The move to the cloud is fully underway for many organizations. Clouds solutions provide significant benefits including increased business agility, and improved employee mobility and team collaboration. In addition, the move from technology as a capital expense to an operational expense is often attractive. For these reasons and more, Resultant has found cloud solutions are a great fit for the modern business.
That said, the decision to move to the cloud is extremely complex, and businesses must ensure they have all the information necessary to make an effective choice. In our experience, the following three considerations are often overlooked.
Hidden Costs and Savings
Marketing material has caused many to believe migration to the cloud is so simple anyone could do it and, once there, the cloud is a set-it-and-forget-it technology. As wonderful as that would be, it’s unfortunately not quite accurate. Having a thoughtful and experienced cloud migration partner assist with a move to the cloud is an important first step, but recognize cloud solutions still require management and maintenance, very similar to on-premise solutions. Further, depending on the solution and needs of the business, on-premise hardware may still be required. A great cloud migration partner should never be a bargain-basement deal, and proper maintenance certainly requires ongoing investment. This all has real cost and must be considered in any business plan.
On the flip side, a well-designed cloud solution can save costs not initially apparent at first glance. For example, a great cloud solution may include anti-spam, anti-virus, backup, and even disaster recovery capabilities. Many businesses are taken aback by how much these important technologies can cost to implement. Adding them in as part of the cloud solution makes it so they no longer have to be purchased separately.
Another overlooked advantage of cloud solutions is license compliance. No one enjoys going through a software license audit and be found lacking. The fines can range from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars. Quite often, this risk completely goes away with a cloud solution, as licensing is kept up-to-date in real time. One more hidden cost savings.
What does this mean for the business? An effective decision on the financials of moving to the cloud must consider all angles, both positive and negative. There are many details to consider such as Internet bandwidth, upgrade costs, and network infrastructure, in addition to the items shared above. Work with an experienced cloud partner to assist in weighing these complex decisions.
Choosing How Much Cloud to Buy
One major advantage of cloud solutions is flexibility. Growing businesses can scale up or down quickly and with ease. To achieve the same growth potential with on-premise hardware, the only option is to buy more than necessary in hopes it will be put to use someday. Plus, once purchased, on-premise hardware simply can’t shrink.
While an excellent advantage, and a highly marketed benefit of the cloud, flexibility adds complexity. Cloud providers have different contractual models and financial impacts of growing or shrinking cloud presence. When approached without careful consideration and knowledge, this flexibility can seem anything but. Businesses should select a cloud migration partner that can quickly understand the business, both as it stands today and where it will be tomorrow, and match that against a deep knowledge of the available solutions in the marketplace. Without a careful approach, results can certainly be less than ideal.
Dealing with Ambiguous Terminology
The pace of technological change in cloud computing is such that new terminology seems to be invented daily. Even more challenging, the exact same terminology is used to describe different components within solutions. In the end, all clouds are not created equal, and neither are the terms used to describe them. This is not only confusing, but infuriating, to the uninitiated. In the worst case, it can lead to paying for unnecessary services or missing important ones – an expensive mistake.
A cloud expert, sometimes called a cloud broker, is someone who understands the full breadth of cloud technology, the terms used, and the latest pieces of technology. Further, they stay ahead of the curve, helping organizations understand what they are buying today as well as upcoming features. Resultant has clearly witnessed that a lack of understanding of the entire solution can lead to a failed cloud solution. The most successful approach is to find a knowledgeable partner to guide the business through this complexity with ease.
There are many great reasons to move a business to the cloud. Flexibility, reduction of costs, and improved business outcomes are just a few. However, the decision is incredibly complex and worth careful consideration. As a starting point, use this technical discovery checklist to work through a full understanding of the complexities involved. Beyond that, work with a partner that can act as a guide through this important decision.