Why are you interested in moving to the cloud? Is it because you have heard that IT costs in the cloud are lower than your internal systems and security is usually stronger than what you currently have?
Perhaps you can envision more flexibility without the dead-weight burden of fixed IT server costs which can never create any competitive advantage for you.
More importantly, you may have identified cloud computing as a vital enabling resource to support the introduction of new disruptive business models or take advantage of important technologies such as big data and analytics.
How should you approach your move to the cloud? As always, it will depend on the size of your organization, the software applications you run, the source of your current IT support and the “pain points” you are experiencing.
Your firm’s leadership will dictate an appetite for risk in terms of data sovereignty, or where your data will be stored, how fast new software should be adopted and what cloud providers will be engaged, among many other decision factors.
The big question to ask is: what should you do with your existing, or “legacy”, software which you rely on to help run your business? Your key line-of-business application(s) may be standard, but not available as a cloud service. The software may have been standard originally, but has been so heavily customized over time that no equivalent is available as a cloud service. The software may be entirely custom-written so that there is no cloud equivalent.
This is the point at which serious money will need to be spent if you want to replace your existing line-of-business software with a “born-in-the-cloud” solution. It is not simply the cost of new cloud software subscriptions, of course, but also the cost of systems integration and the development and adoption of new internal processes.
However, if there are no compelling reasons to replace your line-of-business software, you can still take full advantage of cloud computing.
The solution is to move all of your software to a cloud service provider who can deliver those applications back to your users. This is known as “desktop-as-a-service”. Nothing changes in terms of your employee user experiences and there are no expensive or long implementation cycles.
Migrating existing software applications and company data into the cloud for desktop-as-a-service delivery to your users is the fastest, least risk and lowest cost of all alternatives for a firm to move to the cloud.
How do you find a suitable cloud services vendor? There are now a number of well qualified and experienced cloud service providers available in the New Zealand market who have for more than ten years been successfully migrating a company’s full suite of software to the cloud and delivering back a cloud “desktop-as-a-service”.
It is even possible to bundle all of the transition or migration costs into a simple per user, per month fee, thus providing a full cloud solution without any incremental capital expenditure.
Arguably, the most important selection criteria is the cloud service provider’s reputation, once the table stakes of technical competency and competitive price have been established. Care is needed in interpreting any cloud services proposal as, with a relatively immature market and imperfect knowledge, it is easy to not make a valid “apples-for-apples” comparison.
Firms of all sizes are migrating all of their software applications and data into the cloud and enjoying lower costs of IT, stronger security and variable cost, per user pricing, by adopting a “desktop-as-a-service” solution. The costs and risks of this strategy are the lowest of all alternatives and the upside of cloud computing benefits are the greatest for firms in this position.
As seen in National Business Review, August 14, 2015