How does your business meet the constantly changing needs of your customers? If you have a plan in place to respond quickly and change the way you do business to meet new developments in the marketplace, you have what is known as an agile business model. Agile businesses have a leg up on the competition because they can get customers what they want faster, no matter how their needs change. Cloud computing can play a role in this model, and here's how.

The Essentials of an Agile Enterprise

Before we go any further, it's important to note what the essentials of an agile enterprise are. An agile business keeps tabs on all essential operations and compares them to the industry standards as they develop. It also examines trends so it can effectively predict troubles that might be coming up in the future. The goal behind all of this analysis is to make a predictive business model that can adjust to any issues as necessary. For example, a book publisher with an agile business model would keep tabs on publishing trends, sales comparisons between eBooks and traditional formats, and the price of paper. When something changes such as paper costs increasing, they are already well-situated to handle it.

Adding Cloud Computing to the Mix

For many businesses, cloud computing represents one of the trends that need to be tracked. Because the industry is relatively new but extremely useful to a number of different businesses, a lot of companies are still adjusting certain aspects of their service to make sure they are utilizing it correctly. One of the biggest benefits of using the cloud in an agile business is that it is extremely easy to make adjustments to your service as you need it. For example, if trends indicate that you will need a lot more storage than you currently use, you can contact your managed services provider immediately and make the adjustment now, avoiding the problems that might arise if you were taken by surprise.

Setting your Starting Point

The first step in terms of using cloud technology to meet the needs of your agile business model is to determine what services you need as a base. At the start, you need to make sure that you order the essential services that you need in order to operate. This includes all the storage necessary to back up your most important business files as well as a virtual gateway and any other remote services that you will need on a day to day basis. Don't go overboard in terms of ordering services, though. One of the essentials of business agility is that you aren't too bloated with items you don't absolutely need. Additional services that you only need occasionally are best handled through negotiation with your provider.

The Importance of Negotiation

When you enter into a cloud computing agreement, you will sign a contract with your provider that will outline all the products and services that you will receive. In order to meet the needs of an agile business model, you should contact your provider personally and negotiate the terms of this contract before entering into the agreement. Specific areas that you need to address are the addition of new services and short-term modifications to the contract. This will allow you to make changes based on financial quarters and busy seasons, providing you with the flexibility that you need in order to maintain your goal of excellent business agility.

Notifying your Employees

Keeping your IT team and other relevant employees apprised of your contract situation and the occasional adjustments to your business model enables you to do two things. First, it means that everybody who can affect the intersection between business and technology knows what's going on and knows how changes in your business affect your cloud computing situation. Second, it means that your IT team has the power to suggest new changes to your managed services as your business shifts. Good communication helps keep your agile business model working at peak efficiency.

If you have a business in any sort of technological field or if you rely on remote networking at all, an agile business model is something you should consider. And when it comes to running an agile business that can make changes on the fly, making sure you have a flexible and friendly relationship with your managed service provider is of paramount importance. By keeping your options open and knowing the technology you are working with, you will be ready for anything.


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