As more and more companies make the move to the cloud, it is important to consider whether your business is ready to join them or if you would benefit from staying on-premises. One consideration when determining cloud readiness is whether your company will benefit from keeping most of its infrastructure local or if it would be better off using third-party cloud services to handle most of your computing needs.
In order to decide what is best for your business, you need to know what factors determine cloud readiness and how to assess them in advance so you can make the most informed decision possible.
The first step in determining if your business is ready for moving into the cloud is to assess cloud readiness. The goal of assessing cloud readiness is to help you evaluate how well prepared your company is for deploying its IT solutions on a public or private cloud. While each company will have different strengths and weaknesses based on their business needs, culture, and existing infrastructure, there are certain core considerations that apply universally.
Cloud Readiness: Capitalization
For example, before any IT decision is made by your company it is important to determine whether they are capitalization ready—that means they have enough money set aside to pay expenses over time including new expenses that may be incurred as a result of changing providers.
Cloud Readiness: IT Adaptability
The next step is determining whether your IT team can adapt quickly enough to adopt cloud technologies. Are your employees well versed in modern technology? Are they ready and willing to experiment with new software platforms? Are they open-minded and willing to change how they have done things in the past, or will they be set in their ways and resistant to innovation?
As an example, if one of your company’s primary sticking points with moving into a public cloud is security, it is important that you understand what measures are already being taken by providers such as Microsoft Azure so that you can build off of their security processes rather than starting from scratch on your own.
Cloud Readiness: Systems
Once you have determined whether or not your company is capitalization ready and willing to adapt, you can then move onto assessing your existing systems. It is important that you understand which applications are essential to running your business, as well as how each application connects with other applications in order to produce their desired outcome. If an application does not provide any value beyond what cloud-based solutions can provide it may be worth exploring alternatives.
For example, if your company uses an on-premises accounting system with ancient software that has not been updated in years it may make sense for you to transition over to cloud accounting platforms such as FreshBooks or QuickBooks Online so that you can take advantage of better pricing and ongoing software updates.
Once you have assessed all of these areas, you can move onto a more subjective evaluation. It is important that you determine how your company’s culture aligns with cloud-based technology. Is it open to change and innovation, or is it slow moving and heavily reliant on routine? If your company does not do well with change then cloud technology may not be right for them. When deciding whether your company is ready for cloud-based technologies it’s important that you take all of these factors into consideration.
Moving into a public or private cloud can offer numerous benefits such as increased uptime, better reliability, and cost savings but only if done correctly and with careful planning.
As with any major technology shift, there are a lot of myths about cloud computing. Chief among them is that moving your business’s IT infrastructure from on-premises data centers to hosted services will automatically save you money. In fact, not all business applications work well in a cloud environment and could cost you more money—if not immediately, then down the road as your company grows and needs more resources.
So how do you know if migrating applications to a public or private cloud makes sense? The best way is by calculating a cloud ROI, an investment that compares what it would cost to maintain those systems at their current level against what it would cost to run those same systems in a cloud environment over an equivalent period.
To calculate a cloud ROI, you will need to identify your current costs and assess whether they’re likely to go up or down once you move certain systems into a hosted environment. You should also consider how long it will take before your business starts seeing cost savings. For example, if it will take six months before you start saving money on cloud services, then that time period must be factored into your calculations.
Once you have all that information, simply compare what it would cost to maintain those systems at their current level against what it would cost to run those same systems in a cloud environment over an equivalent period of time.
Common Questions from Business Leaders
There are many questions business leaders should ask before moving their data, software, or infrastructure to a cloud service. Here are some of them: How do I know my team is ready for the cloud? What challenges will we face when moving to a cloud provider versus maintaining our own servers in-house? Do we have proper backup solutions in place if something goes wrong with our new cloud environment? Understanding how your company processes data can help you determine whether it is ready to move into a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment.
Assess Current IT Structure
In order to make a decision, you will need to assess your current IT structure against cloud requirements. What do you hope to gain from using a cloud service? Do you want lower costs, better responsiveness, or more scalability than what your existing hardware can offer? By first defining your company’s needs and objectives, it will be easier to evaluate if moving into a public, private, or hybrid cloud service is right for you. Be sure that all stakeholders agree on these goals before selecting your preferred cloud solution. Cloud assessment questions should be answered by key business leaders who are knowledgeable of company operations.
Understanding your company’s cloud readiness will help you navigate your transition into a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment. If you have identified that you need a more flexible IT infrastructure, now is a good time to consider how much control and customization you need as well as costs associated with those requirements. In addition, do not forget that many off-the-shelf software applications are now available through cloud services.
Conducting an Assessment
There are several factors worth considering when determining if your business is ready for a cloud service. If your organization needs better flexibility or scalability than what an on-premises infrastructure can offer, it may be time to move towards a public or private cloud option.
Conducting a thorough, well-defined cloud assessment may seem like a daunting task. At Axeleos, we have the expertise required to help you navigate through this crucial step in cloud adoption. Contact us today and learn how you can Make Your Mark™ with Axeleos.