This is the first part of ORION’s blog series, Getting Your Head in the Cloud, about cloud technology and its adoption in Ontario’s research, education and innovation industries and enterprises.
In part 1, we hear from the president of Microsoft Canada in light of the company’s recent study about perceptions Canadian executives have towards cloud technology. This study was conducted on behalf of Microsoft Canada by Northstar, a globally integrated insights consulting firm, among 700 C-suite executives in Canada.
We are in the midst of one of the most transformational times in the history of technology. The cloud isn’t where we’re going, it’s where we are.
Cloud-based computing offers unprecedented solutions, cost savings, efficiency, productivity and reliability. It enables organizations – of any size, and in any sector – to collaborate, compete and excel in an increasingly mobile world. They are increasingly aware that they must embrace technology and harness its full potential in order to remain competitive and drive growth.
At Microsoft Canada, we have been tracking perceptions among C-suite decision makers from all types and sizes of organizations, in all parts of the country. Our annual surveys have revealed a growing understanding and appreciation of the competitive and productivity advantages offered by shifting to the cloud.
This year’s study, which was recently completed, found that more than half of those senior decision-makers – from SMB to enterprise level – believe that businesses will need to be in the cloud going forward. That’s a big improvement from last year’s finding that only 10 percent were familiar with the cloud and it’s potential for their businesses. We even found that a majority of the executives surveyed say they are currently discussing or implementing cloud computing technologies.
We’ve also seen a big shift away from thinking that the cloud was really just for enterprise, with significantly more SMBs and start-ups now adopting cloud solutions.
Not only does the research show that it makes sense, so too does actual experience. In a recent ITWorldCanada article, TD Bank explained how they migrated 98,000 employee email accounts from old exchange servers to our cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 suite. Not only were employees very happy with the ease of use and from-anywhere accessibility, but TD estimates the switch resulted in a 50 per cent cost saving.
The same holds true for what the cloud offers to Ontario’s innovation institutional sector: efficient workflows, security of mission critical data, delivered through solutions which are easy to implement. The beauty of the cloud is that it allows SMBs, and entrepreneurs, who often have smaller IT budgets, to leverage and benefit from the same technological capabilities which were previously only accessible to large corporations.
More than half of senior decision-makers – from SMB to enterprise level – believe that businesses will need to be in the cloud going forward.
Our survey found that security continues to be a concern among executives: 59% want control of their data and 41% want a partner with data centres residing in Canada. We recently announced the development of two brand new cloud data centres here in Canada – one in Toronto and one in Quebec. These data centres will be equipped with state of the art security measures, including:
- 24-hour monitoring
- Multi-factor authentication – including biometric scanning
- A lockbox process that strictly controls access to customer data
- Zero standing access – which means that, unlike on-premise environments, administrators do not have long standing permission and access to your data.
It’s an exciting time, as we watch the myriad ways in which technology is opening new doors to new ways of doing business through the power of the cloud. The promise and potential is staggering, and the possibilities limitless.