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December 13, 2018

Unexpected Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

George Hegedus

George Hegedus
Sr. Vice President, Information Technology/Envision Experience

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Previously Published on LinkedIn (November 4, 2014)

"Let’s go to the cloud” has been a rallying cry, sales pitch and buzzword for years. Cut through all that, and you will receive expected and unexpected benefits.

We made our move to the cloud over the last 18 months. We had SalesForce for years, but we added Okta (Single Sign On), Box (File Storage and Collaboration), Google Apps (Email, Calendar, Drive), DocuSign (electronic signatures), Workday (HR management), Concur (Travel and Expense Management), BlueJeans (Video Collaboration), SalesForce Chatter (Internal Collaboration), and Xactly (sales compensation).

We immediately experienced some of the benefits that were sold to us.

Let someone else be the master of their technology domain.

Access to any tool from any device. Great productivity for a disperse, mobile workforce.

Rare system outages; but, when it happens, it’s the vendor taking care of it.

Updates and patches handled by vendor. No more overhauling a system every three years.

Solving our most critical problems.

* Okta - SSO - Password reset tickets

* BlueJeans - connecting and expanding our current video collaboration system which allowed third parties to attend and share within our Polycom conference room systems.

* Concur - web based travel and expenses instead of the “arts and crafts time” we used to have by taping receipts to a piece of paper

* DocuSign - documents signed electronically even from a mobile device

We also experienced other benefits that we weren’t expecting.

Reducing costs in one tool allowed us to invest in others we desperately needed. Moving to Google opened funds to purchase Okta (Single Sign On) and DocuSign (eSignature).

Reducing costs allowed us to invest in our most important resource - people. Backlogged promotions and raises.

Easier to shift if something goes wrong with the product. We are not stuck with infrastructure.

Minimal weekend and evening maintenance.

No more rollbacks.

Trust built between IT and the business. When we saying something is going to launch, it launches.

User adoption of new technologies is better - if I see a tool in my Okta SSO menu everyday, I am more likely to use it, instead of saving it as a bookmark and forgetting about it.

More time spent on change management. Instead of being nose down in infrastructure configuration for months, we can spend more time on change management, communication, and training.

Techs are learning new skills. Don’t believe that going to the cloud is going to make your system administrators less valuable. Someone has to administer these tools and liaison with the vendor. They will learn new skills that will build their resume.

Help Desk working on higher level tasks. Okta is a prime example of this. Password reset calls were our number one driver of calls and tickets. With Okta, that problem dropped quickly from it’s number one ranking each month. As cycles opened up, the Help Desk started working on encryption and LanDesk agent installs.

Acquisition integration is a lot faster. I’ve been a part of many acquisition integration projects in the past. There was a lot of pain involved. With cloud tools, I can provide a basic tool set (SSO, email, calendar, video) on day one.

Are we having fun? My former boss used to ask me this all the time, and the answer was a resounding yes. For all the reasons mentioned above, it's great to be able to smoothly launch a new tool that helps employees with their productivity. The question of “What’s next?” becomes a positive challenge instead of a foreboding menace.

What’s after the cloud? The stratosphere? Low earth orbit? Regardless, it should be a fun ride.

Comments? You can contact me directly via my AdvisoryCloud profile.

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