How Cloud Technologies Elevate Professional Services

The Cloud has become a growing presence in business technology, and it’s not hard to see why. Outside of the events of 2020 – where Covid-19 forced many of us into remote working environments – Cloud services have since defined the worldwide workplace.  

For the professional services provider, that workplace is fast-moving, fiercely competitive, and dependant on the brightest minds. With the Cloud now a near-unanimous force in the modern workplace, how do professional services providers make their Cloud solution not only an enabler – but an innovator? 

Wider Reach

When your industry thrives on professionals, experts and specialists, you want to extend your reach to the industry’s best. The Cloud, being always-online, makes this much easier.  

By providing an ever-connected workplace at any time, from any connection, the Cloud sidesteps the complications of working hours and locations. For managers and recruiters, this means attracting a pool of talent from far further afield, where location, distance and even time zones are no longer part of the equation. Not only does this provide far more flexibility for your business, it makes it an attractive prospect for your industry’s top performers. 

Connecting with Clients  

On the subject of reach, consider the Cloud’s potential – if not its requirement – as a client relationship manager. When your work is time-sensitive and bespoke, you want clients to be able to view the status of their requests, and submit questions or amendments at a time that suits them.  

With the Cloud, clients have access to their documents or personal data securely at any time. Platforms such as Microsoft Azure can help speed up service requests with powerful automation tools, while leveraging comms solutions such as VoIP provides multiple ways for clients to stay in touch. Your clients expect numerous online-enabled solutions as standard, and the Cloud lets you take these above and beyond. 

Expanding and Innovating  

Technologies are forever evolving, and from engineering to accountancy, few professional services aren’t driven by rolling tech investments. ‘Evolving’ is the key word here; where software upgrades were once iterative, often requiring regular license renewals, Cloud solutions are provided as a service. The developer rolls out any upgrades as they’re available, and the user simply takes advantage of the free performance improvements.  

But let’s take this further; let’s assume you’ve a need for bespoke, automated processes that works to your company specifics. With platforms such as Microsoft Azure, businesses can actually virtualise the hardware that makes this possible and automate processes across their business software. Your technical performance improves without costly hardware investments, and your processes are completed with barely any manual input required.  

Securing Assets  

Security remains priority for businesses nationwide – as well it should – and when the Cloud first emerged, much of the scrutiny centred on its security. Prudent, perhaps; but with the backing of a layered security solution, the Cloud has proven to be the most secure method of storing sensitive data.  

Much of this is down to Cloud service providers. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are large businesses and, as such, have a budget (and expertise) for cybersecurity far surpassing the average business. For professional services providers, who handle vast amounts of sensitive, personal and financial information, this is an encouraging precedent; so too is the fact that no attempts made to compromise these services have thus far been successful.   

No business – however fast-moving – should be held back by the constraints of budget, technology or accessibility. For the professional services industry, the Cloud provides an essential service with an almost-infinite lifespan.  

Ready to make the move? We’re here to help make it happen. 

6 Cloud Migration Steps

Moving to The Cloud is a no brainer for many businesses. The cost savings and efficiency gains are almost a given. But before you dive into one, take the time to consider each of the cloud migration steps involved. This will help avoid costly mistakes such as data loss or unnecessary downtime.  

Also, make sure you’re moving for the right reasons. Don’t just move to The Cloud because it’s the thing to do. Only move when you’re confident it’ll help you achieve your business goals, optimise certain processes, etc. If, however, you’ve done your research, then the following cloud migration steps will be yours to follow. 

Form the right team

Make sure all your key stakeholders are involved. This will of course vary from business to business but typically your IT heads (obviously), CFO, and CEO will go without saying. Beyond that, specific team members required will depend on what kind of technology your team will be working with. But you may also want to consider bringing together security specialists, business analysts, and relevant project managers before the migration is in full swing.  

Determine your Cloud-Readiness  

This involves doing a comprehensive business and technical analysis of your entire IT infrastructure. The aim is to determine what tech your business uses, how it uses it, and the various relative dependencies and integrations your applications have with each other. Some apps won’t be ready for cloud environments. Some apps may need small tweaks. Some may need extensive changes in their code. Some apps may be moved as they are. So, analyse everything, typically with external guidance if you don’t have the resources in house. 

Choose the right migration partner, vendor, and environment  

Do you want to go with Microsoft Azure, AWS, or another cloud provider? Do you want to go public, private, or hybrid? And who will you partner with to carry out the migration? A managed service provider can be a solid choice. They’ll have extensive experience navigating these issues and help you pick the ideal path.  

Create a Roadmap  

You’ll probably want to move incrementally so decide on the order IT components will make the move based on factors like business priority and ease of migration. Ensure as little disruption as possible by clarifying milestones and funding whilst prioritising the more business critical applications.  

Migration  

This stage is all about putting controls in place to minimise downtime and data loss. Make sure you backup your data before migrating it and test the backup to make sure it works. Migrating your data incrementally and testing accordingly can ensure nothing is lost. 

Testing, and adapting  

Once the data has been migrated and has populated you can start switching over to using it in its new environment. This should be in a test environment with test users to assess its functionality whilst its on premise equivalent remains intact. If you have a lot of complex data this test period should be taken with extra care. Make sure you don’t make the final switch and don’t say goodbye to your on-premise solution until your team confirms everything is working correctly.   

The end goal with all of these cloud migration steps is of course to optimise your business’s operations and ultimately improve your bottom line. True MSP has a proven track record of delivering cloud migrations that do exactly that. Plus IT can cause serious issues if not looked after properly.   

So, if you’d like help navigating this potentially complex field and increasing your business’s efficiency, click here to book a call with a cloud migrations expert.  

7 Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks to Boost Productivity

Your IT can be like an employee: get to know it, treat it well and both of you can do some great work together. This is why we put so much emphasis on training at True MSP.  

Microsoft Teams is the cornerstone of collaboration for many businesses. So we’ve compiled a range of Microsoft Teams tips and tricks to make your work as productive as possible. 

Get to know the shortcuts  

Knowing these shortcuts can save hours in the long run. For many of the most common operations in Microsoft Teams, there’s a method for executing it instantly with a keyboard shortcut. 

Use frequent commands  

Similarly, you can use frequent commands for jumping to frequently used locations and tasks within Microsoft Teams. Simply type the “ / ” key followed by your desired location and you’ll jump straight to it. 

Turn on do not disturb  

Microsoft Teams can make communication a little too easy. Notifications pinging all day can drain your focus… And your sanity. When you need to focus on a given task and be free from being contacted by your team, set your status to do not disturb by clicking on your initials in the top right-hand corner.  

Filter using your activity centre  

Your activity centre gives you a timeline feed of everything you’ve done within Microsoft Teams and your notifications. You can search this activity directly and filter it to show only certain types of activity. E.g., only mentions, missed calls, reactions, etc.  

Filter and access your teammates quicker by using @mention  

Alternatively, you can jump to find specific conversations from teammates within the activity centre by typing in their @name. This can also be great for quickly messaging them: if you don’t want to leave what you’re doing and find their conversation, you can type @name into the search bar and send a message without leaving what you’re doing.  

Pin important channels and apps  

Some channels and apps you’ll use a lot more than others. To save you scrolling and searching when you need to find them, pin them so they’re always in the same place, on the left of your Microsoft Teams window.  

Use tags to group users  

Very often you’ll need to address people as a group. Instead of picking them out one by one and adding them to a group thread, if you’ve grouped them together under a tag, you can address them as one in an instant.  

Become more productive with The Cloud  

Once you start using these Microsoft Teams tips and tricks, they may start to feel as unavoidable as good backup or cybersecurity. And since any business worth their salt is aiming to be more productive, taking advantage of everything The Cloud and Microsoft Teams has to offer is a no-brainer.  

If you’re ready to welcome in a new level of productivity, click here to take full advantage of The Cloud. 

TrueMSP launches free training sessions for clients

Do you want to know more about cyber security, learn how to use the latest features of Office 365 or see the latest IT technology in action? 

Well, now TrueMSP’s clients can learn about these things – and more – for free, thanks to the launch of our new training workshops and seminars. 

The events will take place in the brand-new Conference and Training Room at TrueMSP’s headquarters in Castle Donington and be led by directors, Neil and Tim, and members of our highly experienced team. 

Topics for planned workshops and seminars include: 

  • Cyber Security; 
  • Office 365 and the Cloud; 
  • Back-up and disaster recovery; 
  • Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone systems; 
  • Latest technology showcase. 

Clients interested in attending a training session should contact the Midlands office on 01332 948600 for further details.