What to Consider Before Taking Off into The Cloud
by Salim Khalife
You can’t talk technology today without talking about “the cloud.” An estimated 72% of organizations have at least one application or some portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud. Virtually every major software developer has a cloud-based offering in its’ mix, with plans of further cloud development.
Just about every genre of software has at least a few cloud-based options that offer users great benefits. For example, spend management solutions in the cloud offer finance and operations departments access to one system where everyone can see the same information in real time. Although similar functionality is possible with on-premise and mobile solutions, the cloud offers developers and users more flexibility to introduce innovations relatively quickly, while kissing the associated costs of upgrading and implementation good-bye.
But with all its benefits, it is possible to transition into a cloud solution and not experience the euphoria you imagined. So before your team jumps on the bandwagon, keep these cloud technology considerations in mind first.
Focus on Solving Your Problems, Not the Program’s Bells and Whistles
Any technology should be a solution to a specific problem. This is the first of all your cloud technology considerations to act on first. Moving to the cloud must begin by identifying specific goals, mapping the potential benefits of the application to those goals, and mitigating the potential drawbacks. Your exploration team should consider these questions: Is this cloud solution going to expedite a specific process, or solve a problem our current technology is not solving? Will it provide better security, access, and collaboration than what we currently have? Will it offer us a better ROI? Are the reported benefits of the solution aligned with your company’s strategy?
Your exploration team should consider these questions: Is this cloud solution going to expedite a specific process, or solve a problem our current technology is not solving? Will it provide better security, access, and collaboration than what we currently have? Will it offer us a better ROI? Are the reported benefits of the solution aligned with your company’s strategy?
The Cloud Doesn’t Have to Be All Or Nothing
When aligning your business goals with the potential benefits of your new solution, be sure you are meeting the needs of the various departments, locations, users, and functional demands that exist across your company. Of all the cloud technology considerations to observe, this may be the most important. It might be best to implement a cloud application in one area first, then roll out to other departments in phases. Rather than attempting to standardize on one offering or strategy, their priority is to obtain measurable benefits that help achieve specific goals.
It’s Not All About the Budget
Cost savings is a commonly cited reason for moving to the cloud. But the reality is that cloud solutions may possibly cost more than remaining with a traditional deployment model. Many software-as-a-service vendors (SaaS) actually raise their subscription prices annually, escalating the cost of ownership. Of all your cloud technology considerations, this will impact your bottom line immediatly and over time, so decide wisely. Over time, cost savings may prove to be one of the benefits, but it should not be assumed. Utilize total cost of ownership models and check with a financial specialist about the implications that a switch from capital expenditure to operating expenditure may have for your organization.
Should You Take Flight into the Cloud
The cloud deployment model is here to stay and moving at least some components of your software solutions, such as your spend management, to the cloud makes smart business sense for most organizations. The key is not to rush your decision-making process.
As Paramount WorkPlace’s CTO Chris Baird, who is a pilot, puts it, don’t take off before you follow flight procedures. Do your pre-flight check; know your critical airspeed, weather forecast, frequencies, airspace, destination airport, and alternate contingency plans. Do your performance, and weight and fuel calculations. The key is to have a solid business case supporting the move. Take the time to make data-backed decisions. Develop a strategy and plan before you take off. If you keep all these cloud technology considerations in mind, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the benefits it has to offer your business.