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The cloud has practically become ubiquitous within IT. At its most basic, the cloud offers secure storage of data with practically endless scaling. Organisations have begun to create platforms that revolve entirely around cloud computing.
The applications they provide are known as Software as a Service (SaaS). The services they provide are appealing – especially when compared to on-site data storage and management. However, it is important to understand all the risks, as well as the opportunities, SaaS can provide when deciding whether or not to migrate to the cloud.
First and foremost, SaaS can help an organisation streamline their software from multiple legacy-based systems, into just one software platform. This means work processes become more efficient, as tasks can be carried out through one program instead of multiple. While cloud migration can be time-consuming, the benefits it can bring to an organisation's workflow often outweighs the small hindrance of transferring documents and data. Transferring to the cloud will also mean you no longer have to worry about the constant updates and maintenance of your legacy IT software.
As organisations continue to grow and expand into the digital era, there is a demand for greater accessibility and more comprehensive applications of data and files. How and what organisations use their data for is becoming more and more complex and legacy IT often doesn't allow employees to maintain a competitive advantage in data analysis. Onsite legacy IT systems must also be managed internally, whereas cloud-based software is managed by the service provider. This is why more and more organisations are considering cloud migration for their data and many of their work processes.
SaaS providers are experts in cloud computing. Their entire organisation revolves around the cloud. Cloud migration is their speciality. These providers have often already developed and built-in applications that help organisations digest, process and analyse their data with functionality in mind. This means you spend less time categorising data and more time putting it to work to gain invaluable consumer insights.
The greatest opportunity SaaS providers can provide organisations today is that they can offer a ‘complete service’. Their software isn’t just utilised for certain business processes, such as enterprise risk management or Human Resources, but provides an all-encompassing service that can be integrated into all work processes. When utilised optimally, this can provide substantial benefits to your organisation, including greater ROI for multiple work processes, as well as more functional risk management.
For example, some SaaS providers allow you to map out procedures such as Business Continuity Management (BCM) plans using a centralised, one system of record. This allows for a single truth to be maintained, while still empowering every relevant stakeholder to identify and manage the crisis collaboratively. The end result is a highly efficient identification, management and resolution of any crisis. Not only are risks easier to identify, you are also able to recover from them quicker.
Like any organisational change, cloud migration comes with risks. An assumed risk of transferring sensitive data and files is that they could be lost during the migration process. While a seemingly reasonable assumption, it is an unlikely scenario. Most SaaS providers have a high level of expertise in the migration process, as it is one of the most important processes they carry out. However, it is important that you have done your research before making the switch. Some SaaS providers are more experienced than others and this must be a key consideration when making your choice.
Cloud migration and cloud software often carry a stigma that it is too complex and code-driven to be utilised by employees outside of the IT department. However, Intelligent SaaS Risk Management Systems offer zero-coding and fully customisable user-input. What this means is that any employee can use the software and become empowered through this knowledge. If the service provider you are thinking of using does not offer a demonstration that allows you and your employees to understand and operate what they are providing you on the spot, their software may not be optimised with user-functionality in mind. This can be a major problem, especially if your employees are resistant to organisational change.
The second major concern that the cloud migration conversation often turns to is security. Many organisations believe their data is safer on-site and that migrating these to the cloud exposes them to a greater level of operational risk. Again, research is paramount. Make sure your SaaS provider discusses their server security with you in-depth. Your provider should know more about the cloud and their security than you do. Questions such as “What cloud storage service do you use?” are great to gauge how highly they value security.
It is important to choose a SaaS specialist service that will mitigate associated risks with your organisation’s cloud migration, as well as provide you with a competitive advantage over your competitors. Make sure you compare the market and understand what services your competitors are using and why.
A simple SWOT analysis can be a great way to start out when researching. Analysing your competitors will allow you to identify what SaaS providers can offer you and whether or not their services can put you ahead of your competition.
Conducting simple analysis will allow you to start understanding and asking the right questions. Knowing what you want and why from your provider is crucial. Do not go into the selection process with the mentality that whatever your competitors are doing you must too. Use them as a reference point and discover how you can take it one step further. At the end of the day, you don't want to follow in their footsteps, you want to be a pioneer and innovate, so make sure your cloud software empowers you to do so.
The age of digitisation rewards the most innovative organisations. Disruption is the key to obtaining a competitive edge in your industry. Organisations that are innovative, informed and have a healthly risk appetite for new IT stay ahead of their competitors.
So, are you ready to innovate and become the pioneer in your industry?