Move to the cloud: The barriers are all removed

If you have been contemplating a move to the cloud, now might be the time. All the traditional barriers have been removed.

windows cloud
Kaz (CC0)

Still have concerns about moving to the cloud? It’s time to take another look. Like you, I was skeptical, risk-averse, downright nervous. Since overcoming my self-induced psychological roadblocks, I finally drank the Kool-Aid. I have not purchased an on-premise application in over five years. I've bought only cloud technology and have never looked back. Historical barriers I was concerned about relating to flexibility, cost, staffing and most importantly security are now gone, or reduced significantly to remove any obstacles to full-scale adoption. I am now looking at the competition…in my rear-view mirror.

Flexibility

With an on-premise architecture, enhancements to your platform may require additional investments in hardware, software and networking to mention a few. These cannot only be expensive, but take considerable time to implement. With a cloud platform, enhancements can be a mere phone call away, reducing your implementation time significantly.

In addition to a reduced lead time, your upfront capital outlay is eliminated or significantly reduced. Your CFO will be ecstatic. This type of agile approach could dramatically shorten your time to market, save valuable cash, and provide a competitive advantage.

Cost

This is a most controversial and complex topic and there is no magic formula.  Ask ten people and you will get ten different responses. Direct and indirect costs are associated with migrating to the cloud, as are ongoing support costs. A holistic approach to determining the cost/benefit of moving to the cloud is a prerequisite to making such an important strategic move.

There are also intangible benefits related to opportunity costs, time to market, disaster recovery savings and customer satisfaction. From my experience, a big ticket item is the avoidance of having to do on-premise application upgrades. I dreaded them! They can take years and cost millions, not to mention the huge disruptions they create to the business.

Don't walk but run from this archaic method of supporting your customers. Your time is better spent performing more value-added services. 

Staffing

The initial reaction from many IT professionals is their jobs will vanish once a move to the cloud is completed. This is simply not true. Several positions will need to be tweaked and tuned in this new environment, few eliminated.

The traditional software developer needs to learn skills related to business analysis and how to derive the largest benefit from a cloud application platform. If you like hiding in your office/cube and working alone, it's time for you to get your head out of the sand and immerse yourself in your customers' world.

Operations and infrastructure needs to hone their skills in internet connectivity, bandwidth, and providing the fastest, most secure experience for the customer. As more applications move to the cloud, this demand only increases. There's a paradigm shift going on here. Get on the boat or be left behind standing on the dock.

Security

Certainly the hottest topic when discussing cloud platforms, cloud security has made tremendous progress in the past several years. In some instances, the cloud is more secure than on-premise.  A recent study conducted in March 2017 by Schneider Electric found that more that 40% of participants are hosting security applications in the cloud and 45% are likely to move to the platform.

All this said, CIOs are still concerned about placing their corporate crown jewels in the cloud. Adding to this concern is a lack of qualified security staff to ensure corporate data is safe. We have made a lot of progress in this area, but proceed with caution.

Should you rush toward a cloud deployment? Of course not. Implementing on-premise or in the cloud requires the same level of due diligence and business requirements. Be wary of exaggerated claims and perform your own analysis of costs, opportunity and risk. And check references at the outset with vendors who over-promise. You will quickly eliminate those selling vaporware.

My other recommendation is to start small. Select one application with minimal impact on the business and go cloud. Minimize the risk, provide the technology, and gain support and confidence from your customers. There's no time like the present. What are you waiting for?

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