IT has often been viewed, rightly or wrongly, as just a business expense. In its worst light it is considered to be a cost which the business must endure, and at its best, IT is a tool for innovation, communication and business growth. Regardless of how it is viewed, there have been issues surrounding wasted efficiency which has always been a problem – up until now. With the transformation of Microsoft Azure and public cloud (SmartCloud), businesses can now operate with an agile, finance manager-friendly system which increases operational efficiencies. Research from Forrester finds that a total digital transformation offers a payback period of only 16 months and 112% ROI over three years. 

Research from Forrester finds that a total digital transformation offers a payback period of only 16 months and 112% ROI over three years. 

Pay for what you need, when you need it 

Most on-premise servers run far below their maximum capacity. Systems are set up for peak usage, and that’s what you are paying for, regardless of whether you use it or not. By switching to Azure and taking advantage of its tools to scale up and down in response to requirements, you can benefit from lower costs.  

For example, you only need to pay for development and test environments when there’s development and testing going on. Similarly, retail customers can scale up ecommerce servers for peak buying seasons, but only pay for reduced capacity the rest of the year. 

Reduce Capex 

The obvious benefit is that whatever elements you choose to use within Azure, those processes become an operational expenditure rather than a capital expenditure. This does mean an ongoing expense, but with the pace of technological change so high this is one area where it just makes sense. It also frees cash flow for other initiatives and projects. 

Grow bigger, faster 

Cloud computing means you and the business can scale without limits. Spin up virtual machines in minutes; avoid on-site storage taking up real estate; work anytime, anywhere, on any device. The usual added complexities of expanding a company’s IT infrastructure are made simple with Azure, making big businesses as agile as start-ups. 

In addition, you can take advantage of Azure’s automation capabilities to streamline IT management such as for software updates, configuration management and systems inventories. 

Stop excess spending on infrastructure 

An on-site data centre eats up real estate, employee time, and associated costs of maintenance and repair. Not only that, but hardware needs refreshing.  

With Azure-hosted backup, storage and other services, all that time and money is saved. Microsoft looks after the physical hardware: servers, buildings, physical security, heating and cooling.  

Azure also simplifies security, compliance and software update implementation. With Azure management tools, it’s possible to automate routine management tasks, freeing up time for more important work.  

For example, when one firm moved some of their infrastructure to Azure, the company was able to reassign the equivalent of four IT managers from routine maintenance and platform management to higher-value work. 

Avoid downtime 

We all know the risks of on-site systems – slow operations, risk of natural disaster or internal error, lack of in-house expertise, hacking – the list goes on. Ninety-eight percent of organisations surveyed by the ITIC report that one hour of downtime costs them $100,000 (£75,000).  

With the cloud, you can minimise the business loss that comes with technology failures for your customers. 

Regain your company’s freedom 

Many private clouds developed by IT companies have been done so with a view to lock clients in to their systems. Moving out of your IT suppliers cloud system can be tricky, and some firms tie up customers to long-term 3-5-year contracts – an age in the technology world. With clients locked in, firms are able to charge higher fees as the cost of switching may put some clients off. 

With Microsoft Azure, you can easily switch IT suppliers if, for example, you’re unhappy with the service level. Customers regain power and freedom and are then able to properly assess the market for the right IT supplier. 

Microsoft Azure provides unique benefits over on-premise or private cloud solutions, especially for firms, and Finance Managers, who wish for their systems to work intelligently and efficiently to increase long-term profitability.