Microsoft’s Azure cloud IT solutions have been seeing more adoption by businesses over the last few years.
The uptick in this adoption is consistent with increased implementation of digital transformation strategies by organizations all across the world—particularly cloud services.
All of these organizations have one thing in common: they want to improve their business agility and become stronger competitors in their field.
What Is Business Agility?
Business agility primarily comes down to a select few attributes that every modern company should aspire to have:
- The ability to adapt and respond rapidly to market changes
- The opportunity to innovate and disrupt your internal processes effectively
- A culture that is receptive to change, and new ideas and processes
Of course, all of these things are vital to a business in times of crisis. They don’t have the luxury of being able to foresee events before they occur, and that is why so many organizations want to be agile.
Business agility in essence means overcoming obstacles that will come, whether you like it or not.
The Cloud Market
AWS, Amazon’s cloud offering, has been—and remains—the leader of the pack, with almost a third of total market share.
Others; however, like Azure, Google Cloud and Alibaba Cloud, are catching up, and Amazon’s grip on the cloud IT solutions market is slipping, slowly but surely—the corporation actually lost a percentage point on its market share over 2019.
Azure, meanwhile, is continuing to make gains year over year, being the fastest-growing cloud platform for a number of years, now.
Its share of the market jumped from 14.9% in Q4 2018 to 17.6% in Q4 2019, and that figure will likely increase if its current trajectory continues.
As something of a rising star, let’s take a look at how Azure cloud IT solutions can provide business agility to an SMB.
One of the crucial indicators of whether a business is truly agile is the extent of their oversight of all the systems, workflows and processes within the organization.
Many companies that want to adopt cloud services are looking to help alleviate their existing old, clunky and outdated methods.
These typically come in the form of legacy systems; old, disparate applications that no longer provide a business with the processes necessary for a modern SMB.
This is primarily because legacy systems tend to exist only in one department and can often be inaccessible to others—leading to differing processes between departments and, eventually, data silos.
Implementing Azure cloud services brings all your systems and applications together, accessible by anyone with the right credentials across the company.
The end result of this is that you can effectively unify data and processes within your business, allowing for more collaboration and an organization that works together.
No longer will the IT department be on a different page to marketing, and marketing to sales, and so on.
Of businesses that adopt the cloud, 87% of them report business growth from their cloud use. 41% of businesses are able to directly attribute business growth to their use of cloud services
The success of your business agility depends on your ability to figure out processes that can be improved and implement those improvements as quickly as possible.
Big data is another factor that has gained prominence over the last few years which is directly involved in providing agility.
The crux of it is that there’s more data in the world (and in businesses) than ever before, and it increases exponentially every year.
SMBs have more data at their disposal than they’ve ever had, and whoever can utilize this data to improve their processes has an enormous competitive edge.
Using Azure cloud services not only brings together your systems, but it kills two birds with one stone insofar that you’re also uniting all the data in your business under one platform, as opposed to several different software applications.
You can then analyze this data using business intelligence (BI) services and make the necessary changes based on actionable data.
There could be a simple issue in customer service that’s costing you money and your staff time, but you don’t know it’s there until you have the ability to properly assess the data.
Only 40% of successful organizations make decisions based on gut feeling. For less successful enterprises, this figure jumps to 70%
The takeaway here is that cloud services give you the ability to use your untapped data and make the active changes you need to become more agile.
Digital transformation has traditionally been an expensive endeavor for businesses.
Whether it’s buying a set of on-premise servers or installing brand new software, disruption of this kind is always going to be a challenge.
Many SMBs that have become accustomed to this face a supposedly frustrating conundrum: they have to evolve their business technology to remain competitive but don’t want to break the bank in order to do so.
This is where cloud services really come into their own.
They are scalable, meaning in essence that you only have to pay for what you absolutely need.
If you had a bad year and need to scale back some of your services, no problem.
If you’ve had a great year and need to add to your existing technology stack, that’s no problem either.
Investment in cloud solutions—SaaS solutions being the main beneficiary (48% of cloud spending)—means nearly a third of all IT spending goes towards cloud products of one kind or another
The scalability of the cloud is one of the many reasons it’s so conducive to an agile business—you can get what you want, when you want it.
This is one of the reasons we at Impact favor an implementation of digital technology over a long period of time—it gives you the opportunity to take the most pragmatic approach possible to become agile.
Related Post: How to Prepare Your Company for Success With Digital Transformation
Stable and Secure
When the worst happens, you want a business that is well-placed to respond.
Unfortunately, cyberattacks are increasing in frequency, especially among SMBs.
In times of great consternation, the danger of being attacked is even worse, as criminals prey on people’s fears and anxieties to exploit them.
All of this means that businesses have to be prepared for when a cyberattack occurs.
93% of companies without a disaster recovery plan who suffer a major data disaster are out of business within one year
Put simply, it’s extremely important for a modern organization’s business agility to have a stable and secure cloud infrastructure setup.
Azure cloud services provide opportunities for a strong disaster recovery and business continuity plan, with servers that provide 99.995% uptime—meaning an average of 24 minutes downtime per year—and quick recoveries of data should a breach take place.
Using a provider that provides these services is crucial for an SMB’s agility.
- Business agility means having the ability to maneuver effectively to market changes, using decisions based on actionable data.
- The market for cloud services has increased enormously in recent years, largely driven by SMBs looking to achieve business agility.
- Cloud services help organize and centralize business data, allowing for more cohesion of company data and a more collaborative approach.