How the Microsoft cloud benefits businesses of all sizes

7 January 2014

In the past, use of the cloud was typically confined to large enterprises that had the necessary resources to pay for the technology. However, more small businesses are starting to adopt the platform which means Microsoft training for cloud systems should be a top priority for IT professionals in 2014.

According to a recent j2 Global report, small businesses are looking to overall their tech architectures this year. The source found that 88 percent of small and medium sized business (SMB) survey respondents plan to or wish they could phase out at least one legacy system in 2014. As an alternative to traditional and outdated technologies, SMBs are turning to the cloud. In fact, 60 percent indicated that their firms would be able to save money if they adopted cloud services this year.

Mobile marketing plans, Internet fax capabilities and the implementation of VoIP systems are just some of the platforms that small businesses are looking to leverage through cloud connectivity. It's a major trend that is impacting the SMB environment, and representatives with j2 Global believe it shows just how useful the cloud can be.

"With the cost-savings and increased productivity entrepreneurs gain as they move more of their business functions to the cloud, we're not surprised this 2014 survey finds SMBs planning to further leverage social media, virtual phone services, email marketing, and online faxing," said Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing at j2 Global. "The overall message from the survey is that the cloud just makes smart business sense for the SMB."

Options abound
For small business IT leaders considering adopting the cloud, there is no shortage of options to choose from in the market. More vendors have started to get involved in cloud services, which has proven beneficial for users, as it has increased the competition, creating more affordable rates. However, it also means it's difficult to determine which tech manufacturer to purchase from.

Despite the various choices IT executives have for the cloud, Microsoft's products are extremely well-suited for virtual environments. In fact, Microsoft hardware and software has successful helped some of the world's largest companies streamline IT operations. One such enterprise is famed British automaker Aston Martin.

Microsoft cloud for big businesses
The company has been around for more than 100 years and has experienced significant growth from its humble beginnings in England. According to a Microsoft case study, Aston Martin now has facilities in Germany, the United States, Japan and China.

This rapid global expansion has required a significant investment in IT resources to connect all systems and departments. However, officials with Aston Martin asserted that the development of the manufacturer's IT infrastructure followed an unstructured path for many years, with various products and services from different vendors being brought in.

In order to make systems at its various departments more connected, Aston Martin worked with Microsoft to build an IT setup comprised of the company's easily integrated offerings. By configuring new hardware and introducing Windows Server 2012 into its operations, the automaker found it easier to consult with its various facilities with ease.

"Since I joined the company three years ago, our team has been working to change the perception of IT to one of a strategic partner and business enabler," said Daniel Roach-Rooke of Aston Martin. "And to do that, we needed to align the business with a strategic IT vendor who could provide us with robust, leading-edge and interoperable technologies so that we could build a central IT function with global insight and management."

Organizations in a variety of sectors have started to follow this trend. For example, the latest version of SharePoint – SharePoint 2013 – has proven to be popular among enterprise users because it is simple to integrate and access via other Microsoft products. For this reason, IT professionals need to consider investing in Microsoft certification courses for its cloud-enabled services. Whether it's classes relating to Windows Server of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft training can set tech workers apart from the pack.

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