Great - you've decided it's time to take your NZ business to the cloud! Before taking the leap, it's important to assess the systems and processes you already have in place, as well as a number of other factors, to make your migration to cloud as successful as possible.
For NZ businesses moving to the cloud, there are several things you need to consider:
1) What do you really need?
It's essential you reassess the processes you have in place for your current systems. Ask yourself, "what was the purpose of this and do we really need it going forward?" Often organisations do things simply out of habit, and re-evaluation will help you shed the processes that aren't necessary.
"What we find is that businesses try to exactly replicate their old accounting systems in the cloud and it doesn't work," says Adam Davy, Advisory National Leader at BDO New Zealand. "Rather than force your old systems on the cloud, evaluate what is important, and then use the cloud to meet those essential requirements."
Assess your business processes and decide which ones you really need.
2) Understand your data
Cloud providers often have more security features than anything you could do in-house.
In the digital age, it's possible to gather huge amounts of data without really realising it. Think about all that customer information you've collected over social media and email, for example. Businesses need to work out exactly how much data they have, what it is and how critical it is.
Don't assume that your most critical data (without which your business wouldn't be able to function) is going to be safer on-site than in the cloud. Most cloud providers invest in a broad range of security features that you might not necessarily be able to afford for your own servers. Things like end-to-end encryption and two factor authentication, as well as frequent patches for bugs or cyber threats, aren't always available to small businesses, while the ability to set permissions on the cloud also goes a long way in securing your most essential information.
3) Think about what you want to integrate
Do you have a customer relationship management platform or point of sale system? It's possible to integrate platforms like these into the cloud, so it's worth assessing all of your other systems to see what you can connect. You might want to migrate everything into the cloud in one go, or do it more gradually. There are pros and cons to both strategies, and there's no one size fits all migration plan, so it's up to you to assess what will be best for your business.
Understanding the precise nature of the data you hold is essential when deciding what to move to the cloud.
4) Remember the end users
Don't forget about your employees, the people who are going to be using the cloud on a daily basis. Get their feedback about what they might want from the cloud, and ensure you're training them well before you actually migrate to minimise confusion. Remember people are often resistant to change, so it's important to educate them on exactly why you're moving to the cloud and how it will benefit them if you want genuine employee buy in.
5) Consider hiring an adviser
"Migration times often depend on the systems you have in place and the structure of your data, but if the information is clean migration can be a breeze," explains Adam. "At BDO, we have a number of staff who are qualified to not only assist with the migration of data, but also in advising of best practice solutions for using the cloud."
We've also created BDODrive. Bringing together our full range of business advisory services, we want to help assess exactly where your organisation is at today, in order to help you make better decisions about the future.
Through BDODrive, we can also help you assess your current systems and processes to identify the ones that will benefit most from moving to cloud. Reach out today for more information.