IT Plays Critical Role as Companies Move to the Cloud

Is your company’s critical data stuck in legacy applications? Sometimes, software decisions that were made years ago out of convenience are still in use today. This could mean that critical company information like client info, billing, or other data is being stored in legacy applications. As the data has grown, you have seen first-hand how these legacy apps don’t scale well. Hard drives and computers can crash or software support could end, meaning that your critical company information becomes lost forever.

Times are changing and these fears are dissipating with the move of businesses to the cloud. But how many business are really taking advantage of the cloud to avoid these detrimental data loss occurrences? In an article by Forbes, it was explained that The Neovise report attempted to shed some light by screening 822 IT leads and decision makers. It was reported that 46% of businesses had yet to move their data, content, and files into a cloud storage solution to avoid losses.

More than anything, this means that IT plays a critical role for companies who have yet to make the move to the cloud. Lets look at how exactly:

How can IT help?

As IT departments continue to mature and become more of an integral part of business, new opportunities are arising.

Part of the new IT executive’s job role incorporates helping their company map out their business processes and better understand their software and hardware requirements. In some cases during this process, companies may consider moving to the cloud if they have not already done so.

According to Gartner research, sales of cloud computing services are expected to hit $9 billion in 2013. Gartner is also forecasting a 41% average annual growth rate through 2016. As more companies are moving to the cloud, it is becoming a necessity to compete.

This may leave some IT executives wondering how they can assist their companies with this trend. Once they have worked with employees to map out business processes and software requirements, they will be able to determine where cloud services could be useful.

The IT department can help the company answer crucial questions such as:

  • Can the company successfully migrate to the cloud?
  • Do they need public, private (on-premise), or hybrid cloud services?
  • Will the new cloud service provider keep the company data safe and ensure security?
  • How will the new cloud service providers impact business processes and performance?
  • What impact will the new cloud service providers have on customer service?

Companies are moving certain business processes and software to the cloud in waves. When doing so, the IT department can play a valuable decision making role in evaluating cloud service providers and working with stakeholders within the company to help them select a provider.

After a cloud service provider has been selected, the IT department can manage the relationship between the company, its employees, and the cloud services provider. They can establish communication between the parties and make sure that project timelines are met.

In some cases, data conversion may be required from the old legacy applications to the new service provider. Typically, the service provider will provide the import format but it will be the IT department’s job to prepare and verify the data. This can frequently be a time-consuming process and sometimes takes weeks or months, depending upon the amount of data being converted.

Many companies will choose different cloud service providers over time depending on their unique business’s needs. For example, one year they might pick a customer relationship management (CRM) like Salesforce. Another year, they might pick a project collaboration tool that incorporates an online file sharing tool.

Conclusion

As you can see, times are changing for the IT professional. IT departments have grown from simply supporting computers and networks to the crucial role of helping businesses make smarter decisions and perform better. IT departments will continue to become a more critical part of businesses as more companies make the jump to the cloud.


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