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If you could wave a magic wand that cleared out all of the waste and inefficiency in your business, cutting costs and boosting profits, would you do it?

Of course you would.

Sadly, no one has invented a magic wand (yet). But that doesn’t mean you can’t clear out your firm’s waste and inefficiencies, cut your costs and boost your profits. Far from it.

Cloud solutions are powerful tools for doing all of these things. Using the cloud, you can integrate all of your accounting, data protection, telephone and email systems, hosting your documents and applications in the cloud for easy 24/7 access.

If you rely on a mix of technologies, you can simplify and streamline the way you work, becoming more productive and profitable.

You can make your work accessible remotely, using simple tools like Microsoft Office 365 or powerful, top-of-the-range Desktops-as-a-Service that keep things coherent, effective and easy to use.

By moving your infrastructure online, you reduce operational costs and capital expenses, saving you money and easing pressure on your cashflow.

In fact moving your core business applications and processes to the cloud can shave nearly a fifth off your per-user IT operational spending.

But to be successful, cloud technologies need your input. You have to put in the time and effort to strategise.

Calculating the ROI of your move can take some thought, but it’s crucial for maximising the benefits. Start by making sure that you’re focusing on your organisation’s specific pain points and tapping into technological tools that will bring the biggest advantages to your setup.

Often, planning a move to the cloud can be the nudge you need to reassess where you’re wasting money and where you could be more efficient.

Take the GSA, for example.

When the US government’s General Service Administration (GSA) began to draw up savings projections for their impending cloud migration, then-CIO Casey Coleman realised that employees and departments were using two thousand different apps for their daily tasks and workflows.

That’s a lot of different systems. A lot of switching and searching and re-saving. A lot of lurking conflict and disconnect.

… And a huge amount of potential to streamline and boost the business’ bottom line.

Before making the move into the cloud, Coleman reassessed how the organisation was managing its workflows – and took the opportunity to clear out the excess.

She switched from the old email system to a cloud-hosted one, saving an estimated $16 million over five years.

She brought the total number down to 500 apps and consolidated or improved many of the remainders, moving them into the cloud to work harmoniously with the new email system.

And, because the clear-out dramatically reduced pressure on the GSA’s IT infrastructure, she was able to switch off 300 in-house servers, slashing energy and running costs in the process.

“It has to be well thought-out and methodical. This is an IT project like any other. You have to plan for change management, promote user awareness, ensure cybersecurity in contractual terms, like with any IT project. If you don’t approach it in that manner, you might have a different experience,” Coleman told Computer World

“The promise of cloud computing has been borne out in our experience.”

But the story didn’t stop there.

Inspired by the evident ROI of the project, Coleman’s successor Sonny Hashimi has kept up efforts to streamline the agency’s business processes and improve its project management, collaboration and data storage capabilities – so much so that 80% of its IT systems now have a cloud component.

The result?

Savings of over $5 million per year. Applications that are delivered in 25% of the time and at 8% of the cost. Over 100 new enterprise applications delivered to GSA teams “with zero infrastructure footprint.”

Why am I telling you this? Because it highlights just what the cloud can achieve for your business when you focus on what matters: the numbers.

The good news is that this approach is (hopefully) you in your element.

Accountants are, after all, numbers people. Even if modern tech-speak makes your headache, when it comes to your IT resources you’re ideally placed to calculate and analyse the total cost of ownership (TCO) and maintenance, and to make like-for-like comparisons to cloud solutions.

By focusing in on hard business results, you ensure that you’re not just going through the motions of upgrading your tech, you’re actually using cloud technology to boost your cashflow – and your profits.

And once you’ve done this for your own business, wouldn’t your clients be interested in seeing what it could do for them?  After all, aren’t you their trusted advisor for this sort of thing?

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