Success stories

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We work with organisations from all walks of life, with different ambitions and requirements. Explore how we’ve helped them reimagine everyday, and align technology with their culture and business goals.

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Making the case for legal transformation

Securing budget for legal tech means communicating a compelling case for legal transformation. Here we discuss how to do it.
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How General Counsel and Legal can become a game changer

Explore how contract lifecycle management can transform General Counsel and Legal into game changers!
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Why Legal teams should explore legal technology solutions

Explore how legal technology solutions are transforming the way corporate Legal teams work, especially with the advent of hybrid work.
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Digital transformation in legal – 5 steps to embrace change

Digital transformation in legal is a significant paradigm shift. To learn how to embrace change and get the benefits of transformation, read our blog.
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Artificial Intelligence is transforming the contract management process

Artificial intelligence is changing contract lifecycle management in a positive way. Find out how AI is helping organisations address contract challenges by enabling them to gain control and transparency over the contracts they have in place and the clauses within them.
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Technology partnership empowers mobile teams

Our new partnership with fissara gives our customers access to transformative solutions that make a real difference to mobile teams. Find out more.
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5 steps to a successful Azure migration

Migrating to the cloud can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn't have to be. Here we share 5 steps to ensure a successful Azure migration.
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Reimagine the user experience for frontline workers

Take your frontline workers on your digital transformation journey by focusing on the user experience. Read our blog post to learn more.
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2021 at Cloud Business, we’re ending on a high!

As is traditional at this time of year, we thought we would highlight some of our successes from the past 12 months.
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The problem of shadow IT and frontline workers

Frontline workers that have been overlooked when it comes to digital transformation, are at high risk of introducing shadow IT into an organisation.
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How migrating to the cloud accelerates digital transformation

How can migrating to the cloud accelerate your business' digital transformation journey? Find out here.
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Business drivers for digital transformation

What are your business drivers for digital transformation and why are they so important for a successful migration project? Find out here.
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Making the case for legal transformation

Most legal departments have a real desire to embrace legal transformation, but many are struggling to secure budget. According to Gartner, 87% of legal departments in 2020 expected their total number of in-house full-time employees to stay the same or decrease. Yet although legal teams have become very lean, the volume and complexity of the work has increased significantly. These teams need to innovate and adopt new technology to cope with market and internal pressures to do more with less.

Against this backdrop you might expect it would be easy to get agreement and budget for legal transformation, but that is not always the case.

Legal departments are often viewed by the wider organisation as risk-oriented cost centres, a reactive function that supports its internal stakeholders. To make a compelling case for legal transformation, the legal team need to be viewed as a proactive, strategic resource. A function aligned with strategic goals, a business enabler, and a creative partner.

How to secure budget for legal transformation

The new role for Legal as a proactive partner is already happening in some progressive organisations. Heads of Legal and General Counsel have redefined the legal function and proven that it can drive business efficiencies, be more competitive and add real value.

They are securing budget for transformation because they communicate the technology business case using data: by demonstrating economical value and the wider positive impact on the organisation.

If you want to deploy new technology to transform your legal function, here are some strategies for building a compelling business case:

Align Legal with the overall organisation

Take a good look at your organisation’s business and market sector, and assess how Legal is supporting your organisation’s activities – particularly those areas that are key to the business meeting its objectives. Identify where Legal is already delivering value and supporting business goals, and the areas that are underserviced.

Follow the money and explore where Legal can contribute more economical value.

Communicate your vision for Legal

Create a departmental mission statement and set objectives. The mission statement should reflect the organisation’s wider strategy and the benefits Legal can offer through your department’s skills and competencies. Your objectives should be realistic, should support the organisation’s strategic initiatives and / or deliver high value, bringing the highest revenue or cost savings to the organisation.

Communicate this to management and get their agreement.

Define a legal technology roadmap

A legal technology roadmap provides stakeholders with the bigger picture. When they can see how the roadmap aligns technology with strategic objectives, they will find it harder to oppose legal transformation.

Identify the technology that will enable you to deliver on your objectives. Prioritise technology using the following criteria:

  1. User-friendly,
  2. Frees-up human resources for higher-value tasks,
  3. Quick to deploy and scalable,
  4. Secure,
  5. Drives measurable value for the organisation.

A successful legal technology roadmap will also be designed to evolve with changes in the corporate environment and advancements in the technology market.

Legal tech budgets are increasing!

If you’re finding it hard to secure budget for legal tech, you may not agree with this statement. But a Gartner survey of legal leaders suggests that in an environment where legal is expected to reduce spend and find cost savings, spend on legal tech will increase threefold by 2025.

Supported by other trends, such as the decrease in the proportion of legal spending on outside counsel (with more work shifted in-house), legal spending is now being channelled into technology.

Legal departments that can leverage technology solutions to drive greater efficiency in-house can give their organisation a competitive edge. If your organisation hasn’t seized this opportunity to either get ahead or remain competitive, that’s another compelling case for legal transformation!

Support making the case for legal transformation

Many of the reasons given for resisting legal transformation are the same experienced by IT departments when making the case for digital transformation.

Legacy systems, a risk-aversive culture, lack of corporate vision, cyber security concerns, and poor collaboration between the department and lines of business, are often cited as barriers to adoption.

As digital transformation experts we’ve helped many teams overcome these barriers, make the case for modern workplace technology, and successfully deploy and adopt technology that delivers real value.

In our experience, successful transformation involves taking a people-centric approach. It’s about understanding how people work, how their activities are aligned to business goals, and how technology can make their working lives better. Then it’s about taking people on the transformation journey with us, so we get their buy in and support for whatever solutions are deployed. This maximises technology adoption and ensures the business gets ROI from its technology investment.

To learn more about how your team can get the benefits of legal transformation, click here.

If you would like to discuss how you can make the case for legal transformation in your organisation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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How General Counsel and Legal can become a game changer

Are you looking for new ways you, General Counsel (GC) and Legal teams, can contribute real value to your organisation? Become a game changer?

Legal transformation provides General Counsel with a great opportunity to make a real difference; by reducing costs, increasing productivity, managing risk exposure and by positioning Legal as a dynamic function instead of a cost centre and risk-oriented function.

Let’s explore one area where you can make a significant contribution: Contract Lifecycle Management.

But first, a question. Do you have a contract lifecycle management problem?

  • Are you frustrated when business units send a contract request with little to no information about the details of the agreement, igniting a seemingly endless stream of email exchanges?
  • Do you feel like you’re constantly reinventing the wheel with each drafting of a contract?
  • Is reviewing, then re-reviewing contracts excessively time-consuming and tedious?
  • Do you ever feel that simple contracts (e.g. NDAs) could easily be handled by the business unit itself?
  • Do you spend too much time trying to track down a single contract?
  • Do you find yourself dealing with complex issues with the pressure to turn agreements around faster?

If you answered “no” to all these questions, congratulations you may NOT have a contract management problem. Also, what’s your secret? 

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions like the rest of us, then you may indeed have a contract management problem.

Before you give up your bar license and pursue that pre-law school dream of being an artist, writer, or rock star (I wanted to be all three), there is hope. Life as a General Counsel, particularly when it comes to managing your organisation’s contracts, doesn’t have to be this challenging. There are contract lifecycle management technologies that leverage automation and artificial intelligence. As a result, this helps corporate legal departments increase their efficiencies and improve overall work satisfaction.

What is Contract Lifecycle Management?

For any mid-sized or large company, there is a tremendous pressure on the legal department to stay on top of the organisation’s contracts. Think of the number of potential legal and financial risks and obligations that may exist in any given contract. Now, multiply those risks and obligations by the total number of contracts being handled by your organisation (usually in the tens-of-thousands). See the issue?

Effective contract management will allow you to locate contracts and assess their risks and obligations quickly and effectively. It should ensure contract requests are delegated to the appropriate department and drafted efficiently, leveraging the company’s preferred clause library. When the board of directors wants an audit of all the orgnaisation’s contracts to fully understand revenue, expenses and risk – how quickly can that be done? A few days? A few weeks? Then, when you’ve completed the task, is that data long forgotten and no longer needed? Good contract management should be able to empower the legal department to gather data quickly to better advise on the health of the business as it stands today.

How Contract Lifecycle Management technology makes your job easier

Contract lifecycle management technology leveraging automation and artificial intelligence can improve the sense of tedium and boredom associated with mundane tasks. These are often handled by the legal team, such as:

  • Locating a contract in a single repository should be as easy as running a simple word search
  • Receiving and processing contract requests should be done on one platform with a complete audit trail of date and time stamps. Say goodbye to those never-ending email exchanges!
  • Faster drafting of legally compliant contracts leveraging a playbook/clause library of preferred language
  • Reviewing third-party paper can go from pressing “Control + F[ind]” for searching legal words or phrases, to simply uploading a contract and extracting legal concepts in their legally relevant context

Creating effective workflows so that the right contracts are being automatically delegated to the appropriate department.

Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

OK, but won’t some of this technology replace my job?

A magazine headline stated: “Automation’s Really Here; Jobs go Scarce. POINT OF NO RETURN FOR EVERYBODY.”

Whether this magazine was trying to sell more copies or really warning off some impending doom, it’s enough to make you feel uneasy. Funnily enough, that headline is from a Life Magazine issue from July 19, 1963.

Relax. Your job isn’t going anywhere. Might it change a bit? Sure. But you have nothing to fear.

Contract lifecycle management technology can make your job as a General Counsel more important and valuable to the business. Sure, you won’t be able to brag about all that “hard work” you did searching for contracts in emails, zip drives, or in those drawers under that semi-comatose plant. The horror! Is that what you sacrificed your artist/writer/rock star career for anyways? Nope. You got into this work to be helpful, to feel valued, and to pay the bills.

Too often, corporate legal departments are viewed as cost-centres. They don’t generate revenue like the sales team and frankly, you’re never the popular one when all you do is discuss risk and argue over legal and financial exposure. 

With effective contract lifecycle management technology, you are:

  • Elevating your own role: Instead of being the legal naysayer and being met with boardroom (or is it a “bored room?”) *eye-rolls,* you can now better advise on the health of the business because you have meaningful information extracted from your contracts.
  • Helping the company avoid class actions: By having insight into your contract’s legal obligations, you’ll know what duties are owed between you and your business partners.
  • Helping the company save money: When you create those important date alerts for your vendors who impose autorenewal clauses, you can get ahead of that and prevent revenue leakage.
  • A Peacemaker between the legal team and the business units: There is often tension between legal and the other business units. By increasing effective communications and workflows, you may actually enjoy that happy hour with your colleagues.
  • You are helping bring your company into the future by leveraging advanced technology: Artificial intelligence and automation can help you do some tasks faster and we will still need your legal guidance.

Contract lifecycle management for Legal teams is… fun?

Someone recently told me that contract lifecycle management is “fun.” That was a new adjective. The rationale? Contract management allows you to assess risk and obligations.

“Lawyers love researching and fact-finding. Uncovering information from my contracts by leveraging good technology is a kind of fun adventure! And if I can find information that is meaningful to my job, and helpful to my company, then it is fun and rewarding!”

While I’m not expecting Steven Spielberg to start the production of “Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Corporate Contracts” anytime soon, contract lifecycle management can indeed be an interesting, rewarding, and indeed, fun process.

We’ve talked about some of the company-wide benefits that contract lifecycle management can offer your team. However, does it provide any benefits to you?

What about the benefits it offers you?

The contract lifecycle management solution will do your grunt work. This will allow you to focus on the things you enjoy doing more.

You can draft contracts with consistent and legally compliant language. That may let you sleep a little better. Other benefits include:

  • Real-time analysis. Your legal expertise is going to be more valuable when you’re able to advise on the health of the business as it is today, not 3 months ago.
  • Improved communication. Your job will be more rewarding when technology helps improve communication and workflows between you and your colleagues.
  • Fun! You became a lawyer to research, write, think critically, and to be a trusted advisor. When you have good data upon which to draw and not spending an inordinate amount of time digging, you get to do the fun stuff.

To the Life Magazine issue from 1963, you were right: contract lifecycle management that leverages automation and artificial intelligence is here to stay. Although with all these benefits to your company and professional life, I’m not sure it’s something to fear. Just think: this emerging technology could free up some time for you to pursue a side hustle as an artist/writer/rockstar. Worst case scenario? You’re the inspiration for the next “Indiana Jones” film!

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Why Legal teams should explore legal technology solutions

After two years of remote and hybrid work, one thing is clear: a distributed workforce is the ‘new normal,’ forcing corporate legal departments and companies to ‘go digital’ and online – almost completely.

But consider for a moment the multitude of files and the thousands of agreements – often still in paper formats – contained in every business. No wonder in-house corporate counsel still struggle to manage documents efficiently and effectively, particularly while working from home (WFH).

Fortunately, legal technology solutions can help general counsels (GCs) and legal teams stay on top of contracts and related documents; and maintain business continuity during these times. In fact, the latest digital tools can change the way GCs and legal teams operate for the better. They allow them to streamline the contract management process – and even eliminate manual contract review altogether – so that they can focus on higher-value, strategic work. They are as cost-effective and they are time-saving, too.

According to a recent survey by Artificial Lawyer, 42 percent of GCs and chief legal officers (CLOs) plan to adopt legal technology solutions to improve contracting efficiency in the next year or so. Here we explore the reasons to consider adopting and implementing legal technology solutions for your own legal team and organisation.

4 reasons to adopt legal technology

1. Collaborating more with your Legal team

As the COVID-19 pandemic and remote working continues, companies have grown accustomed to collaboration tools, like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack. Although these tools are great for contacting team members rather quickly, it is equally important to have the right tools for proper document review.

A legal technology solution like a contract lifecycle management (CLM) system keeps all contracts and associated documents in a single digital repository. That means your legal, sales, and procurement teams can access the same agreements – from any one place, at any given time.

What is more, such solutions allow amendments, changes, and errors in contracts to be reviewed on the system. And that means preventing agreements from being sent out through SharePoint or emails – and perhaps finally getting rid of fax machines!

2. Narrowing down the search

Today, the average company has 20,000 to 40,000 active contracts. As a result, GCs and legal teams without legal tech must go through abundant agreements filled with countless clauses to find keywords and dates, and other pertinent information.

In addition to keeping contracts accessible and secure, CLM software allows legal departments to not only see all contracts at the same time, but also search for a keyword or date, and filter out contracts that are unneeded. A system with OCR search, for example, goes a long way in finding legal obligations in agreements, and driving collaboration and consensus within companies. Legal technology solutions with this feature can therefore change the way organizations operate altogether.

3. Retaining your competitive advantage

As stated above, with the changing circumstances around work comes brand-new responsibilities. Many legal departments now struggle with an increased volume of contracts and documents. And agreements that are not digitised in the first place are rather difficult to keep track of in companies.

So, due to pandemics and other possible crises, legal can no longer afford to stick to manual, linear ways of working. In fact, legal tech will be essential for business continuity moving forward.

CLM systems, with the features and capabilities noted above, eliminate the stresses intrinsically tied to contract management. They provide GCs and legal teams with a huge competitive advantage. They help them to advance on their digital transformation journey and excel during especially challenging periods.

4. Choosing the right legal technology solutions

Let’s face it, then, the legal tech industry is booming: there are hundreds of technology vendors on the market today.

However, the right technology solution not only involves an advanced system, but also a short implementation process, ongoing technological support, and a simple user interface. That way, all departments that need the solution can use it to its maximum potential.

According to the same survey mentioned above, contract management remains the number one legal tech priority for most legal professionals: 67 percent choose to focus investment on this specific area. And this makes sense given contracts are the “lifeblood” of the business. They tell everyone involved how to interact, operate, and conduct the company’s relationships.

Nevertheless, beginning a legal digital transformation project can be difficult at first. And looking for a reliable solution like a CLM system can be overwhelming.

With this in mind, feel free to contact our team to discuss the technology that could support your team. We take a people-centric approach to recommending modern workplace solutions. We explore what they need to work effectively, be more successful in the things they do, the technology they use (and like or dislike), and the technology deployed throughout the organisation as a whole. We also explore your security and compliance risk posture, to make sure that our recommendations are aligned with your organisation’s needs.

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss further.

Digital transformation in legal – 5 steps to embrace change

Digital transformation in legal is a significant paradigm shift. It is impacting legal counsels both within the corporate world as well as at law firms, and management consultants have made a tidy practice of it. Practically speaking, you can barely open a business or legal publication without finding a headline that discusses embracing digital.

General counsel, in-house legal departments, and contract teams are not immune to the business paradigm. Digitisation continues to take hold of all aspects of the consumer and corporate life. When this happens in the legal industry, embrace the change. On a broad stroke, it is easy to state. But is this really the case? Below is our 5 step guide to help you.

Explore CB Legal for in-house legal teams and law firms. Click here >

1. Incremental change – not big bang

There are many different approaches to tackling digital transformation in legal departments. However, from our experience, in-house legal teams that take an incremental approach are more likely to succeed with their initiatives.

Nobody said that change management is easy. Digital technologies bring a significant improvement in cost-effectiveness to many traditional functions. It has to be applied with a sound strategy of a step-by-step approach that doesn’t leave your people behind. In fact, your people are the most important aspect of ensuring the change takes root. In this light, adjusting your corporate culture is among the greatest challenges. Digital technologies bring improvement to cost-effectiveness.

Taking a “land and expand” approach means that changes are made progressively. Lessons are learned along the way and the culture can also adapt along the way.

2. Out-of-the-box, not bespoke

When you think about digital transformation in legal, too many people immediately think about custom coded projects. Upon choosing a legal technology product, think along the lines of getting up and running out-of-the-box (OOTB). Whether it is a legal artificial intelligence system or a specialised application, bespoke invariably delays projects. It adds costs. Worse yet, it increases the risk of failure.

A major tip to remember is to avoid the temptation to go down a bespoke route. It is better to deploy an OOTB digital system, use it and learn it’s capabilities. Then configure and adapt it to your own new need. After that, consider whether the solution is good enough for your requirements. In many cases, you will discover that the initial reaction to customise the solution was simply not needed. Usually, the digital product provides for all user needs without incurring additional costs, deployment time, and headaches.

3. Find internal champions

Digital transformation in legal teams and corporations involves people. Specifically, it means gaining momentum within the organisation through user adoption. This is true of any initiative, whether it is bringing on new legal services, machine learning analytics, or new contract management technology. At Cloud Business, we find that an industry best practice is to appoint user/product champions.

Champions are well-recognised employees who are respected internally. They know the existing systems and standard processes used by your organisation. They also become the voice of the product and socialise its benefits within the employee groups and legal teams. 

Establish goals your team can make to achieve one KPI using the new system. Cultivating these champions are important as they become your key drivers of behaviour change. Through their influence, respect, and ground-floor knowledge; they help adapt to the organisation and culture. Embracing digital becomes less of a stress and burden. Rather, with the help of the champions, it becomes an opportunity for success.

4. It’s about the business outcomes

Don’t get trapped in the details of features and the functionality of your new digital system. Yes, these are great. They may even be strides ahead of your old methods. Instead, keep the conversations focused on the business outcomes that your team and company set out to achieve. At every opportunity, establish goals your team can make for your team to achieve one project or KPI (key performance indicator), using the new system.

As an example, with a new contract management system, you should first find out how the analytics work. Then, set a goal that for the next executive meeting where the legal contracts team will run a discovery phase. Finally, provide the general counsel with a report with statistics about your typical contract financial expectations.

5. Setting realistic benchmarks

Although it is tempting, don’t give in to set excessively ambitious targets. Setting a return on investment (ROI) benchmark is a good thing but setting the bar too high can only demoralise your team. Remember, digital transformation in legal is as much about shifting a cultural mindset as it is introducing new processes, ways of working, and new technology systems.

Instead, think through what you should reasonably expect within the next six, twelve and even twenty-four months. Engender a willingness to experiment. Do this by being willing to forgive the occasional miss on your targets. After all, if you hit all your ROI goals and KPI targets, then you simply did not set realistically aggressive-enough goals.

Ultimately, it comes down to supporting your in-house legal team’s long-term success. Keep the team motivated and focused on pursuing excellence. Digital transformation in legal is all about a shift in mindset, a goal-oriented team, and building a culture of success.

Feel free to connect with us at Cloud Business to discuss how we can help you on your journey of digital transformation in legal, specific to contract management.

Artificial Intelligence is transforming the contract management process

Inefficient contract management can cause organisations to lose up to 40% of the value of a given deal, depending on the circumstances or challenges encountered. Thankfully technological developments like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are helping in-house legal teams and law firms overcome many challenges related to contracting.

How are these revolutionary technologies helping the world of contract management? Let’s first have a look at some of challenges associated with it.

What are the challenges in contract management?

The main challenge firms face with the process of contracting is the volume of contracts they must track. Organisations often have difficulty organising, managing, and updating their numerous contracts. As a result, inefficient contract management can cause firms to lose 5-40% of value on a deal.

Without a central database of contracts, there’s no efficient way to see how a specific topic is worded across different divisions. Or, how complex agreements have been written in the past.

It takes an enormous amount of people-power to create, edit, and finalise contracts. Also, to manage the facilitation and processing of them all. In fact, in one study, over half of the legal professionals pointed to the administrative tasks of contracts as one of their biggest pain points.

Furthermore, inefficiencies related to traditional contract management can lead to several issues. This includes unauthorised access, missed deadlines, and compliance and regulation violations. 

How can AI and ML help you address the challenges of traditional contract management?

Harvard Business Review says the use of AI via a contract management solution “has the potential to improve how all firms contract – and it will do so in three ways: by changing the tools firms use to contract, influencing the content of contracts, and affecting the processes by which firms’ contract.”

The change, influence, and effect of a contract management solution built on AI and utilising ML can best be described in one word – consistency.

1: One common tool

With one common tool for everyone in an organisation to use, employees have a shared solution. Better yet a shared solution with a core set of rules and best practices built-in.

A CLM built on AI allows for designated access controls to make sure the right contracts are seen and approved by the proper people. This approval process can be as rigid as you want it to be.

2: A set of ‘eyes’ on every contract

The capacity of a contract management solution built on AI is almost limitless. First, the solution retains the knowledge of hundreds of thousands of contracts. Then, it uses the information gleaned from each when reviewing new agreements. The capacity of a contract management solution built on AI is almost limitless.

In addition, it discerns the patterns from agreement to agreement. It then uses these assumptions to create, edit, and finalize future contracts. So, it becomes ‘the expert,’ eliminating any bias or arguments over who is the authority.

3: One standard process to follow

By removing the need for tribal knowledge in an organisation, AI-powered CLM becomes the source for the efficient workflow of contracting. Also, without the need for employees to manage the process of the contract, time and money will be saved.

A clearly defined procedure for your contract management will consistently and accurately allow for the movement of the contract. So, when employees are freed from the administrative and repetitive tasks identified as pain points, they can focus on higher-value work.

An AI-powered contract management system is continuously learning

The CLM system is designed to get smarter the more it is used. Artificial intelligence is the platform on which ContractPodAi; our recommended CLM is built. Machine learning is the training process used for this platform and the reason why the solution can ingest hundreds of thousands of contracts from legacy systems and retain something from all of them.

Technology such as AI and ML allows us to meet the needs of the rapidly transforming legal industry. So, as the role of legal professions evolve, the need for tools such as an intelligent contract management solution becomes critical.

If you have questions about the role AI and ML can play in transforming your contract management process, we’d be delighted to help. Please get in touch or learn more about technology for legal teams below.

Technology partnership empowers mobile teams

GUILDFORD, UK. 1 FEBRUARY 2022 – Cloud Business, a specialist cloud technology and managed services provider, today announces a new partnership with fissara, a technology company designing, developing and delivering Operational Management Software. 

The partnership’s combined offering of consultancy services, managed support and workforce management solutions will see Cloud Business and fissara help customers empower their mobile teams and bring them on the digital transformation journey. 

Cloud Business customers, working in partnership with fissara, will benefit from solutions like fissara Manage, which streamlines operations management. fissara removes the need for paper-based working with easy-to-use desktop and mobile apps, enhanced digital job management, intelligent scheduling, asset management and job-by-job stock control.​  

“We are very excited to be partnering with Cloud Business, who have an extensive knowledge of digital working. We specialise in connecting people, objects, locations and events focussing on the needs of a mobile workforce. This has become even more important over the last two years as businesses strive to digitally transform a dispersed workforce, whilst driving efficiencies and wasting less. Our experience in building innovative mobile centric solutions coupled with Cloud Business’s knowledge of the digital transformation will create very compelling propositions for any modern business.”

Jon Holttum, CEO, fissara

Customers, like Motorola and O2, save time and money when their mobile workforce, including engineers and line managers, use fissara Manage. Complex processes can be automated, and real time data enhances decision-making and resource planning. Combined with Cloud Business’ award-winning managed support, end users get technology to transform the way they work and the support they need to get real value from their apps and services. 

“The mobile workforce, like many frontline workers, can be overlooked when organisations embark on digital transformation. Productivity and collaboration solutions are often designed for desk-based information workers, not end users out in the field. Partnering with fissara gives our customers access to transformative solutions that make a real difference to mobile teams. Helping them work more efficiently, improving communications and collaboration, and ensuring they’re getting the benefits of cloud technology and the modern workplace.” 

Gary Duke, Cloud Business

For more information about fissara visit 

About Cloud Business 

Cloud Business is a specialist cloud technology company delivering modern workplace solutions. The team takes a people-centred approach by putting customers’ end users at the heart of everything they do. It’s an approach led by people and their objectives rather than technology. 

Founded in 2012, Cloud Business’ expertise in IT Strategy, Digital Transformation, IT Support, Infrastructure, and Network & Security has helped hundreds of ambitious companies – like ASOS, Tui, and Everyman Cinemas – modernise and innovate. 

Cloud Business’ success is driven by its customers’ success. Services are aligned with their customers’ objectives to help their businesses grow, increase agility and sustainability, and compete in challenging markets. 

About fissara 

fissara is a dynamic software organisation focusing on developing and delivering modern cloud software. Its products are designed for any size of business and are scalable, flexible, expandable and more importantly affordable.

The solutions enable the management of services, assets, processes, customers, schedules, data and people within one single environment. fissara’s business approach is to change the buying behaviour of organisations and move them from a large initial capital expense solution to a low cost of ownership highly flexible subscription service.  

fissara typically works with businesses that provide vital support to important specialist and national infrastructures, critical services, field-based engineering and those involved in delivering and maintaining sustainable energy in the UK. 

5 steps to a successful Azure migration

There are many ways that organisations use cloud technologies in 2022, with everything from cloud storage to big data analytics. Over the past two years, the rise in remote and hybrid working has increased trust and understanding of the public cloud, and it is predicted that many businesses will migrate more workloads to the cloud in 2022 than ever before.

Gartner predicts that global spending on cloud services will reach over $482 billion in 2022, up from $313 billion in 2020.

Out of the three major public cloud providers, AWS, Microsoft and Google, Microsoft Azure has the broadest feature set. Any organisation can migrate to Azure, regardless of the workload. 

Moving to the cloud has a multitude of benefits for businesses, including cost savings, stronger security, the ability to scale, and more. But while business leaders and IT teams understand these benefits, they are often reluctant to migrate to the cloud due to the migration process itself. 

In this article we will discuss the 5 steps required to ensure a successful Azure migration.

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A successful Azure migration in 5 steps

Step 1: Assess current situation

The first step to a successful Azure migration is to assess your organisation’s current situation. Within this assessment, you should consider what on-premises workload will be moved to the cloud. This will include which applications, the amount of data transfer necessary to move to the cloud, the maximum and minimum levels of compute currently required, the policy and procedures, and which users currently rely on the workload. 

Although the Azure Cloud is feature rich, if your business uses legacy applications, they may not be compatible with an Azure’s PaaS, this may require the use of IaaS, which can be more costly than remaining on-premises. The amount of data transfer is a key factor influencing the time it will take to complete a migration. Finally, it is important understand user requirements, as the user experience will be paramount to the success of an Azure migration.

Step 2: Decide on a migration method

There is no single method of Azure migration, as every organisation has different requirements, technical expertise, and ambitions from the project. Some of the common types of migration include lift and shift, refactoring and replatforming.

Lift and shift is the simplest form of migration and is simply moving all data and applications from on-premises servers to the cloud. Refactoring is where a business will move data and applications to the cloud, whilst re-architecting them to better suit the cloud environment. Finally, replatforming is in between the other two examples, where applications are moved to the cloud, with minor modifications to take advantage of the new cloud infrastructure.

Step 3: Plan the migration

There are multiple stages to an Azure migration, and a well-planned migration will result in more effective use of cloud infrastructure, with less impact to the users of the systems. In this stage, IT teams must also consider security and compliance to ensure that they are protected from current and future cyberthreats. Unfortunately, organisations that do not adequately plan their migration often have to move their systems back to on-premises after the migration to make corrections. This is a costly and disruptive exercise that can hurt your modernisation strategy. You can avoid it by involving a trusted IT partner for the planning and implementation of an Azure migration.

Step 4: Migrate

Once the plan is finalised, either your IT team or IT partner can migrate the workload to the Azure cloud. This is generally completed out-of-hours when employees do not require access to the IT systems as there may be periods of downtime. It is common for organisations to start small, by migrating a section of files, or applications to ensure that everything is working as intended, before ramping up and the number of files, users, tools, apps and databases migrated to the Azure cloud.

Step 5: Optimise

After the migration is complete, it’s time to monitor the new cloud environment to identify any issues, possible areas of optimisation or cost savings, as well as ways that the user experience can be improved. This optimisation process should be ongoing, as the ways in which users interact with IT systems often change over time, and there are new updates to applications and the Azure cloud that can necessitate further changes down the line.

Looking to migrate to Azure?

If your organisation still has legacy, on-premises infrastructure, migrating to the Azure cloud can provide many benefits, most notably, cost savings and the ability to scale quickly and easily. If you don’t have the technical expertise in-house for an Azure migration project, or if you want to find out whether Azure is right for you, please get in touch.

Reimagine the user experience for frontline workers

Frontline workers are the public face of their organisations. From engineers, maintenance teams, and drivers, to retail assistants, healthcare workers, and hospitality staff, these are often the people charged with delivering the best possible experience for customers.

But what about your frontline workers’ user experience? Do they have the right tools and technology to do their jobs to deliver an exemplary customer experience?

In many cases the answer is no. A Forrester study  found that there are significant gaps between the perceptions of management and the user experience of frontline workers. While 50% of managers believe their teams have the technology they need to work productively, only 23% of frontline workers agree that they have the right tools to do their jobs.

Cinderella syndrome and digital transformation

When it comes to digital transformation, frontline workers often feel like the neglected Cinderellas of their organisations. In many companies, digital transformation focuses on office-based employees (information workers), not the mobile workforce or those on the shopfloor. This results in digital inequalities, leading to frontline workers feeling under-supported and disengaged. 

Those effected are a sizeable percentage of the global population (2 billion plus) and on average make up over half of an organisation’s workforce. So, it’s no surprise to learn that when they do have the right technology in their hands, they can make a real difference to an organisation’s bottom line. 

A 2018 Forbes Insight/Microsoft survey found that “31% of organisations that have the highest degree of digital connectivity and empowerment—involving more than 75% of their frontline workers—saw more than 20% growth over the past year.”

How to deliver the best possible user experience for frontline workers

Providing technology for frontline workers is not just a case of giving them secure access to existing corporate systems and apps. It’s about making sure the technology delivers the best possible user experience, to boost adoption, productivity and see positive ROI from your technology investment.

Any digital transformation journey should start with a discovery phase to get an in depth understanding of your end users’ needs, challenges, working environment, existing technology, day-to-day activities, and objectives. This must involve talking to those people on the frontline, listening to their concerns and desires, and collaborating with them to identify the best possible solutions and to design a roadmap for a successful transformation project.

We believe that it is essential to get buy in from end users from the offset, taking them on the journey, rather than enforcing a technology change on them.

Key areas to think about include:

  • Mobility: frontline workers such as engineers, drivers, maintenance teams and travel, hospitality & retail assistants are mobile by nature of their jobs. They need tools that are portable and the ability to connect securely to corporate networks, such as via cellular-connected devices.
  • Collaborative technology: many frontline workers work in isolation and rely on updates from managers, teammates and even customers to manage their day-to-day tasks. Technology that enables digital communication and collaboration, and provides them with real-time access to information such as customer records and job information, drives efficiencies and increases productivity.
  • Automation: repetitive and time-consuming tasks can be automated to free up frontline workers to focus on higher value work, like delivering a fantastic customer experience.

Empowering frontline workers

By understanding what your frontline users need to achieve and the current problems they face, you can put the user experience at the heart of your organisation’s digital transformation and empower your frontline workforce.

If you need a few more reasons to do so, here are 6 to get you started:

1. Improves operational efficiencies, cost savings and profitability

Process automation and digitally empowered frontline workers deliver greater cost savings, reduce unnecessary manual effort and management, and improve workforce efficiencies.

2. Increases productivity and collaboration between teams

Research has proven that digitally empowered frontline workers increase their productivity and performance. Increased collaboration also supports business innovation, making it easier to test new ideas and innovate.

3. Enhances decision making by capturing more data and real time metrics

Digitally empowered frontline workers can capture and access more data that leads to better decision-making both for the individual and the business as a whole.

4. Better customer satisfaction, boosting loyalty and brand reputation

Frontline workers are the public face of many organisations, and often the only point of contact. By empowering your workers with the right technology they have a greater ability to resolve issues fast and provide a better customer experience.

5. Empowers frontline teams to serve customers from anywhere

Boosting digital empowerment among frontline workers directly impacts the bottom line. When frontline workers can serve customers effectively with the right tools and information at their fingertips, they increase productivity, deliver results faster, and increase sales and revenue.

6: Boosts morale, employee engagement and satisfaction

When frontline workers are valued stakeholders in the digital transformation journey, organisations experience increased levels of job satisfaction, engagement, and a greater sense of connectedness. Digital technologies can help connect your frontline workforce to the company brand and culture, reducing churn and boosting morale.

2021 at Cloud Business, we’re ending on a high!

2021 has been another year of ups and downs, twists and turns for all of us. While a much-needed semblance of normality returned over the summer months, more recently Omicron has reminded us that ‘normal’ is a bit of an abstract concept.

At Cloud Business we are grateful for the opportunities we’ve had in recent months to meet face-to-face, attend events like the Surrey Business Awards and work alongside each other again. Those human interactions away from Teams video meetings, have been so important for reconnecting with colleagues, customers, partners and other human beings! With a return to work from home, we know that we have the agility, resilience and technology to keep moving forward, but we hope that those freedoms will return as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Digital transformation in 2021

Although 2021 has been another year of uncertainty and challenges, we’re ending the year on a high! As is traditional at this time of year, we thought we would highlight some of our successes from the past 12 months.

As a specialist Cloud Technology and Managed Services company, we have had a critical role in helping our customers adapt to remote and hybrid work models. Digital transformation has accelerated massively in the last 2 years and the new way of working has provided many organisations with opportunities to increase productivity, streamline operations and drive efficiencies. 

In fact, earlier this year we were featured in a Sky TV programme on digital transformation and COVID 19. The world’s rapid and agile response to the pandemic and speedy adoption of technology to aid us throughout, is the focus of “Digital Transformation: A Strategic Approach”. If you missed the broadcast, you can watch below:

Trends in Managed Services

Demand for Managed Services has increased significantly in the last 2 years. Many organisations, including our customers, have experienced higher demand for end user support as employees and customers work remotely. Extended and out-of-hours support requirements have also increased to help organisations cope with flexible working, where end users work around other commitments and often outside of traditional business hours. 

Many of our customers have also outsourced more IT functions to us, so they can free up their IT teams to focus on other activities. 

Over the last 12 months we’ve on boarded some fantastic new customers. Key business drivers for outsourcing IT are often around improving the end user experience. The need to centralise the service desk for global users, provide 24×7 support, EUC management, device and peripheral procurement are also common reasons to outsource IT. 

As an example, for one of our new customers we have delivered the following:

  • A centralised 24×7 service desk for 300 global users
  • Support for all line of business applications, with integration into GSuite for SSO
  • Multi-channel service portal including chat, email, phone and portal
  • Bespoke service catalog which includes a workstation and peripheral ordering process and delivery process
  • Deployment of Microsoft InTune for device management including Microsoft Autopilot for Windows & Apple Manager for MacOS, to leverage the ability to ship devices ready to be user provisioned

In just a few months since on boarding this customer we have hit 100% responsiveness and over 92% resolution SLAs. We’ve also increased end user satisfaction significantly, compared to customer’s previous support resource, with over 30 “excellent” survey responses to date.

Our Service Desk Management Team has invested considerable time this year enhancing the user experience with a host of new measures. These include a new ITSM tool, a new platform for our customers’ self-service portals, dedicated service desk teams, bespoke support channels and incentives and awards for team members who champion the user experience.

Cyber security focus in 2021 and beyond

Our cyber security practice has had a busy year helping customers secure remote and hybrid work models, and ensure they are ahead of new threats created by the pandemic.

Zero trust platforms, multi-factor authentication and end user training are the key focus areas to protect organisations today. As ransomware attacks are increasing year-on-year, with phishing the most common attack vector, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and end user training are the most effective ways to reduce the likelihood of an attack. ZTNA is also a more secure option for managing remote access compared to VPNs.

On our customers’ behalf, we’ve also been reviewing the cyber security controls they have in place and what is and isn’t enabled. For example, multi-factor authentication (MFA) which helps protect against brute force attacks and stolen passwords. While some end users may grumble about the extra security step to login, it really isn’t onerous and provides much better protection than just a password; however complex that might be.

If there’s one thing you want to do before the Christmas holidays we recommend enabling MFA on all available platforms. This is one simple action you can take to prevent 99.9 percent of attacks on your accounts.

Cyber Security as a Service

This year we have also introduced some additional cyber security services to help better protect our customers. Phishing and Security Awareness as a Service, is in direct response to the rise in phishing attacks and provides a ‘hands free’ training and awareness subscription service via campaigns, on demand training modules and intelligent reporting to help identify weaknesses.

We have also had a lot of interest in our Cyber Security Posture Assessment service which explores the organisation’s current level of threat activity and risk level/vulnerability exposure. Using the output from this assessment, organisations can benchmark where they are now, the adequacy of existing security control against their risk level and industry threat landscape, their level of compliance required by industry, relevant regulatory authorities & international best practices, and prioritise remediation activities.

Surrey Business Awards

In November, we dusted off the black tie to attend our first in person awards event since the pandemic. The venue, Denbies Wine Estate, lived up to expectations, rolling out the red carpet for the finalists, sponsors and their guests.

Attending an event was exciting after months of virtual activities but walking away with the most prestigious award of the night, Company of the Year, was quite overwhelming. We are delighted that the award sponsor, NatWest, thought we were worthy winners and it was a pleasure to meet news anchor and the first ever winner of Strictly Come Dancing, Natasha Kaplinsky who hosted the event.

Host Natasha Kaplinsky, Cloud Business’ Matt Garrett, James Butler and Jane Woodyer, and Mark Christie from NatWest

The Company of the Year award reflects the hard work put in by our talented team over the past year and also the support of all our customers and partners who have entrusted their IT projects and services to Cloud Business.

Thank you for your partnership with Cloud Business, we don’t take this for granted! We remain committed to supporting you and your organisation, finding solutions to navigate the ongoing uncertainty and to do all that we can to help you thrive.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, and a happy, healthy and successful 2022.

The problem of shadow IT and frontline workers

Frontline workers have long been the neglected when it comes to digital transformation. As a result, shadow IT has become a significant challenge for IT teams. A Microsoft study found that 54% of IT executives suspect that frontline workers use a variety of unsanctioned shadow IT to work effectively. 

Other research explains why. A Forrester study found that 77% of frontline workers say they do not have access to the technology they need to be productive. This is especially common amongst hourly and contract workers, who make up most of the frontline workforce. Technology investments are often focused on salaried staff with frontline workers overlooked.

Learn more about technology for frontline workers here >

Shadow IT is a security and compliance risk

Many IT teams cite security and compliance as a reason for limiting frontline workers’ access to corporate systems and data. With a workforce operating in public spaces or offsite – regarded as deskless, mobile or untethered – providing access is often viewed as too big a security and data protection risk.

But in our opinion, the risk that shadow IT poses is just as much a challenge. A tech-savvy workforce, that wants tools to help them work more efficiently, will find workarounds if you don’t provide them. If frontline workers don’t have access to the right technology to communicate with teammates, check their shift schedules, record and look up data, or plan their day, they will introduce their own technology. Shadow IT in the form of consumer technology, from devices to apps, introduces new levels of risk precisely because it is unknown to IT. 

Despite shadow IT’s risks, it is hard to criticise when people are just trying to get their jobs done efficiently. Most frontline workers have no idea that the apps they use and data they handle, could be breaching corporate policies and data protection regulations. As the backbone of many organisations, surely it’s time to bring frontline workers on your digital transformation journey and ensure they are secure and compliant?

Digital transformation and frontline workers

In some organisations, shadow IT can be part of a digital transformation journey for frontline workers. After all, they understand what they need to work productivity and may have already identified solutions that can be integrated into the corporate IT environment.

As part of the discovery and planning stage of any digital transformation project, reviewing the existing IT environment and uncovering any shadow IT is an important part of understanding what works and what doesn’t.

However, consumer technology is often not secure enough to be deployed as a workplace solution or may not integrate seamlessly with other systems, creating data siloes. Besides, technology companies have spotted that frontline workers have been underserved, and there are many solutions now available that will deliver the benefits desired, securely and compliantly. 

Putting frontline workers first

User experience must be at the heart of digital transformation for frontline workers. It is essential to win over the hearts and minds of your frontline workforce before enforcing a technology change, even when it’s designed to improve their working day.

Frontline workers have unique technology requirements and challenges. Although they frequently get confused with remote workers, they are distinctly different. Over the last 20 months we’ve often heard people say that “we’re all frontline workers now”, but remote workers (especially those that are working from home) generally have a desk, WiFi and a laptop or desktop computer.

The majority of frontline workers for most of their working day, do not have a desk or access to a PC. Instead, they use a mobile device and may routinely face connectivity issues, using mobile data or public WiFi to access the apps they need.

Therefore, a digital transformation project that takes frontline workers on the journey too, must be designed around the user experience for those in the field, working on shop or factory floors, in healthcare settings or otherwise deskless and untethered.

For example, many company intranets deliver a poor experience on a mobile phone. That’s generally because they’ve been designed for desktop use by desk-based teams, and even a mobile app version can be clunky. No wonder that frontline workers embrace lightweight consumer apps that have been developed for the mobile user.

Focus on user experience

So, providing technology for frontline workers is not just a case of giving them secure access to existing corporate systems and apps. It’s about making sure the technology delivers the best possible user experience, to boost user adoption and remove the need for shadow IT. 

We do this by getting an in-depth understanding of our customers’ end users during the discovery and planning stage of a digital transformation project. Our desk based consultants put themselves in their shoes, whether that’s a mobile engineer servicing equipment in a WiFi dead zone or a customer services assistant on the shop floor in a retail park.

Having understood their technological challenges and requirements we can then identify the solutions that deliver real value to the frontline workforce, so they get the best possible experience from their technology.

Microsoft Ignite 2022

How migrating to the cloud accelerates digital transformation

The term ‘digital transformation’ has become increasingly widely used in the past five years. The term refers to the adoption and integration of digital technologies to transform the way a business functions.  Digital transformation aims to the improve processes within a business to deliver a better experience for employees and customers. 

The pandemic and the rise of remote and hybrid working has been a catalyst for many businesses to start adopting new technologies and speed up the process of digital transformation. One of the key technologies that can enable digital transformation is the cloud. 

Is your organisation ready for the cloud? Download our cloud readiness worksheet to find out >

In this article we will discuss how migrating to the cloud can accelerate digital transformation through increased flexibility, reliability, automated processes, increase productivity and stronger security.

Migrating to the cloud: 5 reasons it accelerates digital transformation

1: Flexibility and scalability

One of the key goals of digital transformation is business growth through improved processes. This means that business must be equipped with technology that can scale as a business grows and has enough flexibility to enable these changes in process. 

On-premises technology has a significant upfront cost involved in hardware and setup, and as a business grows, they are forced to upgrade the technology. This lack of flexibility slows the process of digital transformation and can decrease a business’ profitability. In comparison, with workloads being hosted in the cloud, businesses can quickly and easily increase resources to a workload to suit the current needs of the business. Being able to respond to these changes in demand creates an agile workplace and accelerates digital transformation.

2: Speed and reliability from anywhere

The past 18 months have made it clear that for a business to succeed their employees must have reliable access to IT systems, no matter where they are located. With services being delivered through the cloud, if employees have internet access they can access all necessary files, applications and systems. Furthermore, cloud applications run faster, making work more efficient, and services hosted on Microsoft Azure are extremely reliable with a 99.9% uptime.

3: Automated processes

Using cloud technologies, it is possible to automate many processes. These changes in process are a key component of digital transformation, and can save significant time, allowing employees to focus their time on growing the business. Some processes that can be automated with cloud technology include virtual machine management, customer relationship management, database management and security protocol management.

4: Increased productivity

Moving to the cloud can significantly increase employee productivity and accelerate digital transformation. A major factor to this increase in productivity is through effective collaboration. 

As many businesses operate globally or with teams located in different locations, collaboration is extremely important. With cloud and cloud-based applications and services, there is better connectivity and collaboration amongst workforces. Cloud technology also enables employees to have easy access to information and data from anywhere, at any time. The increased collaboration and productivity can help grow a business faster, and lead to innovations in processes that aid in digital transformation.

5: Stronger security posture

Rapid digital transformation can result in a weak security posture, as the introduction of new technologies carry an inherent security risk. Thankfully, the use of cloud technology has a lower risk than on-premises technology. 

Most cloud technologies use end-to-end encryption, ensuring that data can not be intercepted and improving a business’ security posture. Similarly, there are many cloud technologies dedicated to improving security. For example, within a Microsoft 365 or Azure subscription there are many features that can be enabled to improve security and reduce the risk of a cyberattack. 

For businesses looking improve their processes and take the next step towards digital transformation, migrating to the cloud can accelerate the journey. Introducing cloud technologies can fundamentally change the way a business functions and be the key to sustainable growth. If you want to find out more about how your business can leverage the cloud, contact us today.

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Business drivers for digital transformation

Why are you exploring digital transformation? Articulating clear objectives, a purpose and business drivers for digital transformation is essential for success. As our CEO, James Butler, explains in this video, knowing where you want to go is more important than identifying the technology you want to deploy.

What’s your why?

Our Microsoft Cloud Assessments are designed to help you identify your business drivers for digital transformation. This workshop explores what you want to achieve, your people / users, culture and your existing technology to help you develop a roadmap for a smooth and successful cloud migration. To find out more about this service, click on the image below.

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