There are major software and service providers on the market – many of them have probably visited you and tried to sell their story, right? We’ve all been there. But the question is: how to find a Holy Grail and primarily, is it necessary for you to undergo cloud migration at your corporation? In my opinion, it is, and I’ll share my few reflections on that.
To cloud or not to cloud?
If you see cloud as not secure or a threat to your kingdom – well, you shouldn’t. Plus, cloud migration might not just be a financial decision – it’s rather a change of paradigm. If you have enough resources to upgrade email, file sharing, conferencing systems every few years – you are lucky.
But in the cloud, you don’t have to do it, and instead, you can provide a real business value for the company. Back-office systems should be as transparent for your business operations as your car fleet – it just works, and I can bet that you don’t have garages and mechanics that service them – why should you do it with commodities like email? If you are still not convinced – read further.
Why have we moved?
We have done cloud migration from the very first day Predica had come to life. For the first couple of years, we used Google Scores Apps – mainly for email and a few apps. Hardly anyone used a file sharing service because of lack of compatibility with Office. We deliver services based on Microsoft products, and it would be quite a sabotage not to test and use them ourselves. When we decided to also carry Office 365 engagements – we’ve adopted the service as well.
Now we use the components of Office 365 E5 license that integrates with our other applications such as Dynamics CRM, ERP and time tracking. I will describe our story in a different article, so stay tuned.
When thinking about business productivity, these are the six most common scenarios in Office 365. Note that these are not product descriptions. This is how I look at the whole service, and these are the primary usage scenarios that are easy to embrace. When deploying our services, this is usually the way we train the end users. They know when and how to use the particular features.
Using services such as Outlook Calendar, Find Time, Skype for Business and OneNote you can easily find a date when everyone can meet. They will use Skype to connect if they work remotely. Using Skype Mobile or a simple browser is also possible to video conference with each other. Meeting minutes with action points will be accessible to all attendees in a shared OneNote Notebook.
Virtually any service has its mobile app “complement.” There are also some features that are available only for cloud subscribers, such as Intelligent Search (Delve), internal YouTube (Video Portal) and others. If mobile is your key scenario, no matter what the service – e-mail, file sharing, communication, data analytics, security – just go cloud and you won’t go wrong.
What is your teamwork model? Time to try Office 365 Groups for a modern way of cooperation. Groups are brand new workspaces that integrate key Office 365 services such as email (for group communication), OneDrive (for file collaboration), Skype (for quick group calls and online meetings), OneNote (for sharing notes). Users can work with Groups using a browser or other regular applications such as Office or Skype.
This one is always hard because it depends, frankly, on the skills you possess. And most likely, without continuous training and development, the results can be disappointing. Why? Since – like the majority of people – you may stick to your old habits. Microsoft is making investments in helping individuals to work easier and more efficiently.
A massive (50GB or Unlimited) inbox is one thing. OneDrive that integrates with Outlook and allows secure file collaboration is another. OneNote managing your notes – third one to mention. The latest investment is Focus Inbox. There is AI in Exchange Online that learns which emails are crucial for your work and which aren’t. And to be honest – it’s very effective.
Reporting and data analytics are always tricky because of… the data itself. Thanks to Power BI service you can build reports in a browser, Windows apps or mobile devices. What is more interesting – you can implement your custom data visualization that will make your reports more interactive and informative for the rest of the team.
With great (cloud) power, comes great responsibility (of securing your data). I believe that your data would be safer once you will have undergone the cloud migration than it is on-premise right now. There can be one exception – if you have already heavily invested in various security systems. But well, let’s confront it and forget about on-premise just for a second.
What can secure your information much better? MFA, RMS, documents encryption, content policies and more… see exactly what you can do to secure your cloud migration in Tom’s latest article.
Should you go with the cloud migration or will you get moved?
When it comes to commodity scenarios such as email, file sharing, back office applications, I believe you shouldn’t waste time and at least start a pilot. If you already use some cloud services – look at the scenarios above and adopt more. In case you need help – you know whom to contact :).
Now, if you have any questions, reflections or want to share a similar case study — the comment space below is all yours. (I’m telling you… you don’t even suspect how many people you’ll end up helping just by typing your words.)
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