5 Ways Middle-Market Firms can Maximize the Advantages of Cloud Technology

With cloud-based solutions in place, middle-market companies can leverage solutions that can be scaled up and down as demand dictates as well as satisfy their rapidly changing, specific business requirements and increase data storage capabilities without compromising data security. Such solutions also decrease reliance on traditional on-premise resources and equipment, increasing productivity while eliminating significant upfront capital expenditures. However, truly maximizing these benefits takes a strategic approach. Here are 5 ways middle-market firms can get the most out of cloud technology deployment.

1. Identify the type of cloud-based solution that is right for the business. There is no “one size fits all” cloud-based solution. Together with stakeholders, identify your middle-market company’s objectives in moving to a cloud platform. Then, examine different options to assess how closely their features and capabilities support the attainment of these objectives.

2. Start small. Starting with a single user-focused application is preferable to a mass deployment of applications. This will limit the adverse effects of any mistakes or missteps in the initial implementation process. From which pitfalls to avoid to best practices, lessons learned from the initial deployment can be applied during subsequent cloud migration efforts.

3. Don’t just move technology functions to the cloud. Increase automation of these functions first, as it improves the efficiency of the various applications that operate in a complex, distributed IT environment. Maximizing automation this way better prepares employees and their workloads for cloud-based solution deployment.


4. Avoid “lift-and-shift.” In a lift-and-shift scenario, end-users transition an entire workload into the cloud. A far better strategy entails automating the life cycle of that workload, taking into consideration how it plays out going into the development and production phases and how to scale it horizontally, then back when the workload is reduced.

For example, suppose a manufacturer has busier production cycles during some months of the year than it does in others. It could benefit from addressing this pattern by scaling up its infrastructure in an automated fashion inside the cloud when its plants are busiest, then scaling back in slower times.

5. Leverage external resources. Partnering with an external cloud-based solutions and services provider to configure a cloud solution or solutions that have been customized to fit the business can lead to enhanced efficiencies and help middle-market firms get the biggest bang for their cloud-based technology buck. It also can ensure a proper level of ongoing support.

Through cloud-based solutions deployment, middle-market businesses not only can take advantage of next-generation technology in a more cost-effective way, they also can level the playing field by embracing solutions that only larger organizations could previously afford. Taking the above steps increases their potential for long-term success with a cloud platform.

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Julie Ritzer Ross has been covering all facets of business in a variety of vertical markets, including manufacturing, for the past 35 years and the use of technology in business for the past 25 years. A two-time winner of a Jesse H. Neal Award for business-to-business journalism, her work has appeared in such publications as MICROSOFT EXECUTIVE CIRCLE, CONSUMER GOODS TECHNOLOGY (formerly CONSUMER GOODS MANUFACTURER), VERTICAL SYSTEMS RESELLER, RESELLER MANAGEMENT, RIS NEWS, and INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS.