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Planning is crucial to cloud deployments

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The business world is increasingly being incorporated into the cloud, largely because the technology is expanding at such a rapid rate that executives are quickly becoming familiar with the hosted service and the potential benefits associated with using it. While the cloud was originally labeled as an external storage environment, this is not the tool's sole capability. In fact, the cloud-based or hosted PBX system is among the fastest growing solutions used in today's private sector.

Although the operational and financial benefits of leveraging the cloud is encouraging companies of all sizes to embrace the technology, many decision-makers are finding the transition to the service more difficult than expected. This was highlighted in a recent study of more than 650 business and IT leaders by KPMG, which found that about one-third of respondents said they experienced implementation challenges when migrating to the cloud.

Nevertheless, more than half of companies are using the cloud, KPMG reported. This suggests that taking the right approach to the cloud can make all the difference.

The initial stages before deployment

KPMG found that the biggest obstacle many businesses face is that decision-makers focus too much on the technology associated with the cloud. Rather than thinking only about the IT specs, executives need to consider how the cloud will align with overall business goals. If a company decides to replace an old phone system with a cloud-based offering, for example, managers need to understand how the transformation will meet long-term corporate requirements.

"One of the most important lessons uncovered by this research is that business process redesign needs to be done in tandem with cloud adoption, if organizations hope to achieve the full potential of their cloud investments," said Rick Wright, partner with KPMG LLP. "Simply put, executives have found that simultaneous process redesign is central to addressing the complexities that often arise in the implementation and operational phases of cloud adoption."

By taking the time to understand a firm's current and long-term business strategies, decision-makers will more likely meet success by launching cloud solutions that align with internal goals. This will be increasingly important in the coming years as more businesses adopt the cloud to stay relevant, forcing executives to have different priorities to differentiate themselves.

Why even use the cloud?

Decision-makers are probably thinking that it might not even be worth implementing the cloud if they may encounter significant implementation problems. This mentality could be deadly, however, as neglecting the cloud will impair a firm's chances to stay relevant in the long run.

Additionally, the cloud offers a number of unique benefits that usually align with core priorities for the organization. In the past, executives viewed the cloud as the next great money-saver. While this is still an option for many companies, KPMG revealed that businesses are seeing past the finances and recognizing the cloud for its real abilities: providing flexible operating models, speeding up time to market and improving overall operations.

A separate report by a major telecommunications provider said the flexibility associated with a cloud PBX system is often among the top reasons for adopting the solution in the first place. Because a hosted service can support a growing remote workforce without jeopardizing connectivity or call quality, the technology can help organizations expand without encountering performance issues.

By planning cloud projects in advance, enterprises and small businesses can make the transition to cloud seamlessly and without problems, allowing them to experience the true benefits of the cloud.