We launched our Microsoft Cloud Services business about 36 months ago. As the lead technician here at SWI I have learned a lot about migrating businesses to the cloud having completed 80+ migrations and well over 3,500 seats to both BPOS and Office 365. Most clients are now transitioned over to Office 365 with a few stragglers still on BPOS.
So, what have I learned? First of all I have learned that most small businesses are desperately behind on their technology platforms. They are running broken, slow and ineffecients hardware. They are running on old software platforms, which in many cases are several versions old. There is very little standardization of hardware, software or communications platform – and I believe this is a huge barrier to an organization’s success.
These issues seem to be a result of the post 2009 global, financial recession, which has really changed the economics for individuals and small businesses and specifically how they purchase (or don’t) new equipment. This is totally understandable. Money does not grown on trees; but, nonetheless, this has trapped many in a disfunctional relationship with their existing platforms and their inefficient ways. Technology has become frustrating and expensive. Break fix tech firms love this, because it keeps them in business!
So does moving to a cloud communications platform fix this problem? What are the actual benefits and what are the pitfalls?
Benefits as observed:
- Standardization of communications platform regardless of hardware
- introduction of new capabilities into an organization
- Greater ability to share information
- Reduction of disaster situations
- greater mobility
- less cost on infrastructure – is it possible to have no servers?
- time savings for IT staff
- consolidation of tools with common admin for alll the services
Pitfalls as observed:
- Making a change can be very disruptive and uncomfortable
- may require some upgrades on OS or hardware
- increased utilization of bandwidth and need for redundant internet connection
- making the move without proper training is painful
- understanding how the move will affect the way you work
- not understanding how to apply the benefits of the new platform
All in all, my analysis is that moving to the Microsoft Office 365 is extremely beneficial to organizations trapped by their old platforms. It is absolutely worth the short term pain of making the move and disrupting your work flow, but this should be considered carefully. You will need a partner to help you navigate the pitfalls and manage the changes. Of course, we can help you navigate the changes.
If you are interested in moving to Microsoft Office 365 please let us know – you can contact us via web form or find your rep here. If you are interested in learing more please visit our Office 365 site. Anyone at our firm would be happy to help you along this path and ultimately gain the efficiencies you desire.
Thanks for reading!
Lead Tech, SWI
stuart [at] software-intl [dot] com