In the past executives discussing a shift to cloud computing have focused on security, data and availability as key decision-making factors. Today business has issued a resounding “yes” and the focus instead is on finding solutions that deliver real value
According to a survey of more than 1,000 businesses by Advanced, 60 per cent of UK businesses have already made the shift to the cloud. An increasingly mobile workforce and the need to deliver IT that is scalable yet offers continuous access to business critical applications are key drivers.
Gordon Wilson, chief executive of Advanced, explains: “Businesses that I speak to are comfortable with the cloud and most have already decided that it is a smart move. They realise the cloud offers valuable efficiency gains, agility and significant scalability, and that choosing the right partner also allays their security and availability fears,” he says.
As a result, cloud solutions are being introduced in an increasing array of scenarios, not least during mergers or acquisitions, when systems need to be both standardised and scalable to improve the delivery of services to customers or as a way to replace legacy disparate systems into a more cost-effective environment.
A great example of a business making the most of the cloud is Tideway, which is taking on the considerable challenge of modernising London’s sewer systems as part of a massive £4.2-billion infrastructure initiative. Tideway has worked with Advanced to establish a secure, scalable and flexible IT infrastructure that will support system-wide digital developments and collaboration among hundreds of people.
Robin Johns, head of information systems at Tideway, says: “Being able to exploit the advantages of cloud-based connected infrastructure is critical. It enables our IT footprint to scale and reduce in size according to the demands of the business over time.”
In financially stretched service sectors such as social care, the cloud can positively impact the service-user directly. Clifton St Annes, a residential care provider in North Yorkshire, has just been awarded a care home rating of “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission, a score only 1 per cent of care homes in the UK hold.
Lou Squires, managing director of Clifton St Annes, is in no doubt that technology played a key part in this. “Through Advanced’s mobile solution Caresys, carers have quality, accurate information at their fingertips, reducing the time needed for administration, meaning an extra hour per shift can be dedicated to caring for residents,” she says.
These and other examples demonstrate to businesses we work with that cloud delivery of business-critical software applications can really improve operational process quality. But they should not underestimate the importance of getting the switch right, insists Jon Wrennall, chief technology officer of Advanced.
Organisations are increasingly counting on the cloud as they aim to innovate, compete and improve their operations in an increasingly fast-paced environment
The challenge therefore seems to be that while 93 per cent of UK companies feel a connected digital infrastructure is important in serving their customers’ needs, 55 per cent believe their existing IT infrastructure limits their ability to achieve this.*
“Companies often find themselves living with legacy systems and infrastructure that are not really suitable for the cloud and impossible to join up in a connected fashion,” he explains. It is precisely these types of challenges that lead businesses to work with cloud experts such as Advanced who can create a plan for change including systems, infrastructure or both and then execute on the technical front to make sure the business’s objectives are achieved soundly with little or no disruption.
In the last eight years Advanced has grown from a standing start to more than £220 million in revenue with 2,000 staff and 20,000 customers, making it the UK’s third-largest software and services business.
“We find a lot of businesses are turning to us because culturally we are a good fit, taking the time to understand each industry we serve in depth and focusing on who our customers serve and the real difference they can make to them. That we are agile and flexible with the scale they need makes us an ideal partner,” says Mr Wilson.
He concludes: “Across business, the motivations and specific cloud strategies vary and will continue to evolve, but what is clear is that regardless of size or sector, organisations are increasingly counting on the cloud as they aim to innovate, compete and improve their operations in an increasingly fast-paced environment.”
To read more about Advanced’s survey and their cloud services please visit oneadvanced.com/cloud