The cloud had its biggest year yet in 2020. Cloud technologies were key in tackling the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, quickly mobilizing digital workforces and delivering the business tools and services necessary for day-to-day working on-demand.
However, rushed deployments to the cloud means businesses might be overlooking important details that could impact their bottom line. As remote work persists and a hybrid model becomes the standard of our post-pandemic world, many SMBs are making smart investments in cloud technology that will enable their businesses to work from anywhere.
While the multitude of benefits cloud offers to SMBs is clear, what is less clear is how SMBs should prioritize to enable long-term success. Every cloud journey is different, but there are three main priorities SMBs should focus on this year.
On-demand access to data anytime, anywhere and without interruption
Access to data is similar to internet access — something businesses often take for granted, and won’t fully appreciate until it’s gone. On the flip side, on-demand access to data in the cloud bolsters productivity, enables teams to innovate, improves operational efficiencies and drives intelligent, data-driven business decisions.
According to a recent Druva survey, 70% of US and UK IT decision makers are confident in their ability to maximize the value of data; however, organizations struggle with access — 41% say the data they collect is not readily available when needed for decision making.
Whether you are adopting individual SaaS applications or a larger platform, the key to making data more readily available is by breaking down data silos. To address this problem, SMBs should consider solutions that unify data and are able to increase visibility across all environments, including SaaS applications. This approach and use of a single interface improves data availability and accessibility at any moment, from anywhere in the world.
Extracting more value out of data
Without access to data, businesses are making uninformed decisions, which can ultimately be a business’s biggest downfall. Thankfully, most of today’s organizational leaders understand the importance of using data to make decisions. In fact, 73% of IT decision makers say that their company is relying on data more to make business decisions since the COVID-19 pandemic started and the use, value and volume of data has increased as well.
When SMBs extract more value from their data, they uncover new business opportunities, generate more revenue and achieve their goals. Data-driven SMBs can get ahead of the curve by optimizing operations and predicting future trends.
Fortunately, deep technical expertise is not a prerequisite to properly analyze or extract insights from data in the cloud. In fact, SMBs no longer need to rely on multiple IT experts to produce valuable reports for decision making. The very nature and design of SaaS applications, and the capabilities they offer, make them more open and accessible for these processes. In turn, SMBs have an enhanced ability to innovate more than those that solely use on-premises solutions.
However, it’s important to remember that SaaS applications are not inherently secure simply because they are in the cloud. SaaS applications, such as Salesforce and Microsoft 365, must be protected or else valuable data could be compromised or lost.
Create a technology stack that improves operational efficiencies across the business
The cloud is more affordable than its on-premises counterpart; however, companies may not be using it to its fullest potential. In fact, 80% of CIOs believe they are yet to achieve the desired level of agility and business benefits from their digital transformation efforts.
More than likely, SMBs are using a handful of different solutions with overlapping capabilities. SMBs should take a hard look at their IT stack to determine what solutions are vital to business operations and which should get cut. The ultimate goal is to have an affordable technology stack that simplifies operational efficiencies and improves the business bottom line.
If there is anything that you’re unsure about, give the vendor a call. They will be able to set up a demo or talk through where the product could better serve you. If the capabilities don’t fit your needs, you should look at what the competition offers.
The cloud provides SMBs with significant business value. In fact, according to Deloitte, SMBs using cloud technology can overcome growth challenges 26% faster and deliver 21% higher gross profits than those that don’t. Although it can be difficult to know where to start or what to prioritize, SMBs must invest in cloud solutions that allow them to extract more value out of their data, which will enable their business to thrive for many more years to come.
Stephen Manley, CTO of Druva, attached and his bio is below. Thank you!
Stephen delivers solutions to help customers extract the full potential of their data. In leading development of data management capabilities for startups and serving as CTO of the Data Protection Group at Dell EMC, Stephen found his passion in partnering with customers to solve data protection challenges for today’s enterprise and evolve modern data storage. He also spent time at NetApp as a senior technical director of data protection. Stephen is excited to connect with new customers and technology to transform how people protect, preserve, and use their data. Stephen works tirelessly to bring the latest innovative technologies to our customers, so they can always protect, manage, and increasingly obtain more value from their data.
Cloud technologies stock photo by aorpixza/Shutterstock