When a new technology launches these days, the chances are that the terms ‘cloud native’ and ‘Software-as-a-Service’ are not very far away.

From digital banking platforms to workflow management tools and even office applications like a spreadsheet, SaaS allows people to access systems wherever they are, via a variety of devices.

But when it comes to protecting customer and financial data, there are no shortcuts. For many established enterprises, switching over from legacy on-premise hardware to a cloud solution is incredibly risky if they do not find a trusted partner.

“The cloud was supposed to be about aggregating everything in a secure place which is managed effectively, driving greater value to reduce costs whilst also being kinder to the environment as we utilise data centres with renewable energy sources,” says James Penny, CTO of SysGroup.

“Cloud is not something mystical and mythical – it is experts looking after your workloads in a more efficient way.

“But sometimes it’s not possible or appropriate to take a legacy application that was built to be run in an on-premise server and put that into a public cloud – it just doesn’t work.”

Treat your people like your best customer

The Liverpool-headquartered firm, which recently opened a base in Manchester, can help enterprises take the right steps on their IT journey. By utilising the skills and knowledge of its team and the facilities available in the SysCloud Enterprise platform, SysGroup can make sure the right services are deployed in the right place.

The environments that SysGroup creates can support remote system updates as well as users securely working from home. Securing the environment to protect the value in a business is far from straightforward.

The first step for many organisations, says Penny, can be a co-location environment where the systems that are currently hosted in an organisation’s office can be moved to a secure data centre.

“Managing an on-premise solution rapidly becomes too expensive and periodic refreshing of hardware becomes too complex to manage. When looking at an enterprise’s software stack there are still not SaaS versions of every application yet, especially with very specialist software – so what’s the way forward?” he asks.

“SysGroup have a private Enterprise Cloud Platform, known as SysCloud, where we can simply and cost effectively provide a virtual environment built specifically for each customer. The environment has all the benefits of cloud with the ability to manage legacy software and hardware as necessary. If required, SysCloud can also seamlessly integrate with Public Cloud services including AWS and Azure.

“Also, from a security perspective the SysCloud environment ensures that services are protected with the latest versions of hardware and software implemented by default.”

In tech you need feet on the ground, eyes on the horizon

The key to digital transformation is understanding business needs and translating those needs into simple to understand solutions.

“Companies now want to move more quickly, add value and reduce cost,” says Penny. “For example, a customer might be closing two of their office sites and moving into rented space as a result of COVID so they take the opportunity to ask us to streamline their back office systems.

“We believe that consultative conversations with customers and prospects are essential. Many of them have legacy systems and want to take the next step into the cloud world but don’t quite know where to go. That’s our sweet spot and that’s our expertise.

“We can take them on a journey where they begin to stitch together in their mind the services they need to move their business forward. You can speak to a chief financial officer about the need to increase efficiency and go digital-first, which is ‘here and now’; but you can also start a hardcore machine learning and artificial intelligence conversation with a technical team about ways to significantly transform operations in the future.”

The cloud hosting and managed IT services provider, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market, has an impressive client roster including some of the high street’s most recognisable names.

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One organisation which has worked closely with SysGroup on their digital transformation journey is the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

“We’ve helped them on a journey that supported their vision to move to public cloud,” explains Penny. “Our consultants have helped them, step by step, understand how to make the transformation happen.”

Meaningful digital transformation may be executed over a period of several years. With legacy systems it is important to understand what those steps are to drive the maximum business impact.

“As part of the work we do we look at the IT workloads that organisations run and talk to them about their vision for the future, cross reference that back into what we’re seeing in the rest of the market and start to define their transformation journey,” concludes Penny.

“Our SysCloud Enterprise platform allows us to deliver innovative, leading-edge and enterprise-grade services for a broad range of customers.”