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Guest Blog

Lydia Cooper, Group Marketing Manager at Nasstar plc

Why Professional Service Firms are Moving to the Cloud

Lydia Cooper, Group Marketing Manager at Nasstar plc

14
Sep

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The cloud debate is over for SMBs. There’s no longer a discussion about whether or not to move to the cloud, because most businesses have already done it. In the professional services sectors, such as the Legal where we operate, the majority of firms have some form of cloud service in place. In fact, I can’t think of one organisation that doesn’t have some type of cloud service in their environment – whether that’s private cloud infrastructure or cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps.

Cloud is now integral in most businesses, and there has been a step change in how we think about cloud service delivery. We don’t think about where our IT is hosted, we instead think about applications and end user services.

So what are the motivations behind professional services firms moving more of their IT to the cloud?

Aligning to business needs

Organisations are now looking for ways to consume their IT services in line with business requirements, and this in particular makes more sense for professional services firms due to their fee-earning business model. If firms can align IT costs with business demand, such as the number of employees, then it enables them to make more accurate choices about their IT resources in real-time, rather than trying to predict what resources they will need two years in advance.

Removing risk

Risk mitigation is a key component of why organisations are moving to the cloud. Keeping IT systems up to date and patched (the recent malware attacks on the NHS show the problems of not patching effectively), is often a difficult task for in-house IT teams to keep on top of, when they should instead be focussed on strategic projects or application delivery. Moving this task to a specialist provider whose sole focus is keeping systems running reduces the risk of being caught out. It’s also difficult for in-house IT systems to reach the same level of security as purpose-built datacentres that follow best-practice industry guidelines such as the ITIL framework.

Focussing on business

Every minute you spend focusing on your IT is a minute spent away from developing new business leads, closing client deals and delivering customer services. Focus on your core business activities, and let us focus on our core business activity: delivering IT solutions to the professional services sectors. We invest in ensuring we use the latest technology, stay up to date with the latest security best-practice guidelines and keep our engineers accredited to the highest levels. We partner with technology leaders such as HPE and Microsoft to deliver best in class hosting solutions from our enterprise datacentres, letting you focus on fee earning and generating new business, safe in the knowledge that your IT is being taken care of.

But how do you choose the right provider?

We think of IT delivery in this way: 80% of IT services and solutions are the same. Go to any accredited, industry-leading IT services provider and 80% of what they do will be pretty similar to the next provider. It’s the 20% that really makes the difference and delivers business impact. That’s where we come in.

Nasstar is specialised in enterprise IT and application delivery to a number of sectors, but we have particular expertise in the professional services sectors, primarily the legal industry. We have over a decade of experience in the sector therefore we understand the professional services industry; we’re familiar with many of the applications you use (it’s likely we already host most of them) and we’re knowledgeable about the challenges you face in providing a dynamic and flexible work environment for your fee earners. However, you also need robust security measures in place to protect your data, IP and systems. A law firm can’t afford to risk losing confidential client data – it’s as simple as that and we get it.

That’s why we work with our professional services clients to look at how technology can give them a competitive edge in their industry.

Choosing your cloud partner

First and foremost, you can’t make a decision that impacts your entire business based on cost alone. We help you to reduce your costs by streamlining IT operations and putting in place secure, best-practice solutions. You can leverage public cloud technology to achieve more cost-effective hosting solutions, but you can’t expect to get that expertise and deep industry knowledge if you’re comparing providers purely on cost.

Secondly, think about what your cloud service provider or application hoster is bringing to your business. Do they understand what your business needs to achieve its goals?

Finally, don’t settle for just ‘lifting and shifting’ your internal IT to the cloud. Some providers simply move your current IT environment to the cloud – but this isn’t innovating your service delivery or pushing your operations to find more streamlined solutions that drive down cost and risk.

So, what does cloud innovation look like for firms?

In the professional services sector, cashflow is critical. Aligning operational expenditure to the number of fee earners is crucial to maintaining a positive cashflow, and large capital expenditures that create spikes in costs can be too much of a gamble for many firms.

Because we offer true 24/7 support cover with engineering staff on rota around the clock and a New Zealand office so teams can follow the sun, we can also provide a global service if you have customers operating across different time zones, or need to expand to different locations quickly.

Nasstar’s experience in delivering IT solutions, business workflows and streamlined processes to the professional services sectors enables us to design an end to end solution that fits your business specifically. We understand the industry, we understand the applications, and we understand the services you provide to customers. Most of all, we understand the technology that underpins all of this.

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