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Digital Transformation 4 min

How virtual can your company be?

RZW pasfoto 2020
Ruben van der Zwan
CEO & Co-Founder
Go virtual
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Go virtual.jpegOver the last couple of years, we’ve increasingly seen companies arise that are, in one form or the other, virtual. Looking at virtual in Merriam-Webster (America’s most trusted online dictionary for English word definitions, meanings, and pronunciation), we find that it can be occurring or existing primarily online. But there are more ways your company can be virtual.Take Airbnb that offers accommodation without owning these spaces themselves. Or a company that owns a brand and outsources manufacturing, shipping and so on to third parties. The latter two examples are not so easy to realize but moving (parts of) your company online is. What do we mean by moving online? Well, using cloud services like Amazon for instance. But there are many more online services that you can use.

Stripe survey

Stripe, an online payment service, recently conducted a survey asking 100 Dutch startups what kind of online tools they used.

The startups mentioned almost 200 different tools. Within that list we see well known tools like Bitbucket, Wetransfer and the like.

What is interesting of this survey is the reason why they used the tools. They (a whopping 86%) said that these tools are the #1 factor that made it easier to launch a startup. So, is what being good for a startup, also good for you? Well, we cannot know from this article what kind of organization you are. You could be a large bank, NGO, retailer, University or any other company.

Whatever you are, you probably have in common that you do not want to reinvent the wheel. Why should you, for instance, develop a new blogging platform? There is WordPress and a whole slew of others for you to take your pick from. At this day and age, we have a multitude of tools to choose from.

Almost anything that you would like, there is a solution available online or even a solution that you can deploy locally if you so desire.

Cloud Computing

Take for instance the whole concept of cloud computing. One of the best-known companies for cloud is of course Amazon. Widely recognized for introducing the concept over 10 years ago they are the market leader (34%)  by far, as you can read here in the report from Synergy Research.

Companies big and small (can) use AWS offerings. Small companies perhaps because they simply do not have the money, the people or the time to set up servers or a datacenter. For big companies it can be a source of significant savings for computing resources that you sometimes need and sometimes do not need. In the old days you had to overprovision to handle peak load. So, cloud is a way to virtualize your company.

Benefits of being virtual

But what are the benefits? Of course, there is the benefit of not having to invest in servers (capital expenditure) and hard to find technical staff to manage your local servers. But that does not mean Amazon’s AWS is a free service.  You pay a small amount per hour, lets say $ 0.10 per hour for a 2 core 4 GB instance with some storage attached. But that fee, multiplied  by the number of hours in a day and the number days per year will set you back about $ 876 when you run it year round. Other, more powerful instances have a higher pricepoint. There are other costs as well, like traffic to and from the instance. Take a look at Amazon’s website if you want more information. Some of the online tools or services, like Wetransfer have a free version and a paid version.  

Being Free

So, it is not only virtual but in that case also free. Ideal for testing out a setup or doing a Proof of Concept. But, there are some caveats as well. Because in many cases other organizations want or need to make  money to, a free version will give you some of the functionality but perhaps not all. Or only for a limited amount of  time. So Virtual can also mean free (as free of charge) but in some cases you do need to pay, depending  on your  use case or the importance of the service to the organization. If you lose thousands an hour when your service is not available, support that costs $10.000 per annum can pay itself back easily. Or not.

Go Digital and Virtual

In short, using online tools and services can impact your bottom line, make you more agile and free up time to spend on things that can differentiate your organization from your competitors rather than spending on commodity services. Perhaps you are still very much in an Analog state as an organization. In that case your first step is to go digital before going virtual.

But, don’t worry. Going digital is not as difficult as you think. Download our whitepaper on Going Digital, it will help you create your own digital strategy and the tools you need to go digital.

So, what are you waiting for? Go Digital & Go Virtual!

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