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Why Should You Adopt a Cloud-First Strategy in 2020



Cloud adoption has continued to grow and it will not slow down anytime soon. According to Deloitte, 42% of Australian businesses are already using some sort of paid cloud. The major drivers to moving to cloud services are improving customer satisfaction, keeping up with competitors, and adopting innovative technologies. To maximize their performance, many enterprises are switching to the cloud-first mindset. 

What does cloud-first strategy mean and how can it benefit your business? Let’s find out.

What is a Cloud-First Strategy?

The cloud-first policy involves a set of company practices that prioritize cloud services. The idea behind this approach is clear – cloud processes are more affordable than building on-premises tech stack. Therefore, cloud-first businesses would reap significant cost-saving benefits, as well as increase their overall performance on multiple levels. 

Businesses wanting to switch to the cloud-first mindset should also know the difference between cloud-first and cloud-only policies. Even though they are often used interchangeably, these two terms are not the same. Cloud-only practices mean that all business operations will be performed on the cloud. The major difference is in the way business processes are done. While cloud-only is strict, cloud-first is just a recommended routine.

The Major Benefits of the Cloud-First Strategy

Now that you know what a cloud-first policy is, here is how it can benefit your company.


  • Reducing Costs


One of the major benefits of switching to a cloud-first strategy lies in its affordability. Namely, building, managing, and scaling on-premises hardware and software requires investing lots of time, planning, and resources. There will always be something you need to update or replace, meaning you will need to handle numerous unpredicted costs. You will also need to hire in-house IT staff that will manage your on-premises infrastructure. When moving to the third-party cloud provider, you will need to choose the plan that meets your current business’ needs and pay a reasonable monthly fee. Given that, it is not surprising that businesses building a cloud-first strategy will see a notable reduction in their equipment, labor costs, hosting costs, and so forth. 


  • Greater Scalability


As your business expands, your data volumes will also increase. Logically, your servers, applications, and storage will need to adapt to these changes. Now, many businesses managing their business operations internally are not prepared for such fast growth. In this case, scaling is often extremely expensive and requires significant time investments. Companies need to invest in additional equipment, refine their infrastructure design, and assign new tasks and responsibilities to their IT department. On the other hand, cloud infrastructures provide businesses with the chance to scale gradually and strategically, according to their current needs. This will minimize your IT team’s frustration and certainly reduce both your time and costs. 


  • Better Productivity


The cloud-first infrastructure can improve your productivity on so many levels. For starters, it minimizes the traditional data center expenditure, reduces the time required for data analysis, streamlines business management systems across departments, and simplifies the overall communication and collaboration. Let’s take the benefits of enterprise cloud computing built on the hyperconverged infrastructure as an example. This infrastructure is simpler and more elastic, letting users develop business-oriented cloud data centers, irrespective of the kind of the cloud they are using.  

These are all important factors leading to greater workplace productivity. According to Deloitte, 78% of Australian businesses reported enhanced workplace performance since they migrated their operations to the cloud.


  • Improved Security


With 2,308 breaches impacting 2.6 billion records, Australia is ranked fifth in the number of exposed records by country. Given that, it is not surprising that data security remains the major concern for Australian businesses. The above-mentioned Deloitte survey shows that 30.7% of businesses are concerned about their data security when transitioning their data to the cloud. 

Cloud providers offer numerous options for identifying and preventing data breaches, as well as protecting data from them. For example, they offer data encryption as a powerful layer of security that prevents hackers from opening and using your data. This is both a safer and more affordable way to improve your safety than building an in-house infrastructure, where most data breaches are a result of human error, outdated software, or faulty equipment.


  • Efficient Data Recovery


Power outages, thefts, natural disasters, broken hardware, cyber breaches – these are just some of the numerous problems that come with on-premise data storage. Worse yet, these issues are not predictable and, as such, result in lost productivity, greater expenses, and harmed brand image. With cloud infrastructures, you can avoid these problems easier. Cloud providers ensure fast data recovery for most emergency scenarios mentioned above. The RapidScale report says that 20% of cloud-based businesses claim that they managed to recover data in less than 4 hours. 

Ready to Develop a Cloud-First Strategy?

Given the benefits of the cloud-first policy mentioned above, it is not surprising that it has become the mainstay for many businesses over the past few years. Sure, you will need to adapt it to your specific business needs. Adopting the cloud-first mindset does not mean you should immediately shift all your data and business processes to the cloud. Go at your own pace and plan the migration strategically. A deep understanding of your business requirements and thorough audits of your current business operations should serve as your solid starting point.


If you have already adopted the cloud-first mindset, tell us what tactics you used? How has this policy benefited your business operations?

Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she's a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more entrepreneurs and help them on their business journey.

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6 tips to not go crazy in your home office





Because of the current coronavirus situation a lot of people, including me, left their offices on a Friday and BOOM!! Started working from home on a Monday!! However for people with ADHD like me can often feel overwhelmed on the fact of being completely isolated.


Here are 6 tips to avoid going crazy in your home office:


#1  Suit Up

Sounds simple but it helps a lot with your motivation. This is all a mental game letting your mind know you still have a routine to follow. I know wearing your jammies is tempting. DONT DO IT! Dress as you would for work.


#2 Stick to Your Working Hours

This is a very important rule to NOT overdoing work. People tend to work more when working from home. Avoid that BURNOUT. Lock in your 8 hours of sleep.


#3 Work in a Dedicated Space

It is tempting to work in your bed. DONT DO IT! Try to work in a separate room with no TV and yes, NO NETFLIX!! If you leave your room you are out of your “office”. This helps seperate your work from your free time.


#4  Limit Distractions


Like I said before, This ain’t no Netflix and chill!! Put that phone on vibrate turn off that gaming console and TV OFF!!


#5 Be Transparent

Your colleagues don’t know what your up to . Make sure to keep them up to date about what your working on.


#6 Stay Active

Try to exercise during the day! The daily walks to the coffee machine and the conference room are GONE! Try to compensate this with exercise.


Stay Safe!

These are tough times for many of us. I know going to happy hour and hanging out at starbucks are both very tempting and very missed but lets do our thing to kick this virus in the ass!! Stay home and stay safe.


If you liked this article make sure you follow me on linked in and instagram  for more!! What other topics would you like me to cover? Shoot me a message.

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Tech + Startups

The Many Hats of User Experience




User experience sure has become the most essential weapon in everyones digital team or product. In my last article I covered why ux is important for your business, but many people have the misconception that User Experience is done only by ONE person, when in reality we user experience designers wear MANY hats, which I personally love.

We cover bases such as design, psychology and research which makes my day to day work completely different from the one before. In some cases having a one man band might be true with the exception of unicorn designers (overly talented wizards that can do it all from design to coding) which are very rare.

But personally I wouldn’t recommend giving one person all the work as with all the overload in responsibilities, the quality of your product could be affected, but we all know there’s many penny-pincher companies out there who like to save on costs bringing in someone that could be the man (or woman)THAT DOES IT ALL!!. However in reality user experience is in fact a TEAM effort meaning there’s usually more then one person involved on making sure your company or app has a rockstar user experience. But being a UX Designer makes you a jack-of-all-trades almost by default. As a field we’re broken up into several specialisms. As our industry advances these only get more complex.



So who are the people that are involved in a user experience team and what do they do?

There’s a lot of debate around how these specialisms are classified. Personally, I like to break UX down into five main areas :

  • User research.
  • Information architecture.
  • Interaction design.
  • UI design
  • Content strategy.

Some organizations will actually treat these as distinct jobs and hire for them individually. This is particularly true with larger businesses, where multiple UX designers are needed on a single project. But like I mentioned before this varies from business to business. In many cases us ux designers  switch between  these roles over the course of a single project.

What are the specialisms of UX?

User Research

A user researcher gathers the insight to drive decision making in our project. Rather than creating the ‘what’, they instead focus on the ‘why’. There are loads of research methods than can be drawn upon, both quantitative and qualitative. These all go into informing the solution, and defining user requirements for a new project.

When taking on the user researcher role, the main responsibilities include :

  • Workshops and interviews.
  • User testing sessions.
  • Analytics data and ethnographic research.
  • Creating user personas & requirements.

Information Architecture

An information architect looks at the product from a birds-eye view, understanding how content links together. They’ll piece together how users move through the flows in a site or app, without getting bogged down in the minute details of UI.

When taking on the information architect role, the main responsibilities include:

  • Planning user flows.
  • Creating sitemaps and data models.
  • Defining navigation, taxonomies and other content classifications.

Content strategy

A content strategist creates the guidelines for how information is communicated through the website or app. They make sure the output we give to the user is easy to understand, consistent and generally fit-for-purpose.

When taking on the content strategist role, the main responsibilities include:

  • Planning of key content themes & topics.
  • Content structure & templates.
  • Content style & presentation guidelines.

Interaction design

An interaction designer plans how users will interact with the system. They’ll translate the high-level flows defined in the information architecture & content strategy into more detailed screen layouts, usually in the form of wireframes.

When taking on the interaction designer role, the main responsibilities include:

  • Wireframing & early prototyping.
  • Interaction guidelines and UI patterns.
  • Functional documentation.

UI design

A UI designer brings the interface to life by applying a brand’s ‘look and feel’ to the system. They’re responsible for creating the visual language for a site or app, and generally ensuring that it looks awesome.

When taking on the UI designer role, the main responsibilities include :

  • Realistic page mock-ups.
  • High fidelity prototypes.
  • Style guides.

Now that you know all the many hats of ux design, what are you waiting for to bring in UX Designers to your current dev team? If you liked this article make sure you follow me on linked in and instagram  for more!! What other topics would you like me to cover? Shoot me a message.

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Tech + Startups

AI: The Solution to Employee Stress



Work and stress — the two have become synonymous.

You’d be hard-pressed to meet an American worker in today’s business landscape who wasn’t. I get stressed out, so do you, and so do the greats of every industry. Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, describes stress as an emotional rollercoaster where you flip-flop from a day when “you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again.” Elon Musk equates stress to “chewing glass and staring into the abyss.”

The point is, stress is imminent. It doesn’t care where you work or how much money you make, you’re working in the country with the most stressed workers in the world. The global average is around 35 percent, but Americans register at around 55 percent. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Today’s dog-eat-dog business landscape breeds companies that believe you can weed out top talent by putting such high pressure on employees that only the most competent will stay. Basically, survival of the fittest.

But stress has sobering consequences. One million people miss work every day, citing stress as the reason. And this doesn’t only affect employees, either. Absenteeism costs companies up to $300 million a year. Being under constant pressure to live up to high performance standards doesn’t separate the overachievers from the underachievers, it slowly corrodes the abilities of your most skilled staff members.

When your employees are too stressed, they pay for it, but so do you. As companies figure out how to run leaner and more efficiently, it’s also important that they continue to implement internal methods to curb increasing stress levels. Appster, for example, will fund their employees’ after-work outings every so often and companies like Google offer in-house mindfulness courses so employees can meditate during the workday. Other tactics like flexible working hours and employee-assistance programs are valuable, but we now have unfettered access to the perks of technology, so why not tap that market too?

Artificial intelligence isn’t the office bad guy; it’s not there to threaten your job security or compromise your privacy. It’s assumed that AI will dehumanize the workplace, but I would argue that it does the opposite. When we use artificial intelligence intentionally, we make the workplace human again.

Automating the mundane and menial

As company’s have begun gradually introducing technology into their operations, we’ve become familiar with how automation can save both time and money. Repetitive and seemingly inconsequential tasks will always be a part of the job, but now employees don’t have to be the ones to support these daily duties — and who isn’t excited about being able to use their brainpower elsewhere?

Many businesses choose to start with chatbots because their benefits are overt and pervasive across every industry. These automated messaging platforms intercept tasks such as filling out documentation and replacing simple customer service requests so employees can focus on what AI can’t automate, like creative strategy and important decision-making. Another great use of automation is Feebi, a chatbot that can field 90 percent of common restaurant questions, like what your hours are or what’s currently on the menu. Your employees don’t need to be bogged down with these incessant, unimportant tasks.

Create their in-office ‘happy place’

Company culture is more than just the relationships between team members, it’s also about the environment you create. Think about it: who wants to come into a cluttered, dirty, bare-walled office every single day? We spend more time at work than we do our own homes, so it’s important to incorporate the same elements in a workspace that you would want to surround yourself with at home — more natural light, vegetation, etc.

There are automated sensors you can build into your workplace that can analyze a certain employee’s mood and assess whether or not adjusting environmental conditions could directly enhance their productivity and happiness levels. There are smart temperature controls that can automatically change the temperature of an employee’s office to their preferred comfort level and there are automated systems that can even water your office plants for you (yes, plants play a vital role in elevating employees’ moods).

Stress-detecting software

Wearables such as Fitbits have been around for quite some time now and are renowned for their ability to accurately track your health and fitness data. So, why not have something similar for the office? AI-enabled tools can monitor an employee’s emotions and behavior and watch for signs of stress, anxiety, and even depression.

Cogito is a platform that can listen to sales and service calls and offer feedback on the interaction. Not only does Cogito guide you with real-time advice on how to improve your calls, but it can also identify stressed customer service agents that could be on the verge of burnout. Affectiva, a ride-sharing service, can do the same for their drivers, assessing facial expressions for emotional cues like anger or anxiety.

Employees are often too afraid to come forward when they are under too much stress because the business landscape has taught them that they are easily replaceable. Leaders are often so preoccupied with their own schedules that they rarely see signs of stress before it’s too late. Don’t let human error support stressful working conditions. Instead, let AI give us our happiness back.

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