Ballard Chalmers is a Microsoft Gold Partner and Cloud Services Provider. Our focus, however, is less on the mainstream Cloud services such as Office 365, VoIP, Unified Comms and other SaaS cloud software platform such as Salesforce. Our focus is on custom cloud application development and systems integration.
Basically, where you can’t buy it “off the shelf”, we will build what you need, modify and extend your existing systems, and integrate them all together into a modern cloud-based software platform. This creates the efficiency and productivity required in a modern digital workplace.
And not just cloud-only, we recognise that hybrid systems, combining functional off-line systems with modern cloud applications are in many cases the most efficient and cost-effective way to move forward with cloud enablement. We won’t recommend you throw out the baby with the bath water!
Developing Custom Cloud Applications
If you have existing software platforms that are functional and do the job, or indeed if you are an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) or have developed custom applications for your own use, then these can also be migrated to the cloud.
The easiest way is to just move the virtual machines (VMs) that host the application to a cloud service as is. However, these VMs are still servers that need to be supported, patched and backed up. A better way is to take advantage of the serverless cloud services, which for Microsoft Azure include:
- Azure AD
- Azure Functions
- Azure Logic Apps
- Azure SQL Database
All of these offer a serverless approach to application development, which we are expert in.
Automate Routine Tasks
Many cloud-based systems provide built-in productivity tools that allow power users to increase productivity by automating common repetitive tasks.
The Power Suite, part of Office365, provides several tools, these include:
- PowerApps: Creates web and mobile apps for a whole range of activities such as completing expense claims, health and safety reports, etc
- Power BI: Creates dashboards and reports that can be shared and presented online or on mobile devices
- Flow: Turn repetitive tasks into simple multistep workflows. For example: Take data from Twitter and add it to a CRM system, or approve a holiday request
- Forms: Create online forms for polls, surveys and pretty much anything you like
Moving Servers to the Cloud
Some businesses will have servers running applications that are a custom built or are otherwise not available in SaaS form. Often these are already running as a VM in technology such as VMWare or Microsoft Hyper-V. If not, then there is software available to create a VM for a physical server. These include VMware vCenter Converter from VMWare and Disk2VHD from Microsoft.
Moving Server VMs to the cloud is a standard process as well, and is supported by:
- Velostrata for migration VMs to the Google Cloud
- Azure Migrate from Microsoft
- AWS Server Migration Service from Amazon
Reduce Technical Overhead and Costs
All of this results in reduced technical overhead, and reduced costs. Your business runs on a suite of software in the cloud, all of it taken care of by the cloud managed service provider. No more servers under a desk, in a cupboard, or indeed in a data centre still requiring TLC to keep it running properly.
No more days spent configuring new laptops. Literally with a touch of a few buttons, you are up and running with all your systems and data available. And yes, it works, I just did it myself!
No more reliance on individual people with esoteric knowledge who decide they are moving to Bali…
And monthly costs with no major upgrade investments, so you can plan and control your IT spend, keeping it under control.
Become a Digital Workplace
The idea of a digital workplace is an environment where employees can find all of the information and processes they need to work successfully, digitally. Sharing their knowledge quickly and easily and acquiring help and information from colleagues they might otherwise not have had access to.
Collaboration is the foundation value of the digital workplace. Data from all implemented software systems are integrated so that they can work seamlessly together. This not only makes information and applications available but also promotes cross-location collaboration and knowledge exchange.
The free flow of information in the digital workplace has positive effects on the flexibility and innovative energy of modern companies. At the same time, it facilitates employee involvement and satisfaction by providing the right information to the right people at the right time.
The end result is people that can focus on their jobs and outputs with a minimum of distraction, and get results with greater efficiency, less cost, and greater job enjoyment!
Ballard Chalmers Can Help You
To find out more about Azure, the cloud or hybrid systems, or migrating applications to the Azure Cloud just follow these links. We would be happy to answer any questions you have or give you a consultation or quotation on what would be required for you to move to the cloud. Just get in touch on 01342410223 or email us here.