Is the right technology platform vital for the survival of many SMEs?
For countless SMEs, vital in winning their post pandemic battle for survival in a world already far removed from what it was pre-COVID-19, will be optimising the use of technology specific to their needs.
This, for example, could involve confronting internal management difficulties including the likelihood of more staff members working more frequently from home, necessitating therefore not only revision of systems, processes and technology, but their cost effectiveness.
But whatever the prime consideration in a technological upgrade, the key to success will be making the right decision on a platform for the technology, and in particular whether this should essentially be established on desk tops or in the cloud.
Why should a business, functioning well now with a series of apps to meet its individual specific requirements, consider transition to the cloud?
The answer may determine its future
Macks Advisory notes that many small firms, because their size tends to enable them to embrace change more readily than big ones, have already moved functionality to the cloud, and as a consequence are enjoying a variety of benefits, including productivity gains.
Previously larger firms, lacking the flexibility of smaller ones, have been inhibited by choice of technology able to provide them with comprehensive enterprise cloud practice management solutions. That’s no longer a problem. Such solutions are now available.
Thus the immediate nagging question now for many a business, irrespective of what changes have been forced upon them by COVID-19’s chaos, is whether it’s best to head forthwith for the cloud or adopt a wait-and-see policy - especially to see what their incumbent provider may be able to offer in the not-too-distant future.
However, business analysts are universally insistent that companies that don’t now move to employ the latest and best technology suitable for their business, will seriously hazard their future in the aftermath of the virus crisis. They are telling clients that given the rate of change in technology, those who are not moving now to update their management systems will have no chance of ever catching up and maintaining viability.
We also note reported sales momentum for so-called “born in the cloud” platforms seems to indicate an increasing number of business owners are getting this message and acting on it - particularly those operating hybrid desktop/cloud , management systems.
Progress could be quickened
But clearly the message isn’t getting through to many business owners – or if they’re getting it they’re not acting on it - and surprisingly this includes many operators of businesses in service industries and the professions.
For it’s hardly a secret that over and above savings on desktop programs, IT infrastructure, management and other licence costs, the cloud unleashes the power of centralised data by allowing integration across platforms
It also increases mobility, and provides the user with better insights, increased overall viability and a single coordinated view of a client’s business.
Accordingly we find it hard to understand why so many SMEs whose owners include thousands with high levels of awareness, are slow to employ systems and procedures most likely to enhance bottom lines.
For example emerging technologies that require the cloud are machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analysis and robot process animation.
Cloud technology has prompted development of an ever-increasing number of cloud apps to fill specific gaps in the app stacks of businesses, but with things changing so fast, it’s no longer possible for single vendor software developers to produce in one package all the technology a modern, progressive firm now needs. They lack the budget, domain expertise and resources to do that.
Is your business using many unintegrated apps, each of which needs constantly to be updated, each with a data base that can develop its own integrity issues, thus creating a cluster of data islands with the potential to develop consistency issues that could threaten the integrity of the entire business?
Answering the question
You may need professional advice that will answer this question for you. Ideally the advice could also include a recommended system enabling your firm to maximise data quality and aggregation on a platform integrating all of your applications into one centralised database that synchronises data and eliminates data islands.
Business owners – accountants for example - that act successfully on such advice will add value to their firms by being able to guide clients towards similar accomplishment and resultant competitive advantage.
Why consider transitioning to the cloud? We’re advised cloud computing offers opportunities to improve service, a firm’s agility, client collaboration that results in improved efficiency, productivity, security and data recovery, and it lowers IT and maintenance costs.
We’re advised the cloud offers better application program interfacing (API) and integration across platforms, higher quality insights and benchmarking, ready data access anywhere anytime, and ease of updating for a system whatever its size or range of capability.
The advice concludes – and we’re happy to pass it on to all SMEs looking positively to the future -- is that it’s very difficult to integrate legacy desktop solutions with cloud solutions. However, “platforms that embrace integration, that support behaviour and process change, will provide competitive advantage by enabling digital transformation that firms of tomorrow are seeking.”