It’s no exaggeration to say that we are currently living through one of the most testing economic crises in living memory. With inflation at a 40 year high, and many businesses struggling with sky-high energy bills, organisations across all sectors are seeking ways to economise while also boosting revenue streams.
If your business is seeking to become leaner and more productive during these testing times, reviewing your use of technology can be a great place to begin. Over the last 20 years, enterprise technology has changed beyond all recognition. IT is no longer a burdensome cost to be paid begrudgingly, but instead a force for transformative change, allowing organisations to tap into their productivity potential and explore new, flexible ways of working.
Adaptable pricing models combined with the advent of cloud computing have given SMEs access to IT features and capabilities that were once the preserve of large, dominant corporations, and technologies once considered science-fiction are now permeating the mainstream workplace.
So, with the aim of helping you source the best tech solutions for these trying times, let’s look at some of the characteristics of the most compelling, high-value, productivity-boosting technology out there.
The way organisations adopt and fund their enterprise technology has changed immeasurably over the past 20-30 years. Adopting new software, installing a new phone system or expanding computing capacity were undertakings once characterised by substantial capital investment, significant upheaval and significant long-term commitments. Then the rise of cloud computing completely changed the game.
It didn’t happen overnight, and it’s easy to forget that ‘the cloud’ was actually around in the 1990s, but its true rise to prominence occurred over the past 10-15 years. ‘The Cloud’ has granted businesses of all sizes access to software, computer resources, storage, development platforms and more, with subscription-based pricing allowing organisations to provision exactly what they need. For example, the cloud lets you provide enterprise software for an exact number of end users or acquire precisely the right amount of computing resources needed to run your fleet of virtual machines, with monthly billing allowing costs to closely match demand at any given time.
Depending on the nature of the cloud project you’re interested in, there can be little to no requirement for costly hardware and its associated maintenance. Through what are known as ‘public cloud services,’ computer resources, software and platforms can be adopted without any infrastructural obstacles to overcome, as the hardware underpinning the services remain the responsibility of the cloud service provider. This means resources can be provisioned almost instantly (no need to wait for hardware to be delivered), and your organisation won’t be burdened with the cost and hassle of hardware lifecycle management. Public cloud services therefore massively reduce the financial barriers that once accompanied every significant IT deployment, and make it quicker and easier to introduce game changing enterprise technology.
Because cloud services use the public internet as their delivery medium, the resources and services you provision can be accessed from most internet-connected devices. Indeed, enterprise mobility is often the motivating factor in businesses choosing to migrate their services to the cloud in the first place.
Allowing remote working, even on a limited basis, can alleviate pressure on office space. Using techniques like ‘hotdesking,’ whereby remote workers use communal desks during periodic visits to the office, you can reduce the amount of workstations required at any given time and consequently operate from a smaller, more affordable office suite.
Studies also show that flexible working practices (incorporating remote working) can dramatically improve productivity, boost staff morale and even lead to greater employee retention. Reducing or eliminating the daily commute could also prove popular with their team, eliminating significant costs for some.
‘Automation’ is one of the most prominent buzzwords in today’s business technology sphere. The cloud has made automation widespread and accessible. Hosted enterprise software platforms enable business process automation and associated technologies like AI (artificial intelligence), to be applied to almost any conceivable business domain, from accounting and finance to marketing and customer service.
The goal isn’t to supplant human operatives with machines, but to instead free up your workforce for activities that generate revenue and add value. Automation can also get more done in less time. For example, manual data entry can be time consuming and typically offers no business value in and of itself. Automation can unify isolated data sets and transfer many entries between systems at the blink of an eye: a process that might take a human operating a significant portion of their working day.
With the average data breach setting UK businesses back £1200 according to 2022 data, guarding protected data categories against cyber threats could mean the difference between business success and financial disaster.
Thankfully, meeting compliance obligations in relation to data security needn’t be an operational headache, thanks to a range of security measures which offer next-generation cyber security protection. From signature-based email filtering and military grade encryption technologies to advanced XDR (extended detection and response) and SIEM (security incident and event management) platforms, the tools designed to detect and thwart the activities of cyber criminals are more advanced and attainable than ever before.
UK GDPR sets out the responsibilities of data processors in relation to data security in its ‘integrity and confidentiality’ principle:
‘the controller and the processor shall implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk’
The legislation also states that failure to satisfy this principle (among others) can lead to enforcement of the ‘highest tier of administrative fines.’ These fines, coupled with reputational damage, loss of revenue and possible legal repercussions means it’s vital to protect sensitive data using the best protection tools available. Failure to do so could threaten your organisations resilience, and in a worst-case scenario: its survival.
CloudHost Limited was created with the mission to bring better IT support to small and midsize businesses across the UK. Backed by world-class technology, as well as a dedicated and knowledgeable support team, we allow organisations to build, deploy and maintain a feature rich IT environment. Contact us today to learn more.