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5 things to consider in a provider when moving your small business over to the cloud | OnPoint ONE
By February 22, 2021 Uncategorized

Change to Microsoft Office 365 easily and efficiently with the right IT partner. 

It’s no secret that cloud computing systems like Microsoft Office 365 are popular, especially as a result of the increased need for remote working. In 2020 alone, Microsoft saw growth by 21%, hitting 258 million total users for the online version of MS Office1.   

Office 365 has also proven itself as a flexible cloud platform that can be used by any business size in any industry, with 61% of the total Office 365 user base being small businesses2. Microsoft supports small businesses by offering flexible pricing and plans for SaaS (software as a service) and cloud storage.  

Of all businesses using Microsoft Office 365 — 61% are small businesses 2.

While there are many articles and studies that outline the benefits of cloud computing, from its efficiency to cost-effectiveness, actually going about making this transition is the most difficult step to take.  

How do you know that you’re picking the right IT partners for making the leap into the cloud? Here are a few points you should take into consideration:  

1 – Proven Cloud Implementation Experience  

Whenever you outsource services for your business, you want the best for your money and you want the most experienced.  

As much as certifications in Microsoft 365 are a good start to telling if the IT technician knows their way around the system, this raw knowledge doesn’t necessarily translate to experience in moving a company over to the cloud. This is especially true if you work in a specialized industry and deal with confidential and sensitive customer data.  
 
Hiring an experienced IT team to move your business over to the cloud will not only save you and your employees headaches and require less involvement from your side, but it will also take less time.  With more experience comes greater foresight, which means better planning and an easier system for your staff to use. And in business, time is money. 

You’ll receive a higher level of professionalism and have more confidence throughout the transition, as well as greater efficiency in the process. For example, OnPoint ONE has implemented cloud solutions in several small businesses such as; the Vancouver Foundation, Columbia Integrated Health, numerous construction/trades companies, and CPA accounting firms. In other words, OnPoint ONE has worked with all types of businesses.  

2 – Flexibility from your Tech Specialists    

Making changes in how your company operates day-to-day should never be looked at as a one-solution-fits-all IT task. Big changes, such as where your data is stored and what programs your employees will use on a daily basis, is not something that should be taken lightly.  
 
It’s important to find IT technicians that will be able to assess your situation, make recommendations, and then act to better your business. A solid IT firm should be able to accommodate your existing business processes and workflows and shouldn’t require you to radically change the way you work (unless that’s what you want to do).   

When Columbia Integrated Health came to OnPoint ONE, an IT assessment resulted in a cloud integration recommendation. Their main work-stations, which were used for daily tasks from billing to client booking, were running on an in-house server and waiting for a data security mishap. OnPoint ONE was able to swiftly make the change from this unreliable in-house server, to a SaaS solution through our cloud strategy and integration services.  

To achieve the best solution for your business, it’s important for the technicians to understand your business goals and what you want to get out of the cloud. Finding an implementer that can assess your situation objectively and identify what will work best for your business can make a big difference in the long run. 

In addition to this, finding an IT team that communicates well and frequently with your business is just as important. Nobody wants a robot coming into their business and telling them what’s right from wrong. As a small business ourselves, OnPoint ONE understands that communication is key when it comes to having an outsider handling your business systems. 

3 – Keeping the cloud transition simple 

Transitioning to cloud computing has never been a smarter business move than it is today.  

In the past year, Covid-19 has driven businesses of all sizes to implement remote working business models, and this is why Microsoft Office 365 has seen such immense growth. This new normal has made it very clear what the benefits of cloud computing are, especially to small businesses.  

Moving your data over to the cloud doesn’t need to be a goal that takes years to complete. Find a cloud implementer that can understand your industry’s unique problems and quickly find solutions that keep your business moving forward with minimal ramp up time. Cloud implementation can usually be completed within a few days, or over a weekend when business may be slower. 

To save time, look for a cloud implementer that uses an agile approach and can provide your business with an assessment, recommendation, and a cloud implementation plan in a timely manner. As a small business, you don’t want to deal with slow IT service companies that have long wait-times, multiple-stages of diagnoses and complex quotes.  

4 – Systems and Application Continuity with Microsoft 365  

“Digital transformation” and “innovation” are just two of the buzzwords that float around in today’s business landscape. When it comes to adopting cloud computing, you don’t want to completely abandon the systems and habits that have kept you and your business going for this long. Moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be a complete technological revolution.   

The good news is, making the change from using your everyday programs to the cloud versions of Microsoft 365 can be an easy transition. 

Programs like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are just a few of the popular applications that so many of us have incorporated into our everyday working lives. While the days of using them as isolated programs on your desktop are in the past, Microsoft 365 allows them to become a fully functional digital ecosystem. Every document is automatically saved to the SharePoint drive so you won’t lose your edits, while you can also easily share and collaborate with team members.  

By implementing Microsoft 365, you’re both transitioning to a system that has been proven to be cost effective, while keeping the same applications your business has been using (but with greater efficiency and easier collaboration among team members).   

5 – Availability for the Long Run

It’s important to have a company that you can go back to for help when technical issues come up. Especially for small businesses who don’t often have the technical resources in-house to resolve common issues such as adding new employees, lost settings and software glitches.  

Continuing to receive support afterwards can be a life-saver for your business in the long-run.  

When a company in the construction and trades industry needed help, their goal was to move from using Microsoft OneDrive and the GoDaddy email platform as isolated systems to a simplified solution in the cloud, using Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook. Once this was completed, they realized they still needed technical support for things such as adjusting cloud permissions, setting up new users and continuing to reap the benefits of using the cloud.  

In other words, changing the way your business functions to keep up with the technological innovations of today should never be a roadblock to your success.  

Conclusion

There is no shortage of benefits to making the transition to the cloud and with Microsoft Office 365, but choosing how and with whom to make this transition is often the hardest part.  

To sum up, here are some questions to consider when deciding on a cloud implementation company:  

  1. Do they have experience implementing cloud solutions in your industry?  
  1. Will they assess your business for the best solution? Are they recommending a “one-size-fits-all” solution or are they flexible with your business’ needs?  
  1. Will they make this transition simpler or more complex for you? 
  1. Are they asking you to change the software you use? Will your staff need to learn new applications afterwards?  
  1. Will they provide support after the new software is implemented to help with technical issues? 

About OnPoint ONE 

Offering a wide range of managed IT services for small businesses, OnPoint ONE is the only MSP that provides enterprise-level IT solutions at small business level accessibility. 

We’ve worked with both small businesses and enterprise organizations, including Columbia Integrated Health, PWCPA Financial, Langara College, Indigo, and BC Liquor Distribution. 

Contact OnPoint ONE to learn more about our cloud strategy and implementation solutions, along with other services such as long-term managed IT.  

References 

¹ Miscrosoft FY20 Quarter 1 Report  
² Microsoft Office 365 Usage Statistics

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