Two technology megatrends — cloud and mobile — are colliding. This collision enables access to enterprise applications from any device or location, and it’s changing the way buyers and businesses interact in every industry.
- Gartner Research says the worldwide public cloud services market is growing at a rate of 16.5 percent and will reach $204 billion in 2016. Gartner expects this growth to continue and says it reflects a shift away from legacy IT services to cloud-based services.
- At the same time, cloud computing has become a powerful force in the mobile world. According to a recent roundup of analyst cloud predictions published in Forbes, “Cloud apps will account for 90 percent of worldwide mobile data traffic by 2019.” With 7.9 billion connected mobile devices today, it’s astonishing to consider the sheer number of users cloud technology can reach.
- Nucleus Research found that cloud application projects deliver 2.1 times the ROI of on-premise ones — up 24 percent since 2012.
Across all industries, businesses are seeing the benefits of moving to the cloud and adopting mobile technologies. The professional services industry is no exception.
A Force for Business Transformation and Growth
According to Neil Davidson, Deltek’s VP of Enterprise, the cloud is enabling seismic business transformation in professional services:
“Transformation is essential in today’s business environment, but in no industry is it as pronounced as within the professional services sector . . . [the question] shouldn’t be whether companies should move to the cloud, but when and how a cloud solution will support business transformation and growth”.
Both IDC and Gartner report that a significant portion of professional services firms have already transitioned their infrastructure and ERP applications to the cloud, with the rest indicating the desire to do so.
What is driving this momentum? What benefits does cloud technology bring to professional services organizations? Here are five:
1. Anytime, Anywhere Access
With the cloud, your users can access company data without being tied to a specific location or internet device. This is particularly beneficial for professional services organizations that have a high percentage of mobile workers operating remotely or from client sites. Now your employees can instantly access information and enter time on the spot, which boosts your firm’s productivity and efficiency. The cloud also makes it easy to share information securely with partners and clients to accelerate project delivery.
2. Modern, World-Class Technology
With the cloud, professional services firms can take full advantage of the latest technology. Cloud platforms are (almost) always available and always up-to-date. No more antiquated systems or having to worry about installation, updates, backups, and failover plans. Thanks to the outsourced maintenance of the cloud, you can be confident that you’re using the latest enterprise software even if you don’t have your own IT staff. As your team grows, you can easily add users and features or negotiate a new pricing tier, when necessary.
3. Reduced Operational Complexity
With the war for talent in full swing, many professional services firms are concerned that they lack the IT resources necessary to support growth. Having to replace an SQL server expert, scrambling to bring a server back up, or trying to recover lost data are just a few of the headaches organizations deal with when managing their own infrastructure. The cloud helps you scale your business without many of these concerns. Since the solution you use to manage operations is already running in the cloud, there is no lead time to worry about during personnel changes. Regardless of your business goals or how they may change, the cloud is there to support you.
4. Risk Management and Compliance
A misconception still exists among some companies that their data is less secure in the cloud. In reality, the opposite is true. Companies hosting and managing their own applications are generally more vulnerable to data loss, data breaches, viruses, identity theft, and business interruptions. Maintaining the level of compliance, security, and availability that the cloud provides is too costly for most firms to do themselves.
Cloud software providers have teams of experts dedicated to maintaining their product, ensuring its availability, and protecting it from malware and cyber attacks. Cloud providers keep their specialists up-to date on required certifications, SOC Compliance, and the latest security protocols. They are also subject to audit by third party organizations to ensure transparency and compliance. Unlike an internal IT department that may get bogged down with spikes in workload, a cloud provider is bound by a service level agreement (SLA) and obligated to provide you a specific level of performance and quality, no matter what.
5. Lower Costs, More Accurate Budgeting
By now, most companies realize the upfront cost of a cloud solution is far less expensive than purchasing a traditional on-premise solution. With the cloud, organizations avoid steep implementation and licensing fees, and there is no need to provision servers or hire IT resources to maintain them. From a balance sheet perspective, moving to the cloud allows you to account for these fees as an operating expense rather than a capital expense. This will help you free up working capital and maintain a better cash flow. One transparent subscription fee eliminates the hidden costs associated with owning an on-premise system, enables more accurate budgeting, and lets you scale usage as required.
What Are You Waiting For?
Moving to the cloud can offer your firm substantial savings, business speed and flexibility, and access to new technologies and ways of working. Once you’ve made the decision, it’s important to choose a cloud provider as you would a trusted business partner. Professional services firms should choose a cloud provider that understands their industry and service business models.
Brian Lamee is the senior director of product marketing at Deltek, a leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for government contractors, professional services firms and other project-based businesses.
This article was republished with permission from Deltek. To view the original, click here.