While looking over the results of a recent survey on awareness of cloud computing, I was struck by the fact that even though 64 percent of the business owners surveyed said they are aware of cloud computing, only 43 percent said they currently use it. That 20 percent gap between awareness and usage seems significant, and I began to wonder what accounts for it and what effect it might have on the businesses that fall in that category. Why do they choose not to use cloud computing? Are they making the right decision? How can they be sure?
Cost And Timing Can Keep Companies Out Of The Cloud
If our experience at MyITpros is any indicator, there are two main reasons companies choose not to move from traditional on-premise computing systems to cloud computing:
1. Cost – Moving to the cloud can reduce capital and other expenses for companies over the long term. But if a company has invested significant capital in their current systems, they may be reluctant to scrap what they have in favor of the cloud. When I’m talking with our clients about moving to the cloud, one of the things I hear most often is “I’d like to get a few more years out of the systems I already have before I make such a big change.”
2. Timing – With some of our clients, not moving to the cloud is a simple case of inopportune timing. For example, I spoke with one business owner whose company had just signed a 36-month licensing agreement for a major on-premise application. Obviously, it wouldn’t make sense to move to a cloud-based application under those circumstances. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see that client move to cloud computing when the agreement expires.
In fact, if you asked the 20 percent of companies that aren’t in the cloud if they’re planning to be in the cloud at some point, I feel confident many of them would say yes – when the timing is better.
Weighing The Costs And Consequences Against The Benefits
Another reason I think some companies haven’t moved to the cloud yet is simply that it’s a big change – and change can be painful, even when it’s ultimately good. Moving to the cloud represents a tremendous change in the way companies have traditionally used technology, and making that shift will inevitably be disruptive. Part of our job at MyITpros is to do what we can to minimize the amount of disruption such a change will bring, but we can’t eliminate it entirely.
The question then becomes “Is it worth it?” Well, that depends on the company. For some, the cloud represents an exciting new opportunity for competitive advantage – companies with extreme business cycles, for example, that need an enormous amount of computing capacity one month and very little the next. These companies can operate much more productively and competitively in the cloud model, paying only for the IT they need.
Is it worth it for a company like that to make the change now, even if they’ve sunk a lot of money into on-premise IT or just signed a long-term licensing agreement? It all comes down to why a company wants to be – or doesn’t want to be – in the cloud, and how that squares with the cost of changing or not changing.
Examine Your Motives, Run The Numbers And Make A Smarter Decision
I believe the best decisions about cloud computing come from having a very clear sense of what’s in your best interest. That requires you to closely examine your motives and to carefully calculate the return you can expect.
If you’re avoiding moving to the cloud because it just seems like too much change, think about what benefits the change will – or won’t – deliver. Get out a spreadsheet and really figure it out. Look at your monthly costs to be in the cloud in the context of your computing costs right now and in light of how much you’ve already invested in current systems. And think about more than just hard costs; for example, is there a cloud solution that’s going to make users quantifiably more productive or efficient by saving them X amount of time each day?
It’s a lot to think about, but making an informed decision will make all the effort worthwhile. And if you need help, let us know. We assist clients with this kind of assessment all the time, and we’d be glad to help you in any way we can.
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Bill McCharen, COO
Our goal for this blog is to answer the questions you ask. If you have any questions about cloud computing or any other topic please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about IT subscribe to our blog.