We hear this question asked every day “What the heck is the deal with this buzz word “Cloud” and why is that word being used everywhere?” The answer to that is that cloud is rapidly transforming the way that IT and Finance play the proverbial tug of war around budgets to achieve business objectives.
Using the cloud for your business simply comes down to unpredictable costs structures vs. predictable scalability. Cloud applications or services provide the ability to tie together data, departments, and people that make up your business on a pay as you need basis.
From our perspective there is an evolution happening right before us. Yes the word “Cloud” is rather cliché and over used. That said, this is a very exciting time for all businesses to harness their data and control their costs.
Those folks who have the blinders off are paying attention are providing an incredible head start over their competitors. It goes without saying that not every application or service out there is right for you and furthermore now may not be the right time to jump in. It is something however to definitely keep an eye on and start preparing for. There are many forms of cloud services i.e. salesforce.com, Microsoft Office 365, ShoreTel Sky amongst many, many others.
The use of cloud computing is growing, and by 2016 this growth will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend, according to Gartner, Inc. 2016 will be a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.
The Cloud Evolution:
As your businesses scales your business requires change. Business evolution is happening every day even though at times it can feel like your end users are regressing.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
The development of applications in the cloud is constantly changing and once deployed are instant and readily available. The nimble ability to rapidly deploy applications and benefits are the driving force for the rapid adoption of cloud services.
Time is money, moreover your time is more valuable than ever because of the demands of the rapidly changing business environment. New features in the traditional premise space often require painful and often expensive upgrades, not to mention lead times and scheduled maintenance windows.
By accessing an integrated software platform i.e. the cloud, customers can request and take advantage of new features and capabilities. The cloud provides instant availability to all end-users at the same time without disruption, effort, or new hardware requirements.
With traditional methods (premise infrastructure), you make a purchase more than likely with cash. Then our wonderful finance team absorbs those numbers and casts a magic tax potion to depreciates it over “X” period of months.
In addition to that initial cash outlay in year 2 you’re going to owe a support agreement to keep software assurance and to maintain current with the new features released. This frustration for many is likened to driving the car off the lot after the purchase.
The following day something new is released and your investment and strategy is immediately one step behind after the new features/benefits are released by the manufacturer. In order to stay in the front of the pack with the new toys there is always annual fee for that. That’s how the VAR (Value Added Reseller) traditionally makes a living. Nothing is free…
Your savings in costs are plenty, imagine in never having to pay for upgrade server hardware or software. No more trip charges, no more move, add and change fees. Additionally you will never see down time as a result of hardware failure, hardware upgrades, or software upgrades.
The reason is that in the cloud reputable providers move the application or services you are using to other geography redundant servers as they upgrade their own hardware. Yes you actually can sleep at night through an upgrade for the first time.
Eliminating all those cost and stress factors you can now combine fixed costs for scalability i.e. if you grow you know the cost for each end user conversely if you scale down so does your spend.
Q: So what should that cliché “Cloud” word mean to you?
A: A head start over your competition, irrelevant of your field of business. It is not a matter of when, it’s a matter of how fast. We agree that the word ‘cloud’ is very cliché but it shouldn’t be ignored.
Western Union learned that being cavalier about something new lead to their decline when they stated: “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communications. The device is inherently of no value to us” (1).
So whether or not you are looking at cloud infrastructure, purchasing cloud based software, or improving some of your business processes. Taking advantage of the cloud will make your IT expenditures look strategic and ultimately help your business grow stronger. At minimum we believe you should be paying attention if you actively looking for ways to control costs and want don’t wish to become the next Western Union.
“I don't know, but I've been told, if the horse don't pull you got to carry the load.”
- The Grateful Dead in New Speedway Boogie
(1) Western Union, Internal memo (1876)
About the Author:
Joe Rittenhouse is the President of Business Development and a managing partner of Converged Technology Professionals Inc. His expertise is in business consulting/therapy specializing specifically in VOIP, Cloud Services, and Contact Centers. Joe’s experience in the IT demographic encompasses over two decades. Outside of work, Joe is a Husband and father of four. Joe is also a self-proclaimed seasoned tour veteran of the Grateful Dead.