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A flexible future: why businesses are moving to cloud-based solutions

The appetite for new strategies

Our research explored the attitudes of over 400 IT decision makers, who were asked to identify whether their business was ‘thriving’ and doing all it could to get ahead, or just ‘surviving’, which meant either stagnating or potentially falling behind. The thrivers reveal markedly different approaches to their business planning and key motivations.

This is particularly obvious in their appetite for new strategies, initiatives and next generation technology. When asked to mark themselves on how well their organisation performed in these areas, thrivers are over twice as likely to rate themselves highly. Likewise, thrivers are significantly more likely to actively value having an ‘appetite for new strategies and initiatives’ in their business. In fact, it’s the second most important trait they feel will help them succeed in the future.

All of this suggests that a willingness to adopt the new is a marker of successful businesses. But while this is good to know, it’s even more interesting to consider what the strategies being implemented actually are.

From working at home to working in the cloud

The actual nature of these strategies varies, but flexibility is a recurring theme. Thrivers identified people management as the business issue they were strongest on, and while this wasn’t covered in the research, it’s safe to presume they could include approaches like embracing the flexible working revolution. This has numerous benefits for staff, including higher productivity, better work-life balance, and greater job satisfaction. Other strategies, like flat organisational hierarchies, are also becoming more common, promising business benefits like cost savings and greater collaboration between staff.

Meanwhile, some new strategies involve the adoption of next-generation technology, like AI or chatbots, which can provide always-on customer service or even the ability to enhance the customer experience through machine learning.

One increasingly popular strategy that was directly identified in Gamma’s research was moving applications to the cloud. Survive + Thrive identified that, in 2017, 17% of businesses hosted all or most of their applications on-premise. In 2018, this has diminished to 12%, with 88% now claiming that most or half of their applications are run on the cloud. And this trend is only expected to continue, as businesses come to embrace the various benefits of cloud-based technology.

The benefits of a cloud future for businesses

There are numerous benefits to moving applications and storage to the cloud. For example, hosted infrastructure leaves organisations free to focus on core business issues, rather than worrying about the management and security of their on-premise solutions.

Cloud-based applications also offer greater flexibility, with new features being rolled out as they’re developed – helping businesses avoid the problems of legacy infrastructure. The cloud also provides scalability, meaning businesses can grow as needed.

It can also be a cost-effective option, as instead of paying for the support and maintenance of internal systems, everything is handled as part of the subscription. Many businesses can benefit from monthly payments, instead of facing the large initial outlays of on-premise solutions. Gamma offers an opex model, for example, meaning businesses only pay for what is used with one monthly fee.

As another advantage, the cloud is a great platform for collaborative working. By facilitating product integration, the cloud can support a Unified Communications strategy, which is increasingly important for thriving businesses. The Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market is expected to hit $28.69 billion by 2021, showing just how significant this will be for businesses.

Ready for a flexible future

With only 2% of businesses still running all of their application on-premise, it’s clear that the cloud is the future – allowing businesses to plan for new innovations, instead of being bogged down in the problems of the past.

Obviously, it’s not possible to predict exactly what strategies will drive business success in the future. But since it is clear that having an appetite for new strategies is a marker of business success, businesses need to pursue new technologies that will allow them to implement these strategies. And that’s precisely the appeal of running applications in the cloud, as this gives organisations the time and flexibility to adapt, evolve and thrive.

Want to explore what other strategies are driving the success of thriving organisations? Download Survive + Thrive: The IT Leaders’ Guide to Digital Acceleration.