You’ve heard of computing in the cloud, but what is it and are you ready for it?
Cloud computing is a concept that has caught on in just the last five years. Businesses of all sizes and in all kinds of industries are taking to the cloud for reduced IT expenses and greater efficiency. But how do you know when you are ready for the cloud?
Generally speaking, if you can save money and be more efficient in your computing by doing away with your IT department and operating in the cloud then that’s when you should make the shift. But how do you determine that?
- First, you should calculate the current costs of computing in the physical world. Are you spending money on maintenance? How much? What is the cost of your hardware acquisition? How about personnel expenses like payroll and benefits? Know what you are spending.
- Secondly, discover your real computing needs. Do you have assets that you aren’t using? Why not? How efficiently would you run without that extra weight? What if you could just run on the bare essential needs of your organization? What would that cost and what would it look like in terms of scaling down your IT department?
- Before you say that’s not possible, dream it. It IS possible in the cloud. But until you know your real computing needs and the costs of your current IT management resources then you won’t be able to chart a course to get to the bare essential computing-in-the-cloud strategy that I’m talking about. After you’ve done the first two steps above, start researching potential cloud-based applications that will help you meet your real needs.
- It’s important that in your research you keep notes on all potential solutions. You’re not going to make your cloud computing decisions on the basis of cost alone. You might actually be able to scale back on some of your needs and scale up on others then resell certain services for a profit to help you pay for your computing needs. Wouldn’t that be nice?
- After you’ve collected all your data, analyze it. Prioritize your needs and pick out the cloud-based solutions that will best help you achieve them. What will be the cost of switching from your current physical computing environment to operating in the cloud (think long term). What will it cost to scale up later? Can you buy more than you need now and resell what you don’t use? Ask these questions and answer them.
- Finally, make the switch. Do a little at a time, if necessary. Chart your course, plan your moves and execute just as you would any other business initiative.