Cloud technology is changing the way businesses operate – and the unexpectedness of the coronavirus pandemic has reinforced a need for transformation more than ever before.
A recent survey showed that 91% of IT leaders are changing their cloud strategy as a direct result of coronavirus. With new ways of working being implemented and anxieties high around a return to work, the flexibility of the cloud is encouraging a shift in B2B technology.
With the threat of an unknown ‘new normal’ looming ahead of us, read on to learn why cloud technology should be one constant in the future of your business.
Prepared for the unexpected
No business was prepared for the impact of coronavirus, but in many ways, it has highlighted operational weaknesses that could be optimised. Cloud technology is one example of this, where being unable to act quickly in response to crisis has reduced efficiency.
“Businesses have had to adapt quicker than ever,” says Luke Thomas, COO of Codatech (creators of Codapay payroll software). “While some businesses are unfortunately seeing a downturn in profit during the crisis, we’ve seen a surge of interest from those whose existing on-premise software just isn’t compatible with new ways of working.
“We offer payroll SaaS products, and payroll isn’t an expense that can just be cut from an operating business, rather it’s the lifeblood of the business itself.” He adds that Q1 and Q2 of 2020 were especially busy for Codapay due to keeping on top of changing payroll requirements: “We rapidly developed a furlough payment module to integrate with HMRC’s gateway. The fact that this could be automatically rolled out without a manual, sluggish update or a costly updated version is just one of the ways having a cloud platform allowed our clients to adapt quickly.”
Businesses globally have expanded and reduced in size in a way that no amount of forecasting could have predicted. Switching technology is one of the ways businesses have been able to offset costs and redistribute expenditure. Luke comments, “No-one knew what 2020 had in store for us. But the great thing about cloud technology is that it’s prepared by default. It scales with you so there’s no need to re-install a new version or pay more than you need to.”
Embracing the new normal
Cloud services like video conferencing apps Zoom and Microsoft Teams have exponentially increased in adoption since early 2020. This, of course, came with some initial performance issues due to spiking traffic. However, these were resolved quickly, and software providers have been challenged to go above and beyond in their offerings.
Once remote working policies were implemented almost overnight, businesses that had already undergone cloud transformation could pick up their workload without technological limitations.
Face-to-face meetings are now video calls, and office conversations are hosted by chatrooms. Core systems can be easily accessed through a web-based platform – and an external support team can help at a time when internal resources are stretched.
While on-premise technology needs to be installed, requiring storage space and oftentimes robust servers and maintenance teams, cloud software is handled by the vendor. In effect, this is a matter of time and money, which is limited when jobs are being sacrificed and expenditure is cut.
“The focus for businesses during coronavirus has been around cost-cutting measures and employee safety. Cloud technology has been key to achieving just that, by offering flexible monthly subscriptions and a platform that anyone can access anywhere. Most people in the UK have an internet connection and a device,” says Luke.
But what does this mean for the future of technology? 66% of IT leaders said they will continue to use cloud services once workers return to the office. Plus, employers’ attitudes towards remote working are changing, which requires careful consideration around permanent infrastructure.
It has been demonstrated that working from home can be productive, and cloud-based platforms offer that capability and flexibility in cost. With a change in how we view work as a society, cloud adoption is expected to increase further. 88% of businesses were using cloud technology in 2018, and this will have undoubtedly risen as companies acknowledge the potential that the cloud harnesses.
Businesses across the world have had to make rapid changes to their operations due to the unexpected impact of COVID-19. This has included acknowledging a need for change in technology and how it will facilitate ways of working moving forwards. The impact of cloud technology during the pandemic has included:
- Catering to remote workers who can simply access a platform using the internet
- Saving businesses money and providing flexibility when the future is uncertain
- Saving the time of stretched internal teams with automatic updates and easy access
- Scaling up or down to meet the changing shapes of businesses
Increased work flexibility and a need for preparedness will encourage the adoption of cloud technology in the future. If you decide to revolutionise your operations in 2020, it’s a good place to start.