How to enable your team to do more in the cloud

by | Jan 15, 2023 | Business, Microsoft

Today’s evolving workforce expects mobility, flexibility, and modern technology that unchains them from VPNs, on-premises servers, and bloated software. If there’s one technology that allows companies to provide these benefits without adding unnecessary complexity, it’s the cloud. 

Cloud adoption has been growing exponentially for years. Those who haven’t yet transitioned away from their on-premises servers have at least thought about it and maybe even decided to switch, but haven’t yet made any tangible progress. 

So let’s talk about how companies can unleash productivity and become more resilient by moving to the cloud, as well as discuss a few first steps that will set them on the right path. 

What does it mean to do more in the cloud? 

It’s likely that you have already adopted some cloud-based technologies in your company because they are more flexible and easy to use. For example:

  • It’s much more productive to collaborate on the same Excel spreadsheet online than send copies back and forth
  • Sending messages in Microsoft Teams takes a fraction of the time that your email inbox consumes
  • Being able to access the same version of any document in OneDrive is better than dealing with a web of local copies spread out across your on-premises server and local computers

Sounds great, doesn’t it? So here are a few ideas for how to make your own cloud transition as seamless and successful as possible.

1. Understand why embracing the cloud works for you

Even though the benefits of the cloud are multifold, every company must create its own motivation for migrating their work. 

For some companies, moving to the cloud will streamline expenses. They won’t have to plan for costly server updates as their company grows — instead, they will be able to increase their costs incrementally, on a per-person basis. 

Maintaining servers and local software can also be very resource-consuming, especially for smaller teams. 

More importantly, moving to the cloud can improve workflows, increase productivity, and make employees more satisfied with their new flexible location and device-independent environment.  

2. Trust your team

Lack of confidence is one of the most common reasons for stalling cloud migration projects. Quite often, leadership doesn’t believe that employees can switch their workflow and adapt to new tools. 

The best thing that companies can do is invest in training their employees even before they start using new software. Remaining skeptical and maintaining the status quo never leads to productivity breakthroughs — you have to be proactive to change something for the better.

Trusting your team and getting them proper training is what produces the best results. 

3. Commit

Cloud migration isn’t about dumping files into a new storage space overnight — that simply wouldn’t bring any positive change. 

Once you decide to migrate to the cloud, you have to have a roadmap and an appropriate transition plan that might take months (or even years). You have to commit to stay on track, prioritize, and improve your systems one step at a time. 

Where should you start with a cloud migration?

If only you started a few years ago, you could’ve already been reaping the benefits of everything that cloud technology has to offer. But your second best option is to start today. 

Here are three steps you can take to get started.

1. Adopt cloud-based email, OneDrive, and MFA

There are a few cloud-based applications and security practices that don’t require lots of planning and that you can start with right away.

Moving your email to the cloud, using a service like Exchange Online, frees you from the cost and complexity of hosting such a basic but critical service in-house. Why host your own email when Microsoft can eliminate the risk of downtime due to power or internet outages in your office? 

Similarly, centralizing files storage in the cloud with OneDrive/SharePoint helps streamline file management and makes your files easily accessible from anywhere. 

As for security, you should be using MFA (multi-factor authentication) to secure access to your cloud-based services. 

2. Schedule software training early

Training is the best investment in your team’s productivity, but don’t wait until the whole company migrates to the cloud to start. Plan a training schedule that will gradually prepare everyone to be as effective as possible with new tools, which will make the transition as smooth as it can be.

At Smart Dolphins, we offer free weekly webinars going over tips, tricks, and how-tos for the most popular cloud-based tools. You can start there and reach out if you need more specific, custom training.

3. Contact your line of business (LOB) vendors

In making your cloud migration roadmap, it’s important to identify which software that you regularly use already exists in the cloud and which doesn’t. Get in touch with your LOB vendors and see how they can support your gameplan of moving to the cloud.

More importantly, during the initial phases of cloud migration, it’s critical to find the right IT partner who will support and guide you through the process. 

At Smart Dolphins, we meet companies who are pondering cloud migration all the time, and we have developed processes to make those migrations comprehensive, quick, and easy to adopt for the whole team. Just reach out and we’ll be happy to give you directional guidance and explore how you might benefit from engaging us further in the cloud migration process.