Greater agility, scalability and security along with reduced costs and more robust business continuity. These are among the key reasons why more and more businesses are making the move to the cloud. And those not making the move risk being left behind by competitors, according to John O’Shea, head of business development with Dublin-based technology company BoatyardX.
He compares the cloud to other industry-transforming technological advances which have revolutionised industries in recent years. Mobile phone companies which failed to embrace touchscreen functionality wouldn’t still be in business, for example. The same applies to lighting manufacturers which haven’t moved to LED technology and car manufacturers which don’t include electric vehicles and hybrids in their range.
“Any business with a software element to it must consider migrating to the cloud and becoming cloud-native,” says O’Shea.
The greater agility offered by the cloud means companies are able to react faster to customer demands; the scalability means they ramp capacity up and down without having to invest in expensive additional hardware; the very latest enterprise-class security controls are constantly available; and the headaches associated with maintaining physical on-premise IT infrastructure are taken away.
Costs are also much lower due to the pay-as-you-use nature of cloud resources.
The value of this agility, flexibility and scalability is exemplified by the new wave of disruptors that have revolutionised the banking market in recent years. Their ability to carry out cash transfers instantly is rooted in their use of cloud technology. It matters little to them whether two people or two million are carrying out transactions simultaneously. Their systems scale up automatically to meet demand.
“Banks with legacy technology can’t handle that,” O’Shea points out. “ Their legacy approach to handling high volumes involves batch processing, effectively putting transfers into queueing systems. Customers who have become accustomed to instant transfers with new banks can’t understand why it still takes a day or two with legacy banks, endangering loyalty.”
The business continuity issue has grown in significance since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns and the attendant shift to home working has exposed the shortcomings of the IT model, which saw companies depend on physical servers located in offices. Companies which have switched completely to remote working have found they still have to maintain skeleton crews to maintain their office buildings because of the IT infrastructure housed within them.
In addition, IT staff have to make regular visits to the buildings to carry out care and maintenance duties, including low-value work such as changing backup tapes. The equipment is also exposed to physical risks such as fire and flood as well as being compromised by power outages.
Hardware isn’t the only issue. The software running on it also presents challenges. “We have customers who are telling us that during the lockdown staff had to go into the office to carry out certain accounting processes which just can’t be done remotely with an on-premises solution,” says O’Shea. “Those solutions aren’t fit for purpose anymore.”
Fit for purpose
Moving to the cloud is now effectively essential for any business with software as an element of its product offering. When not deployed from the cloud, every new product instance can take weeks to deploy. Furthermore, every product update, no matter how slight, has to be undertaken individually for each customer. Failure to update can result in outdated products malfunctioning, security vulnerability, soured customer relations and negative consequences for the company’s brand.
Moving to the cloud can ensure that all customers’ systems are updated in real-time, immediately upon an update becoming available.
The cloud will enable SMEs and organisations of every size to use the same technology that has powered social media and ecommerce giants
Organisations migrating to the cloud need to be prepared for an ongoing commitment as this is not a once-off process. “It’s a journey, not a destination,” says O’Shea. “It may involve initially re-writing some code elements and an ongoing commitment to developing new features and constant monitoring. If you have a physical shop you want it to be safe and secure all the time, you want the best possible air conditioning and lighting systems, and you want everything to be well presented. It’s the same in the cloud. It becomes your 24/7 shop front, and you want at least the same standards as you have with a physical store.” With companies reviewing office and physical store presences, many are diverting resources to ensure all aspects of the business are cloud-enabled, to better support staff, customers and suppliers.
BoatyardX supports customers in that journey by providing a multi-disciplinary team of experts which look after all aspects of their cloud presence on a very cost-efficient basis. “We architect, maintain, manage, monitor and upgrade on behalf of customers,” says O’Shea.
“One person can’t do all of that, but you don’t require all of that expertise all the time either. Our teams work for our customers on an as-needed basis. It’s the same as the way cloud capacity flexes up and down with customer requirements. Our customers only pay for the services they use, when they use them.”
That same cost efficiency applies to what he describes as cloud waste. This is where companies are paying for more cloud capacity than they actually need or are paying too high a price for what they do require. BoatyardX ensures its clients only pay for what they need – and at the most competitive prices on the market.
Our customers can be assured of security and scalability from day one
This is part of the company’s principled approach to cloud development and deployment. Completely agnostic when it comes to cloud providers, it allows its customers to switch as needed and to avail of the most cost-effective offers as activity ramps up. BoatyardX is also committed to using open source solutions which are free to acquire with no ongoing licencing fees.
“Our customers can be assured of security and scalability from day one,” O’Shea adds. “We also automate deployment and testing to accommodate ongoing changes. And we reuse every piece of code possible. That accelerates the delivery of new services while reducing cost and complexity.”
The future is bright for organisations which take advantage of the cloud and its capabilities. “As we emerge from Covid-19 and enter properly into the roaring twenties, we are going to see a democratisation of technology,” he predicts.
“The cloud will enable SMEs and organisations of every size to use the same technology that has powered social media and ecommerce giants to drive efficiencies and improvements in their businesses.”
BoatyardX has introduced a new service for organisations large and small seeking technology solutions to current challenges. WorkshopX is an intensive two-hour workshop where BoatyardX’s experts engage with an organisation to define the problem and identify the business process to be transformed, the technology to be modernised or the software product to be developed.
“Within a week of the workshop ending we come back to the organisation with an outline for a solution to the issue as well as options for how it can be designed and built,” says MD Brian Barter. “This is a free service which we are offering to companies which are facing technology challenges but do not have the resources internally to address them.”