How to Conduct a Strategic Cloud Service Review to Streamline & Lower Costs

How to Conduct a Strategic Cloud Service Review to Streamline & Lower Costs

Over the last few months, many Canadian companies have had to rethink the way they do business. The COVID-19 pandemic caused many companies to quickly accommodate “stay-at-home” orders and learn to operate with remote employees.

During this rush, business owners and managers ended up adopting new cloud computing technologies to keep them in touch virtually with their workforce and their workforce able to work from home.

Now that the dust has settled since the initial panic and reopening is on the horizon, those businesses are looking at costs and efficiency and realizing that their cloud strategy may need some work.

Problems that can come from adopting cloud solutions without a strategic plan include:

  • Paying more than you need to in subscription costs
  • Using different cloud apps that can do the same thing
  • Employees having a learning curve on multiple cloud user interfaces
  • Data and workflows not being well integrated 
  • Wasted time rekeying information from one app into another

Companies use an average of 36 different cloud applications.

Now is a perfect time to take a look at your overall cloud infrastructure to see where you can streamline, reduce costs, and improve productivity.

Steps for Reviewing and Upgrading Your Cloud Infrastructure

When businesses first began using the cloud, it played a much smaller part in their overall IT infrastructure, but now the cloud represents a much larger portion of the technology relied on daily.

If the parts are not working well together or if you’re ending up with the same types of processes being done in two different cloud platforms, it’s inefficient and costly.

When you review your cloud services, you want to go in with two key goals in mind:

  • Improve your work process efficiency
  • Reduce unnecessary costs

Here are the steps that will take you through the process.

Map Out Your Cloud Services & What They Do

You’ll first want to map out all the cloud services that you use, what you’re using them for, and what they can do.

It’s not uncommon for companies to leave certain aspects of a cloud platform completely underutilized simply because they don’t understand it or didn’t know the platform had a particular feature.

For example, many Microsoft 365 subscribers don’t take advantage of Teams simply because they hadn’t used it before. But once they realize the capabilities, it can often replace two or more other cloud apps.

So, it’s important during this step to do a full listing of the apps your company and employees are using and uncover any unused features.

Survey Your Employees on Cloud Apps

Your users are one of the most important aspects of any cloud services review because they’ll be the ones that the software impacts the most. The right app can improve their productivity and make their jobs easier, while the wrong one can do the opposite.

Ask employees questions such as:

  • Rate the apps you use on a daily basis
  • Which apps do you wish the company used?
  • Are there any features we’re not using in a cloud app that you know of?
  • If you could only choose three company cloud apps to keep, which are they and why?
  • Which apps make your job the hardest and why?
  • What manual tasks do you do because of cloud app limitations?

Formulate an Integrated Cloud Strategy

Your strategy should include the ability to share information and automate processes between cloud apps and give your users a cohesive and streamlined experience.

Companies can typically accomplish this in two ways:

  • Choose cloud apps that can be integrated either natively or through a 3rd party app (like IFTTT); Or
  • Use an “umbrella” platform that includes multiple apps within it (like Microsoft 365)

When strategizing your master cloud strategy, you want to bring together the following elements:

  • What business processes your company needs
  • The data from your user surveys
  • The list of cloud apps you’re currently using
  • Which cloud apps you deem are unnecessary 
  • The aspects of your business that aren’t yet cloud integrated (e.g. phone system)

Decide which applications you want to keep, which can go, and how you’re going to move forward with your integrated strategy – umbrella platform or connecting different apps.

Identify, Trial, Choose New Cloud Applications

Next, you’ll want to identify a list of cloud applications and platforms that fit your cloud strategy. It’s a good idea to do the evaluation in two steps, one being an “on paper” evaluation and the second a “trial” evaluation.

This allows you to initially cast a wider net for potential tools that can streamline your options without being tied up with too many trials that can get confusing for users. 

Evaluate the initial group according to their specifications, looking at their websites and user reviews. Then, the ones that are left in contention can be trialed by users so you can see which is your ultimate choice.

Plan for Orderly Migration & Training

You’ll want to plan a data migration with your IT support professional. This generally will include a phase-in timeline that will both incorporate user training and ensure that there are no issues in your workflows.

An orderly migration to the new cloud tools also means it’s done in a way that doesn’t cause you any unnecessary down time or negatively impact your business operations. 

Upgrade & Migrate Smoothly with Haxxess

A migration to a new cloud platform can mean a big cost savings and productivity boost for your business, but you want to do it right. Haxxess IT experts do this every day and can ensure a smooth and successful migration.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation! Call 705-222-8324 or reach out online.

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