Whether you have been testing the cloud computing waters with sales force automation or payroll, developed and tested applications there, are actually running low-value applications, or are just waiting for the right time to jump in, 2015 is the year to do more.
“Mature public cloud services are available now. Midmarket CIOs must evaluate on-premises and cloud solutions equally when evaluating new IT services and ones that are due for an upgrade,” according to Gartner Inc. in a recent report, Midmarket Context: ‘The Three Rationales Behind Cloud Computing Strategies.’ (1)
Enormous investment and innovation have flowed into cloud services, products and technologies in recent years. This certainly has increased the availability of resources and options available to users. More so, business concerns over reliability, security, compliance and performance have been and will continue to be focal points of service providers. Customer questions about how best to use these vast resources have largely replaced (or should replace) questions about whether to use cloud services. We’re at a point where aspects of cloud infrastructure and performance will consistently surpass those of on-premise data centers.
Some will say, “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.” True enough. Even so, business risk/reward analysis, operational improvements, better resource utilization and other metrics are increasingly coming down in favor of the cloud as this dynamic industry continues to aggressively develop and innovate.
Entering a new year is always a good time for re-evaluation, strategy adjustments, goal setting and maybe a bit of introspection as well (are we doing what’s best for the business?). Windows of opportunity open to shake up the status quo with upcoming tech refreshes, service contract expirations and new corporate initiatives that require IT involvement.
Here are several actions you can take to evaluate best options:
- On-premise solutions have likely been in place for several years, consuming IT and corporate resources. Use the occasion of renewals, upgrades or replacements to compare on-premise versus cloud deployment of next-generation solutions. If the benefits of using cloud services outweigh the risk, recapture internal resources for other higher-value workloads.
- The business has been clamoring for new applications or IT services for which the existing infrastructure is not well suited for, or that would be too difficult or too costly to deliver. Evaluate whether a cloud solution is the answer to its prayers before it does and goes around you to get it.
- Make collaborative decisions regarding cloud services. On-premise data centers and cloud infrastructures are designed for different purposes and are used differently. Agree to a decision framework that evaluates business goals, costs, risk factors, integration requirements and migration efforts.
- Cloud services are likely to be less expensive than hosting a solution on premise, but don’t assume they are. Some workloads may require too much work and money to function well in the cloud. Undertake a thorough and balanced cost analysis to determine that. Read the fine print in provider contracts for hidden costs. Focus on solutions with simple migration paths to the cloud, and build from there.
(1) Gartner Inc., “Midmarket Context: The Three Rationales Behind Cloud Computing Strategies,” published: 28 October 2014, Analyst James A. Browning