By Penny Philpot, Group Vice President, Worldwide Alliances & Channels, Oracle
There was a time not that long ago when companies had to think about whether they wanted to be online or not. And remember when they had to decide whether to allow employees to use mobile devices or not? Many companies are at – or nearing -- that same inflection point now with the cloud: It’s no longer whether to use the cloud, but when and how.
Of course, none of this has happened overnight for any of these technologies. In the early days of the Web and wireless, for example, risk often outweighed reward. Today, of course, we can't imagine doing business without these platforms, but that’s only after the technologies evolved and systems (and practices) were put into place to effectively secure, manage and develop for them.
Cloud technology is on the same trajectory. While it may have once been a relatively risky proposition, the cloud can now be used in ways that make it a catalyst for growth--especially among small and midsize businesses. Indeed, the cloud is enabling SMBs to innovate, experiment, and sustain ongoing profitability and competitiveness to a level they (and their partners) simply couldn’t achieve on their own.
Further, some of the early hurdles to cloud adoption are now reasons for using the cloud in the first place. For example, while security fears once deterred companies from leveraging the cloud, many SMBs are turning to vendors with a long history of securing business transactions and applications to provide layers of defense in the cloud.
Companies of any size can expect to reap almost immediate benefits by using the cloud to whatever extent they are ready to commit. They will see a huge benefit in reduced capital expenditures, but they can also expect:
- The ability to reallocate IT resources from mundane administrative tasks to more strategic, business-critical projects
- The ability to quickly, and relatively inexpensively, scale computing systems and capacity as business needs change
- The ability to spin up projects faster and to deliver new products and services more quickly
It’s important to note that these “benefits” are not just nice to have but necessary to compete and thrive in today’s dynamic digital business environment. Companies that can’t fulfill their customer’s demands simply can’t compete. The cloud is an important tool for enabling companies to respond quickly and strategically, but also to proactively bring to market new products and services that will increase revenue and improve productivity and satisfaction.
Of course, not all clouds—or cloud vendors—are equal. But the right cloud partner can help SMBs cut costs while providing the opportunity to grow the business to its full potential.
Likewise, not all businesses will travel on the same pathway to the cloud and on the cloud. Therefore, one of the most important things to look for in a cloud partner is choice, providing SMBs with the ability to, say, start with SaaS (software as a service) applications and utilize PaaS (platform as a service) and IaaS (infrastructure as a service).
It’s also important to look for partners that can provide all pieces of the cloud technology puzzle. Yes, it’s possible to choose one service from Vendor A and another from Vendor B, but it’s much more efficient and secure to work with a partner that’s able to provide all of the pieces of the integrated cloud stack, ensuring security, manageability, interoperability and agility.
Still Not a No-Brainer
It would be flippant to say that moving to the cloud is a “no brainer,” but the decision to make the move—to whatever extent--is getting easier and easier to make as the technology gets more robust and sophisticated. Indeed, “cloud” can mean different things to different companies at different times. The key is to work with trusted partners to determine what makes the most sense for your company and the best way to get there.
Managed service providers can and should play an important role here, guiding customers through some of the many decisions that go into a cloud migration. These include:
- The differences among public, private and hybrid cloud, and which model makes sense and when
- The applications that should be in the cloud
- The data that can and can’t be hosted in the cloud
- Ensuring that all regulatory requirements are met
- How to determine the level of compute, networking and storage needed
- What should be included in a service-level agreement
- Criteria for evaluating cloud providers
- The products and services that can be put into place to ease and enhance cloud migrations and implementations
So, ask not whether the cloud is in your company’s future, but how quickly can your company get started.
Discover the opportunities awaiting Oracle’s partners at the Oracle FY18 Global Partner Kickoff (oracle.com/partners) on June 20th and 21st. Learn everything you need to know about customer success in the cloud and how you can transform and grow your business with Oracle.