According to many IT predictions for 2014, this year promises to be the one where cloud computing becomes the norm for most businesses. As noted in a Forbes article by contributor Joe McKendrick, most business models are cloud oriented (many with Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] already implemented or in process of being implemented) and most data center traffic will exist in the cloud. It’s important if you haven’t yet selected a cloud service to consider what your business truly needs in order to grow. While there are multiple factors to consider (and every organization is unique), here are a few of our favorite factors to consider when vetting out a solution:
What are your pricing needs?
What sort of budget do you have to work with to implement the solution? And where are you looking to cut costs (and by how much), in terms of your operations? There’s multiple factors to consider, from the number of manhours you may spend currently managing your systems, to the cost of electricity and cooling.
What are your business needs?
What’s your greatest concern or area for improvement? What sort of tangible results do you want to gain by moving to the cloud? Do you want to increase collaboration? Take pressure off of the physical reliance on your systems ( =in the case of a disaster or power outage, you want to still be able to keep your business running)? These are just a few of the many factors you want to consider when assessing what your business wants to accomplish when vetting out a cloud solution. Make sure the appropriate stakeholders are helping you test and verify whether the solution is appropriate for all the employees who will be using it, whether it’s only a few departments or organization-wide. There’s unique nuances to every workflow for every department or team member, and it’s important to understand how those processes can be affected by a change.
How soon do you want to change your systems? How much?
What sort of timeline are you looking at to change your systems to a cloud-based one? Are you going for a complete, big-bang type of move? Or are you looking to move in phases? Do certain departments move at different times (to avoid changing up your systems during peak business times, say at the end of the quarter)? It’s important to create a strategy and see what timelines work best for your organization – after all, it’s hard to successfully change anything in your organization if the timing is wrong.
How much integration do you require?
My former points lead into this one – how much longer do you want to maintain your on-premise systems, if at all? If you want a phased migration, you may want to consider how you can integrate your current network resources into the cloud applications and servers of the vendor you’re considering.
How easy is management?
How simple is the management system of the cloud solution you’re evaluating? Can you IT staff manage, control and maintain the new system efficiently and independently, in a single interface? What are your administration needs? One of the benefits of moving to the cloud is the potential time savings you gain from a simplified management experience.
Those are just a few of the questions that we like to throw out there when helping our clients select what cloud service is appropriate for their organizational needs. We hope this helps in terms of helping you find a cloud service that drives forward innovation, flexibility and efficiency in your workplace.
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