Embarking on digitisation a business is frequently likened to preparing for battle: driven by a need to remain competitive, limited by ever-reducing budgets, the road ahead seems to be strewn with hurdles, not opportunities. For many, the first hurdle is called "cloud computing", and even this initial hurdle can be difficult to overcome. In reality, the cloud should not be considered a hurdle, but a digital "enabler". Approached correctly, it doesn't require any resources – it actually frees them up! It makes room for new innovations and catalyses increases in efficiency. In order to benefit disruptively from the cloud's potential, it is vital for the entire company to start thinking differently.
Cloud computing affects every area of the business
According to a Bitkom Research report commissioned by KPMG(link is external), businesses are becoming increasingly open to embracing the cloud. Back in 2011, only 28 percent stated an interest in it. Just four years later, this had increased to 44 percent. At the same time, one in three businesses remained critical, even negative, about the benefits of cloud services. Why? The answer may be found partly in the typical cautious, risk averse attitude of the European, but the most important reason is simply lack of understanding. At the management level, digitisation has not yet been established as a strategic asset; instead, it is often considered to be the exclusive domain of the IT department. The management and every single department need to be got on board if a strategic approach is to be taken to changing the system. The following suggestions will help with this process:
- An integrated approach to digitisation is vital: It is not simply a case of acquiring a networked printer or some new software. The target is not a single new gimmick; the target is more efficient business processes, reduced employee overheads and reduced costs – things which can only be achieved with a truly integrated business cloud solution.
- The will to drive transformation: A thirst for change within the business must be first stimulated and then continually fed if digitisation is to develop to its full potential. Digitisation should be seen as a tool that is absolutely central to driving innovation within the business. Only the management can initiate and drive this process.
- Careful planning is imperative: The first step for any cloud project is to evaluate its business-relevant, resource-intensive and frequently-used applications.
- Every interest must be incorporated: The cloud and digitisation reach significantly beyond the IT department. Right from the initial planning stages, every single department and interest needs to be brought on board.
- Choose reliable solutions: There are business clouds that meet the most stringent requirements in terms of security, compliance, transparency and controls while still guaranteeing maximum agility. Many companies have not yet understood that there is no need to adapt themselves in order to migrate into the cloud; the cloud can be integrated perfectly into the company's existing IT landscape.
- Keep the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in mind: Following the introduction of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation, it will be possible to impose fines of up to four percent of the business's global annual turnover or 20 million euro. This regulation comes into force in May 2018. Businesses should therefore be choosing cloud solutions now which have security, transparency and compliance built in from the beginning, and which are certified to audit-proof archive trade and taxation-related records. In most cases, a programmed or "cloudified" solution – that is, in-house software converted into a cloud solution – cannot fulfil these new, stricter requirements.
In fact, it is often the IT department who raise the most concerns during initial discussions, but then profit the most from taking the step to a cloud-based solution. Once freed from their support role and no longer tasked with ensuring meeting compliance requirements, their resources suddenly become available for new tasks, for innovation. In addition, a solution such as the Fabasoft Cloud offers complete integration with Microsoft Office Online and already supports the new General Data Protection Regulation. Built on 28 years of experience managing documents and business processes, the Fabasoft Cloud stands out for the numerous features and interfaces provided as standard. Individual customisation facilities also mean that the customer can rapidly implement solutions integrated into an existing IT infrastructure, which gives real added value.
Solutions like the Fabasoft Cloud do not present businesses with yet another hurdle to overcome. Instead, accelerated processes, reduced overheads and secure fulfilment of all necessary requirements put the business – almost instantly – into a strong position to take future challenges in its stride.