes a lot of energy, especially for larger enterprises. With cloud-based data storage, your server capacity scales to fit your current needs so you don't use more energy than necessary. This helps your company go green while also saving some green on the power bill.
It's no secret that the cloud offers plenty of benefits, but some of its most touted highlights barely scratch the surface. Your company's cloud migration might just reveal a few hidden gems, too.