Downtime the ideal time to migrate to cloud

Forward-thinking South African organisations are using the slow business due to lockdown as an opportunity to future-proof their businesses.
Read time 4min 20sec

If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught South African businesses, it’s that the cloud is the answer to ensuring business continuity and handling a suddenly-remote workforce.

Even though cloud computing has been available for many years, there have been large enterprises, mid-sized organisations and even small businesses that were hesitant about migrating to the cloud.

Initially, they cited concerns about cost, data sovereignty and security.

Once the cloud had matured to a point at which its security, availability and costs were like for like with on-premises systems, some organisations remained slow to move, focusing on other priorities.

When the pandemic struck, cloud-enabled businesses were able to decentralise, scale and manage their operations quickly and seamlessly through the disruption.

Within weeks, those who had been slow to move to cloud realised the lockdown was the start of the new normal. They assessed their long-term capabilities to support a remote workforce and control costs, and realised they were not in a healthy position.

All indications are that the local market, having been forced to decentralise the workforce, now realises that the cloud model not only works – it can also be very cost-effective.

Companies able to operate in this new environment are settling into these new operational models, allowing their workforces to work predominantly from home, and so eliminating the need for large office spaces and other infrastructure costs. This then leads to companies looking at how they can save further by shifting away from large hardware deployments to a more scalable, cloud model.

Those who had been on the fence about moving to the cloud are now starting to see its benefits. We are now seeing businesses from sectors that were not traditionally quick to embrace technology – including manufacturing and tourism – looking to move to cloud.

Moving to cloud eliminates redundancy and susceptibility to outages and disruptions.

Having seen the business continuity advantages of cloud computing, they are now starting to see the advantages it offers in terms of scaling up or down as needed, with an opex cost rather than a capex cost.

These sectors, currently slowed down due to the pandemic and often forced to enable cloud for their remote workers, have seized the opportunity to future-proof their operations, build in business continuity, and lower overall costs by migrating some – or all – of their operations to the cloud.

Why should all businesses start making the move?

Cloud is proven. Cloud is no longer a thing of the future, it has been around for many years, and has gone through many trials and tests to ensure it is robust, safe and cost-effective. It is the here and now. Most local companies, large and small, have embarked on some sort of journey to the cloud. Some have failed, and some have succeeded beyond their expectations.

Cloud is cost-effective. Moving to the cloud saves the upfront cost of purchasing, managing and upgrading on-premises IT systems, and eliminates hidden costs such as office space rental and electricity. As we find ourselves wading through uncertain times, companies have found themselves in new territory. Those able to operate have found new ways to do so, allowing their workforce to work predominantly from home, eliminating the need for large office spaces and other infrastructure costs. This then leads to companies looking at how they can save further by shifting away from large hardware deployments to a more scalable, cloud model.

Cloud is scalable. Because capacity is scaled up and down as needed, there is no wasted infrastructure: all the capacity necessary is still available during peak demand times. For budget-constrained businesses, this can offer significant cost savings.

Cloud is resilient. Moving to cloud eliminates redundancy and susceptibility to outages and disruptions. It supports business continuity and keeps systems and data highly available to employees wherever they are.

Cloud optimises resources. Cloud migration frees up IT resources for leaner management and improved cost control. Because cloud is not an ‘all or nothing’ environment, organisations can build the cloud environment that suits their in-house infrastructure and skills resources. For large traditional enterprises, this might mean a private or hybrid cloud environment. For SMEs with very limited IT skills resources, it could mean a complete migration to cloud.

With the decentralised workforce and pared down offices likely to become the de facto way of doing business in many sectors in future, now is the time to future-proof the business and support business continuity by moving to the cloud. But with a plethora of options available, businesses are often confused about which models, solutions and services to adopt, which systems and applications to move, and how to manage this new environment.

Chris Pallikarides

General manager, ITBusiness, a company in the KID Group.

Despite a school aptitude test predicting he would be best suited to the world of IT, Pallikarides studied his LLB at UNISA and started his articles before finally embarking on his career in IT.

He began his IT career 15 years ago at the IT ‘coalface’ – working at the IT helpdesk of Lancet Laboratories. He then focused on sales and business development, working at Med-e-Mass and a technology reseller.

As business development manager in the IBM Software Business Unit at AxizWorkgroup, Pallikarides gained valuable experience helping clients to design solutions that rested heavily on security and data management; at the same time honing his business development, sales management and strategic business skills.

Having gained experienced in solution development across diverse fields, including healthcare, banking, finance and retail, he was appointed as GM of ITBusiness in 2019.

Tasked with growing the firm into the next-generation solutions space, Pallikarides draws on his legal background and expertise in data and solution design to take ITBusiness into its next phase of growth. 

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