From entrepreneurial discussions to keynote speeches and to global events, digital transformation often monopolizes the interest. Global tech giants agree that digital transformation is not just a trend or wishful thinking for a better future but a de facto event to which organizations must adapt. In a demonstration of quick reflexes, several large and smaller companies have embarked on their transformation process to gain the lead over their competition and avoid being in the unfavorable position where they must “follow the facts”.
Undoubtedly, this year with the pandemic crisis, companies worldwide are forced to experiment with ideas and practices that they did not dare in the past. Before COVID-19, two key questions were at the heart of the digital transformation debates: how much time does it take for an organization, regardless of its size to make, such a change, and how much does it cost? The current reality and events have given birth to a new, quite demanding question.
How can digital transformation start quickly, efficiently, and at an affordable cost?
The first decisive step is the transition to the cloud. The advantages of this transition remain the same as in previous years. But the way everyone now perceives them has changed dramatically. The pandemic crisis and the adjustments to the working paradigm have affected the business mindset. What advantages does the transition offer?
i) Ability to work from anywhere
Remote work may have been considered utopian in the past, but it is now the daily routine for the majority of the global workforce. Having addressed concerns of declining productivity or problematic communication between groups, all an employee needs is an internet connection. Accessing productivity suites such as Microsoft 365 transforms remote work from an emergency solution into a permanent situation.
(ii) Security first
Most organizations share common concerns about the use of cloud servers which are summarized with the following fundamental question. Is it safe? The truth is that uploading data, files, and programs to the cloud is much safer than local server storage.
It is worth considering that the primary purpose of a “cloud host” is to protect and continuously check servers and data centers as a whole. Maintenance, crash tests, ongoing staff training, monitoring and other tasks are day-to-day jobs for cloud service and infrastructure providers. At the same time, those who wish to ensure data integrity can purchase technical support packages, thus maximizing the high levels of services they will receive. On the other hand, in using a local server, its maintenance and monitoring are unfortunately sidelined mainly because of the monetary and time costs.
If an organization doesn’t invest in a cloud solution, all valuable data is inextricably linked to employees’ workstations. Therefore, information can be compromized due to common problems such as human error, use of expired software, equipment obsolescence, theft and more. However, by leveraging a cloud server that adheres to the necessary security protocols, all information remains secure and easily accessible from any computer.
A key success factor for businesses is ensuring uninterrupted operation. Downtime results in loss of productivity, revenue, and reliability. Although predicting a disaster is impossible, businesses leverage Disaster Recovery solutions hosted on cloud servers, ensuring the continuous operation of their services.
(c) Agility and money savings
The financial aspect of using cloud servers as well as its evaluation is summarized in three main pillars. The upfront investment, operating costs and pay-as-you-go model. The cloud service provider covers all maintenance needs at the infrastructure level and operating expenses such as human resources and energy consumption. Each company must pay a specific cost that does not change, being able to proceed to accurate forecasting of its costs at least one year in advance. In addition to the pay-as-you-go model, an organization is charged exclusively for the volume of GB it consumes, avoiding charges on services it does not need.
d) Tailor-made solutions and scalability
The previous advantage further supports the “unfair advantage” of cloud servers over physical ones, i.e. scalability. Businesses may grow at a rapid pace or may need to adapt to market needs, and for this reason, the ability to expand while minimizing computing resources is critical. In this way, the company can enhance its capacity and work without being exposed to interruptions or expensive upgrades.
Depending on an organization’s needs, a choice is given between two types of extension: vertical scaling and horizontal scaling. In the first case, a machine’s resources are configured by increasing memory processing power, etc. In the second one, company can add more machines or configure a cluster.