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For Business Acumen, Look to Cloud Services

In 1999, a few former Oracle employees started Salesforce, becoming pioneers in the SaaS (software-as-a-service) industry. According to Keith Weitz, Trimble Transportation’s VP of Technology and Cloud Services, the early goal of Salesforce was “to get the servers and the software out of the client’s offices and into what would soon be known as ‘the cloud.”

When Microsoft launched Microsoft Azure in 2008 and upped the ante in 2011 with the introduction of Office 365, and more importantly, Exchange Online, businesses got the opportunity to ditch their on-premises exchange servers for Microsoft’s “cloud.”

Multiple business tools followed email to the cloud: CRMs, databases and an ever-increasing number of IT tools and applications. Capabilities expanded at a dizzying pace, and it became an integral part of every new tech product and innovation. 

As the world’s economy was whipsawed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft gained popularity. 

A Tale of Two Clients

As offices emptied out during March of 2020, remote workloads became a stress test for IT systems across the globe. It wasn’t just a case of having enough bandwidth to connect now-remote workers, but could business networks sustain the sudden challenges of doing business in uncharted territory?

Trimble Transportation’s Keith Weitz, Vice President of Technology and Cloud Services, tells the story of one client who found their business suddenly brought to a standstill by the pandemic:

“Our customer was unable to dispatch so they couldn’t process orders in a timely fashion. The system they were using was highly sensitive to latency, and connecting to it remotely was not cutting it. A large part of the problem was remote connections to their SQL Server. Trimble experts solved the problem. However, the situation never would have happened had the customer previously moved to a TMS SaaS solution using Microsoft's Azure in tandem with Trimble Transportation.”

Weitz also discussed a client that was the victim of a ransomware attack, a real threat which has been growing recently. 

Ransomware exploits security flaws in unpatched systems, enters through exposed network ports, or arrives in phishing scams delivered via legitimate-looking emails. The cost to victims is climbing: the average cost of a ransomware attack went from $750,000 in 2020 to almost $2 million. Two high-profile cases in the summer of 2020 in the U.S. had significant impacts on supplies of gasoline and meat, costing the victimized suppliers $8 million and $11 million in ransoms to get decryption keys (and back to business).

To Facilitate SaaS, Is it Time to Migrate to the Cloud?

While these companies migrated their business to the cloud under extreme circumstances, cases like theirs are increasingly common. Every day more and more companies discover it doesn’t take an emergency to shift their workloads from on-premises systems to a cloud environment that provides them with security, efficiencies and cost savings:

  • In a cloud environment, there are no more hardware requirements or server rooms to manage, which means your tech experts no longer have to support or spend money on cooling systems, spaces for server racks, or the miscellaneous equipment required to manage an IT infrastructure.
  • Annual support contacts on hardware become a thing of the past.
  • Capital expenditures are reduced.
  • Responsiveness and flexibility to business cycles: scale servers up or down as needed.
  • Software licenses can be transferred to the cloud.
  • Security is provided by hosts with expertise employing the latest technology.

If recent headlines and your own experience have left you wondering if it’s time to move to the cloud and TMS SaaS, consider your operations through these five vantage points:

  • The current state of your IT infrastructure and the costs to maintain or replace it.
  • The strategic value of migrating to the cloud can save you over the next three-to-five years. Take advantage of your current Trimble team for advice on how to maximize efficiencies and increase functionality.
  • The benefits of offloading or reducing IT responsibilities.
  • Disaster recovery scenarios. Is your plan for maintaining your company's ability to function during the next pandemic, natural disaster, ransomware attack, or terrorist attack a solid one that has been tested and validated?
  • How vulnerable is your business to ever-increasing security threats? Make sure your infrastructure is safe, sound, and up-to-date. This should be a core competency for your IT people.

Position your company for success with a move to the cloud and SaaS.