Companies are moving to the cloud at an incredibly rapid pace. While cloud applications are not completely new, the growth of integrated cloud services and emerging technologies are making it clear to most businesses that without a cloud plan, they risk being left significantly behind their competition.
Most companies in the U.S. have at least one business application in the cloud such as their corporate email, ERP or CRM system. However, most still have a technology stack that isn’t integrated, has legacy components and inhibits leaders from having a clear picture of what’s truly going on in the business. The accelerated move to cloud based technologies is a more recent development and the reasons for this are diverse and numerous.
Socius, a business technology and consulting company, has found that the three most common reasons over the last year are consolidation of systems for operational efficiencies, improved scalability and an improved customer experience. They have delivered over 3,000 implementations of both cloud and on-premise solutions and see this shift first hand.
C.A. Short, a provider of employee engagement solutions was struggling to keep up with infrastructure needs, customer expectations and upgrades of many disconnected systems. “We needed to make a shift in our business model,” stated Jeff Ross, President of C.A. Short. With Socius’ guidance, their first priority was to redesign their core infrastructure moving key line of business applications to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. With this transition, they were able to eliminate aging hardware, remove legacy systems, reduce IT administrative burden and take advantage of a set of integrated applications including Microsoft Dynamics 365, Office 365 and Power BI. This provided operational efficiencies and increased capabilities including new approaches for viewing and analyzing large amounts of disparate data. “Since migrating to the Microsoft Cloud, our business has seen a substantial opportunity to grow,” expressed Ross.
Gorilla Glue, another Socius client and a name familiar to most, needed to ensure their business was prepared for rapid growth. They needed a platform and business systems that could scale and keep up with growing sales. Socius worked with the company to provide a scalable ERP and CRM platform to drive substantial efficiencies in their manufacturing and distribution operations.
Cloud systems are also enabling companies to improve the customer experience. HBC-radiomatic is a global leader in the development and production of high-quality radio systems for the wireless control of equipment such as cranes and vehicle technology. Accurate and real-time customer and transaction data is essential to HBC so they can provide rapid support to their customers who often operate in challenging environments and time-critical situations. Last year, Jeff Allan, CEO of HBC-radiomatic’s North American headquarters realized that moving their Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform from on-premise to the cloud would provide a combination of IT cost savings, increased employee productivity and the ability to improve customer satisfaction. “We’ve had a great experience with Socius in developing our long-term cloud and CRM roadmap and then helping us execute the move to the cloud in a timely, cost effective manner,” stated Allan.
“There’s a big shift occurring in IT departments. With recent technology advancements, especially the cloud, the IT department is moving away from being a cost center to contributing to productivity,” says Rob Urbanowicz, practice director, Dynamics 365 at Socius. “Today’s technology enables a multi-million-dollar company to leverage the same capabilities as a billion-dollar business. This directly helps them compete.”
“Businesses no longer need a large group of IT professionals simply managing servers and basic infrastructure. They’re moving operations to the cloud, while at the same time, IT teams are transitioning into a more strategic role that supports their business with critical data and core business needs,” Urbanowicz says.
“Technology is now one of the main drivers in a company’s ability to differentiate themselves from their competitors. It’s giving them tools to deliver a substantially better client experience and it’s enabling companies to make operational changes to their key processes, their supply chain and their distribution management. These have a huge, positive impact on delivering throughput and growth. And, it’s happening very fast,” says Jeff Andrews, marketing director at Socius.
Socius is beginning to see movement to the cloud for a new and, perhaps, surprising reason. They state many are making the move to be ready for what industry experts say will be one of the biggest technological impacts on business in decades—artificial intelligence including machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Companies are realizing that much of what’s coming around machine learning and IoT will only be accessible if their applications that will leverage these technologies are in the cloud. Intelligent ERP and predictive servicing have strong possibilities,” adds Urbanowicz.
Socius has begun building its own IoT solutions for specific client needs. One example is leveraging an IoT enabled monitoring device placed throughout large greenhouses which can monitor light, humidity and temperature. Not only can this information be presented through dashboards on any mobile device, but the data can be integrated to a company’s ERP system to impact demand forecasts, automate distribution processes and reduce manual work.
In August, Socius earned the Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform MPN competency. With this latest accomplishment, Socius is now Gold certified in all three of their Microsoft competencies—Cloud Platform, ERP and CRM. Socius provides public, private and hybrid hosting environments, many built on the Microsoft Azure platform. In addition, Socius provides ERP, CRM, cloud and business intelligence solutions from Microsoft, NetSuite, Sage and others and offers Office 365 licensing, implementation and adoption services.
Original article publication can be accessed here.