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The run up to Christmas is typically very busy for all businesses, as people rush to buy gifts, or rush through preparations for the new year. This seasonal spike in activity needs to be planned and managed carefully, ensuring there are enough resources in place to cover the increase in demand.

The problem is that come January, demand tails off again. Those businesses most affected by seasonal demand typically employ temporary staff to provide additional support. However these people need to be properly resourced to ensure they can work effectively. This may be through hiring additional desks and workspace, to purchasing additional software licences and hardware.

This presents a problem for small and medium businesses on the IT front, not least because each new staff member requires significant capital investment to get them up-and-running. Worse still, these capital investments sit unused for significant portions of the year in between peaks in demand.

How the Cloud can help with peaks in demand

Cloud technologies are specifically designed to offer subscribers improved flexibility. Indeed, the pay-as-you-use billing model positively encourages it. Rather than purchasing expensive software licenses for applications like Microsoft Office which becomes another asset on the balance sheet, your business can instead rent an additional copy of Office for the period required.

Once the peak in demand passes, you can terminate the subscription, ensuring you never pay a penny more than is necessary. This same principle applies to software, storage and infrastructure – Cloud services allow you to expand and shrink capacity whenever you need to.

The Cloud is more than software

Obviously the biggest benefit of Cloud in this scenario is the ability to expand and contract whenever required. But there are others beyond the basic costs of licensing. Outsourcing IT infrastructure to the Cloud also reduces the amount of resources required to support and manage the equivalent systems on site.

Cloud systems are almost completely managed by the service provider, which means that all the day-to-day administration of the software and the systems that host it, are also their responsibility. As well as on-demand IT resources, you gain access to an on-demand IT team too.

Going beyond seasonal demand

Even in periods of controlled growth, your business still needs to invest in new IT infrastructure, albeit in a more controlled manner. This means specifying and purchasing systems and software that have the potential to be scaled upwards at some point in the future. But with the pace of technological development, choosing the right system – and sourcing the technical experts required to assist – is incredibly difficult.

The on-demand nature of Cloud services allows your business to grow IT provisions as quickly or slowly as required. With the assistance of a Cloud expert you can scale up on a user-by-user basis – again, ensuring IT spend is controlled down to the last penny. You also gain the luxury of not having to identify the point at which you need to hire more IT staff to manage a growing IT estate – this is squarely the responsibility of your Cloud provider who will ensure you have all the cover you need.

For small businesses, the ability to outsource IT hardware purchasing and support is a huge boon. Any product or service that frees up time and resources to focus on delivering a better service to customers should be welcomed – particularly if they also help to reduce capital spend and free up cash for investment in other strategic initiatives.

To learn more about your Cloud outsourcing options and how they can help your business move forward, please get in touch