To Cloud or Not to Cloud…

Still trying to get your head around cloud computing? Doubtful about whether your business is a good candidate for the cloud? All this month, TechSoup.org will be hosting a Cloud Computing Worldwide Campaign, including blog articles, webinars, and global dispatches about the cloud.

TechSoup.org is generally geared toward the unique technology needs of nonprofits, but there’s plenty of information being discussed that’s relevant to small and mid-sized businesses.

In particular, we appreciated some of the points made in the article Cloud is Not a Technology Decision, by Richard Cooper of Charity Technology Trust in the UK.

As Cooper details, while discussions around cloud technology can often get hung up on technical comparisons, the real answers exist in an honest examination of the unique needs of the company. For many organizations, as with nonprofits and charities, the decision of whether or not to move to the cloud hinges on your workflow requirements, including information accessibility/collaboration, security, and your business goals–including the all-important budget.

Great IT is not just about adding bling to your network, or following the latest fad, it’s about empowering your people to be better at what they’re already doing so well. If your staff is struggling with down-time due to unreliable servers or facing creative limitations around file sharing for multiple users from diverse locations, cloud computing may offer a suitable solution. The flexibility accorded by the ability to access your information anytime, anywhere, may also help determine the difference between your business and the competition.

Dollars and Sense

The real determination of whether the cloud is the right choice for your business ultimately lies on the brutal honesty of the balance sheet. However, when it comes time for a budget discussion, a straight-out comparison between the cost of existing infrastructure vs. the cost of the migration + the relevant cloud subscription is not enough.

An honest budget comparison starts when you ask a question like, “Will this new solution save me time?” Take a moment to consider whether your business suffers from productivity losses and down-time due to technical failures or a lack of accessibility under the existing system. All of these concerns should appear as liabilities of your current setup. Down-time can be calculated as Frequency x Duration x Hourly Cost = Lost Profits.

Your decision to move to the cloud will not involve a straight-out apples-to-apples comparison, and the research process may well involve some detective work. It is worth taking your time in the analysis though, as there very well may be hidden costs to your current setup that aren’t apparent at first glance.

Give us a call if you’d like to learn more about whether the cloud is the right choice for your business.

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