If you’re thinking of moving one or more of your business applications to the cloud, cost will inevitably be a factor. Looking into the numbers, you may find that the cloud—at least initially—has a higher monthly operating cost than an on-premises option. Understandably, that may be off-putting at first blush. The important thing to keep in mind is that stacking the cost of a cloud solution against the cost of a traditional IT setup is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Instead, you should take the time to define the value—financial and otherwise–of cloud technology to your business before deciding to proceed (or not) with a migration project.
The Cloud’s Value-Adds
The cloud offers numerous advantages that bring value to businesses, including cost savings in some cases. Here are a handful of the most significant ways cloud technology could positively impact your company.
It eliminates upfront capital investments in hardware and software.
When you switch to the cloud, you’ll most likely be running on servers, network hardware, and software owned and maintained by your cloud provider, saving you from having to purchase those items for yourself. By extension, the cloud also saves you from the hardware replacements and expensive and disruptive software upgrades that inevitably come with owning your own infrastructure. In comparison, when you operate in the cloud, the cost of using your cloud provider’s capital assets to maintain your network is wrapped up in a flat and predictable monthly fee. What’s more, software upgrades are typically free of charge, seamless, and automatic as they become available, so you are always working with the newest or near-newest version without any downtime.
It grows and shrinks with you.
Once you’re in the cloud, you can configure your environment to add more resources to meet increased demand in real time. In fact, there’s theoretically no limit to the workloads the cloud can accommodate. By the same token, you can easily shrink the resources available to you as demand recedes. To implement an on-premises solution equipped to handle peak demand would not only require huge investment in technology, it would also mean owning resources that often go underutilized. In short, the cloud scales with your business and improves utilization rates
Part and parcel to the cloud’s scalability is its usage-based pricing model. Which is to say, you only pay for the resources you use to meet the demand you are experiencing at any given time. When demand is lower and you require fewer resources, you pay less.
It reduces downtime.
When your IT workloads are interrupted, the cloud’s automatic disaster recovery protocols, high bandwidth, and better disk I/O (input/output) help ensure a quick recovery. The cloud also allows you to bake geographic redundancies into your disaster recovery plan. That way, if your primary data center goes down, another data center instantly picks up the slack, keeping you running.
It opens doors.
The cloud offers access to a vast library of powerful technologies that most businesses don’t have the means or technical talent to develop in house. And unless you are getting into very high-end applications, it doesn’t require a lot of knowledge or skill to utilize what the cloud has to offer. For many businesses, this has made it possible to perform functions and pursue initiatives that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
It can improve productivity.
Moving to the cloud can engender performance improvements that result in workflow efficiencies that drive revenue and profitability. For example, cloud computing can make it easier for employees to stay connected to the tools they need to do their work. Generally speaking, the cloud enables them to access business applications from any supported device, anywhere in the world, at any time. In turn, they are equipped to get more done faster.
It can reduce IT support costs.
The cloud makes it so that you don’t need to maintain servers or network hardware, and it eliminates the need to perform in-person software installations and desktop set-ups. As a result, you won’t need to build out as robust of an IT department to support your business. And since most support functions can be performed virtually, the cloud affords you more latitude to outsource your IT services to a managed service provider. In sum, there are many dimensions of value to consider when making a decision to move to the cloud. This article outlines some of those factors, but their exact worth is dependent on circumstances, goals, and other variables particular to your business. If you take the time to assess the true value of the cloud, you may find that a move doesn’t make sense for your business at this moment. You may also discover that trying to achieve the same level of performance from a traditional setup would actually be more costly in the end, making cloud migration a financially sensible, growth-oriented choice.
Want to learn more? Check out The Ultimate Cloud Migration Checklist to find out what a move to the cloud entails.