A smiling woman in a modern office space.

Cloud migration offers many unexpected benefits, such as access to a larger talent pool.

Remember when you first met your significant other? Perhaps you were attracted to her smile, his sense of humor, her intelligence, or the fact he doesn’t still live with his parents. But as you got to know each other, you discovered there was a lot more to love about this person than just the stuff on the surface.

The cloud is the same way. There are the obvious and highly touted benefits, such as scalability, reliability, lower costs, improved analytics, and disaster recovery. However, after a cloud migration, many companies discover unforeseen advantages and business solutions that didn’t even factor into their decision to make the switch.

If your company is thinking about moving certain workloads or systems to the cloud, here are six hidden benefits you could soon be enjoying:

1. Improved IT Resource Management

As business technology has evolved, so has the role of IT workers. Once upon a time, their job was primarily to maintain servers, troubleshoot office equipment, and ask “Have you restarted your computer?” countless times a day. These days, IT workers have taken on the role of resident rock stars — they’re the experts who help your company leverage the latest technology, develop new business applications, and drive innovation. However, the majority of IT resources still get sapped by routine maintenance, such as installing updates, maintaining servers, and troubleshooting faulty applications.

Cloud migrations unburden IT teams from many of these tasks. They can then spend more time and money on new, strategic projects that contribute to the company’s bottom line.

2. Increased Mobility

The cloud doesn’t just make your IT department more productive — it also boosts productivity across the organization by letting staff access data and business applications from any location via any connected device.

For knowledge workers, this means snow days no longer mean a whole day’s worth of work to catch up on, and travel time is no longer downtime. Employees in the field spend fewer hours on the phone with the home office or digging through email to find the information they need. And, when staff members experience real computer problems — you know, the ones that can’t be fixed by turning them off and on again — they can work from their mobile devices while IT gets their computers back online.

3. Larger Talent Pool

There are plenty of fish in the sea, but the best fish for the job might not live in your particular pond. Since cloud migration makes it easy for employees to work from anywhere, you can hire from anywhere, too. So, whether new employees are based in London, Kentucky, or London, England, you can set them up with telecommuting technology and heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work they go.

Likewise, if valuable employees move away or simply prefer to work from home, there’s no need to incur the costs of finding and training new talent.

4. Collective IT Insight

Think about the last time you saw someone step in a puddle or trip over something. While you were trying not to laugh, you were probably also thinking, “I’m glad it wasn’t me.”

Cloud services and applications are constantly being improved, updated, and expanded upon based on customer feedback and experimentation. Because these are shared resources, you benefit from the knowledge that comes with other users’ trials and errors, their setbacks and successes, and their collective innovation. After all, it’s usually more efficient to learn from others’ mistakes and insights than your own.

5. Easier Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) can be an exciting time for companies, since they offer opportunities to grow, expand, and make a bigger impact on the world. But getting data and apps from two companies’ servers to play nice is just as much fun as a root canal — and takes a lot longer.

It often takes merging companies months or even years to move their data from one legacy system to another. The time and resources it takes to do so has caused more than one M&A deal to fall through.

When data and business systems are in the cloud, the transition can happen much faster, and employees from both newly joined organizations can immediately access the information and apps they need to keep working at full speed.

6. Reduced Carbon Footprint

Running onsite servers and an offsite disaster recovery system for your data center consumes a lot of energy, especially for larger enterprises. With cloud-based data storage, your server capacity scales to fit your current needs so you don’t use more energy than necessary. This helps your company go greener while also saving some green on the power bill.

It’s no secret that the cloud offers plenty of benefits, but some of its most touted highlights barely scratch the surface. Your company’s cloud migration might just reveal a few hidden gems, too.

To learn more about the many benefits of cloud migration, speak to a Vonage Business consultant today.

Taylor Mallory Holland

Taylor Mallory Holland is a professional writer with more than 11 years of experience writing about business, technology and health care for both media outlets and companies. Taylor understands how enterprise mobility and cloud technology can reshape industries and provide new opportunities to streamline workflows, improve employee collaboration and reimagine the customer experience. She is passionate about helping business leaders understand the impact that emerging technologies can have on communication, operations and sales and marketing.

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A professional using her smartphone to follow business trends.

Read industry blogs to stay up-to-date on business trends.

You don’t need to be told that staying on top of tech and business trends is a crucial part of staying competitive. It’s a given, like “customers are important” or “money can be exchanged for goods and services.” If one company in an industry is still working out the kinks of its landline phone system and the other is humming along on a shiny new cloud PBX, it’s clear which one is doing better with its tech knowledge — and likely doing better business because of it.

Reliable sources and effective intel-gathering techniques are less “minor advantage” and more “secret weapon” when it comes to staying technologically relevant. Here are a seven ways to brush up on both:

1. Follow the Experts

Popular news sites are a dime a dozen these days, and they all have some solid information to share on emerging tech and business trends. The same goes for sources focusing on your specific industry’s technology. However, if you aren’t following noted leaders in or around your industry, you’re missing out. People who care enough to talk about their field on their own time — and get enough respect to have an opinion worth listening to — probably know and share things you can benefit from. Effective thought leaders usually find an audience, so don’t be afraid to let metrics such as number of Twitter® followers or subscribers guide you to voices worth listening to. Even a simple Google® search can go a long way.

2. Follow Your Competition

Call it the simplest form of corporate espionage: A lot of businesses like talking about anything they’re doing better than before, even when that’s a technology upgrade. Following competition on social media — or peering in on them without giving them the satisfaction of another follower — can help you get a grasp on what others in the same field are up to. If you really want to go for the blue chip, do the same with leading businesses outside your region. Are they doing something you’re not? What’s worth emulating? Even if these organizations aren’t talking about their new server upgrades with every post, observing them over time can reveal a surprising amount of useful information — with no night goggles required.

3. Aggregate (Seriously, Do It)

Your intel-gathering should ideally be a casual thing done throughout the day. Instead of checking Facebook® for the 10th time that day, you can browse headlines. Online aggregators such as Flipboard® and Feedly® can help you do that. If you’re one of the millions of people who like the idea of building an aggregate news source but never got around to doing it, make today the day.

4. Talk to an Expert

Keeping on top of the technologies that run your business means staying abreast of a lot of disciplines. Depending on your field, the sheer amount of new releases can make it impossible to stay completely on the ball. Don’t be afraid to call in — or ask for the budget for — expert help.

5. Talk to Your Vendors

Yes, talking to someone whose objective is to sell you stuff may raise your skepticism levels a bit. But a trusted, longtime vendor can be a downright useful source of information. A vendor’s job is to outfit businesses with trendy technology, meaning the good ones tend to stay on top of business trends and technology. And they have insight into what other firms in your industry are doing. Simply developing a good business relationship with your account representative can yield some valuable insights. Don’t miss out.

6. Mind Consumer Goods

Don’t put all your focus on consumer gadgetry, but don’t completely write it off, either. The gap between consumer and business technology gets smaller every day, something that’s easy to see with more and more retail locations ringing you up, running your credit card, and emailing you a receipt — all from an app on an iPad® or tablet.

7. Give Research (Budget) Space

You don’t have to hire a full-time tech researcher to get long mileage out of the research dollars you spend. This can mean anything from a subscription to a popular site’s content to shelling out for a potentially useful research or white paper, to sending employees to conferences, vendor fairs, and trade shows. Just make sure your research doesn’t stop short as soon as you slam into a pay wall a la Wile E. Coyote — some of the best stuff can be found by spending a little cash.

With disruptive new technologies rushing out the gates on a seemingly daily basis, absorbing it all can feel like an impossible task. However, by applying some rigor and resourcefulness to your research techniques, you can focus your efforts on the business trends that matter. Best of all, it’s only a conscious effort at the start: When you find yourself mindlessly scanning tech industry headlines instead of photos from your friend’s barbecue, you’ll know you’ve come a long way.

To get started, contact Vonage® Business to learn more about the latest in business communications.

About Evan Wade

Evan Wade is an author and editor from Carmel, Indiana. As a veteran tech writer and lifelong tech enthusiast, he focuses his writing and research on communication, mobility and security. Alongside work with leading cloud technology providers and industry news sources, Evan has extensive sales and end-user marketing experience, giving him a unique view of the individual’s relationship with technology — and how organizations can realize huge benefits from it.

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