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Why your head should be in the Cloud

20/06/2017 minute read Gordon Wilson

News and blogs business

‘Strong and stable’ was the phrase that became the stalwart of Theresa May’s failed General Election campaign. Perhaps part of the problem was that ‘strong and stable’ just doesn’t resonate with the unprecedented pace of change in which we live. It certainly doesn’t equate to the pace in which technological advancements are transforming the way businesses deliver and consume services in the digital era.

Earlier this month, the CBI stressed how serious the outcome of the election and start of the Brexit negotiations will be for British businesses, and urged the new government to quickly establish the economy as a priority. Given the state of flux that Britain is currently in, how best can businesses retain – or regain – a competitive advantage, to innovate, grow and prosper?

The outlook isn’t as bleak as many would have us believe. Britain is regarded as a tech powerhouse around the globe thanks to our thriving fintech industry and significant investment in new technologies like Artificial Intelligence. Amidst the current climate of uncertainty then, UK organisations should remain confident that by re-imagining the ways that they work, digital technologies can enable businesses to transform the way they operate, serve their customers better, lower costs, and improve working practices to drive greater efficiencies for future success.

Cloud computing is a key driving factor in the digital transformation impacting every single sector from retail to financial services, manufacturing to heavy industry. Through the Cloud, new digital-centric businesses are emerging that are more agile and innovative than anything seen before.

But it’s not just high profile examples like Uber and Amazon who are using digital technologies to disrupt the market. British organisations of all sizes, especially small and medium businesses, (SMEs) are daring to disrupt the norm and reaping the benefits.

The State of The UK Cloud Report 2017 depicts a country that's firmly engaged in embracing digitalisation and the operational and financial rewards that can come from the best use of technology. One of the benefits of cloud computing is increased efficiency; services are rapidly deployed and ready for use in a matter of minutes versus the weeks or months it traditionally takes. When time is money, this is invaluable. While the traditionally risk-averse legal sector has been slow to adapt to technology, that is now starting to change. The next generation of lawyers will practise law in very different ways.  In a move which mirrors the Ministry of Justice’s drive towards paperless courts and the digitisation of the legal sector, St John’s Buildings (SJB) has become the first barrister’s chambers in the UK to use an innovative cloud-based document management tool to enable the secure production, sharing and storage of legal documents; a move that could save the firm up to £350,000 per year.

Of course, there will be ‘winners and losers’ in digital transformation. British businesses are having to worry about new, agile competitors, while simultaneously dealing with upheaval on a massive scale that they have never experienced before. However, when it comes to embracing technology then, slow and steady is not the mantra to adopt. Rather, there is a real danger that organisations who have not embraced digital technology in the here and now will be caught in a vicious circle of decline as their ability to keep up-to-speed with rapid digital change will be constrained by unstable and inflexible infrastructures, legacy systems and IT management. Ironically, all the benefits – such as flexibility and speed of response - already experienced by those who have started to adopt the cloud, are the essentials for accelerating the digital evolution of British businesses. To fail to embrace this is a massive error.

Jon Wrennall will be hosting an interactive session at the CBI’s medium-sized business summit event on the 22nd June. Come along to hear him unveil new findings from independent research about British businesses attitudes towards digital technology and cloud adoption, and how it can help give businesses a competitive edge for success today and ensure that they are fit for the future. This article first appeared on Business Voice, CBI’s publications.