December 14, 2016

A cloud strategy for document management

Axel Elvik

Product Manager, Tieto

The cloud promises a myriad of benefits to your business and it has been all the rage for some time now. Everybody know by now that they should move their business to the cloud. Because it's cloud. It’s the future. You don’t want to be left behind do you?

The move to the cloud – how to make it pay off?

There are three main business drivers you need to consider when moving to the cloud.

  1. Quality of service
  2. Cost of service
  3. Business process support and automation of service

The cloud can offer compelling value propositions for all of these drivers. However, there could be good reasons why you should not to move everything to the cloud just yet. What you need is a smart cloud strategy for how to make the move.

For example, when it comes to quality of service one of the benefits with the cloud is that you can leave the job of hosting and managing applications to a professional provider that has this as their core business. But, for this to be a true benefit it assumes the cloud provider is better at hosting than you. That’s not necessarily the case. After all, the cloud is just someone else’s computer. Then there is the cost of service. The rationale here is that the cloud provider has a lower cost base through economy of scale. That’s not necessarily the case either. Lastly, there is business process support and automation of service, or in other words: how the solution is helping people do their jobs. On-premise software often has the benefit of having matured over a long period of time, and in addition being more configurable and customizable than cloud products.

So, for the move to the cloud to pay off, a combination of these three drivers (quality, cost, business process support) needs to sum up to a compelling business case. Depending on the complexity of your business you can decide how to proceed. A company with low complexity can make the transition to the cloud quicker and in fewer steps, but for more complex businesses a smart move to the cloud is done gradually, starting with the areas and products that gives the most bang for the buck.

When creating a business case for moving to the cloud quality and cost are usually the easiest paramaters to calculate the return on investment, while the business process support is the most difficult. So a key question we usually ask ourselves and our customers is: “What can the cloud do to help people do their jobs, that on-premise software cannot”?

Choosing your cloud strategy: Pure cloud or hybrid solutions?

In Tieto, we help people manage their documentation in construction projects. Some of our customers are involved in construction projects where they collaborate with more than 150 suppliers, and handle more than 50.000 business critical documents and drawings. That means a lot of documents flowing back and forth between themselves and their suppliers and clients. When we speak with our customers, this external collaboration is the area in which the users spend the most time struggling with manual and tedious operations to get things done. Usually this is handled through email, ftp servers, file sync and share solutions or giving external users direct access to on-premise software. The problem with these solutions are that they are either expensive, requires certain competence, or require many manual operations for the users, or all of the above. In addition, the user experience for the external users are often poor. With a pure cloud or cloud hybrid set up this is different. You can remove all the complex infrastructure and at the same time reduce the manual operations associated with collaboration with external users. So, a good place to start your transition to the cloud would be with solutions for external collaboration.

If you choose a pure cloud solution you get all the benefits of reduced cost and complexity, together with much easier collaboration with external users. You also get the benefit of frequent updates, no large scale service packs, and a great user experience.

If you choose a hybrid solution and only use cloud for external collaboration, you get the benefits of improved business process support, and you don’t have to trade the rich on-premise functionality for a product with a feature set that is less than what your business need. You can make the full transition when the cloud products are truly on feature/value parity with the on-premise software. This will also give you time to untangle the myriad of integrations you might have with other on-premise applications.

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For an easy way to manage your services in a multi-cloud environment, read more about how Tieto OneCloud can help.

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