In today’s world, the cloud is taking on more and more shape, becoming consistent across industries, verticals, and customers in general. Depending on who you talk to, the cloud market is an $80 to $100 billion market. (I’m taking cloud advertising out of the mix, so if you heard numbers in the $200 billion range, that’s why these numbers are lower. Advertising in the cloud is not the same as using the cloud—nuff said.) This market is expected to have a CAGR of 20 to 25% in the coming years, so doing the simple math, in a few years cloud technology could be a $200 billion business, if not more.
Let’s try and break that down a bit.
If you have a $10 million IT budget today and you are using the cloud for 20% of your business, that would likely include cloud services such as payroll, HR, sales tools, email, expense management, document signing, and for many, some form of public cloud use for infrastructure and applications. What do you think is going to be the make-up of your next big chunk of cloud-based IT? At a high level, this is usually driven by an event, a mandate or a desire to save money or time. Here is quick breakdown of the main ways people are beginning to adopt the cloud.
Many things in the IT world are handled because of an event. A maintenance renewal, a fully depreciated asset, an upgraded or sunsetting application, or a change in vendor pricing or support model, just to name a few, can each prompt shifts in the way an IT environment operates. Many in IT are familiar with the 6 Rs, but the key here is to identify the upcoming triggers and give yourself enough time to make the right decision. At each event, you have the opportunity to make the decision to cloud or not to cloud in order to prevent difficulties or simply better manage an aspect of your IT environment.
Whenever a pending event is coming, think about:
- Retaining your current technology and extending its original expected life and use period
- Refreshing your technology with newer technology
- Consider whether this option gives you the right platform at the right cost, while continuing to support the needs of the business
- Retiring, re-platforming, or refactoring your technology
- While there may be cases when an application simply needs to go away, in cases when a retiring application is being updated or segmented, there is an opportunity to migrate some or all of that to a cloud platform
- Rehosting your environment
- This option seems to work best when the environment is virtualized and easily transported to a cloud solution or if already hosted in a cloud or managed service, then simply choosing an alternative provider for hosting
Outside of retaining or retiring, any of the other paths are easily “cloudable” options.
Many organizations have executive staff mandating a cloud-first or cloud-only plan. Although they are typically still driven by an event, there are organizations migrating to the cloud because the leadership has made it the only option. Some executives state a percentage goal for cloud adoption, such as 70 to 80% of operations in the cloud in three years, and others are taking it step by step. I believe a real strategy is needed first to help support such high percentages, but some organizations aren’t given the luxury of going about things logically.
The save approach seems simple when we look at it only from a monetary lens. It becomes a bit more complex when you think about all the savings an organization can obtain through proper cloud adoption. Increased agility can offer savings in time to market. Offloading tasks performed to manage hardware and software, such as patching and updating, can deliver time savings and allows the IT team to get closer to the business, which can save many headaches. There can also be savings in time and cost when leveraging the cloud to close gaps that may exist in IT organizations, such as data recovery and backup or chargeback and showback models.
To get to the cloud safely and meet the demands of your business, there are several things to keep in mind. I call them the 3 Ts: Timing, Total Cost of Ownership, and Trust.
- Timing: As discussed above, take advantage of events or triggers that will make a smooth transition from on-premise operations to the cloud, and take the time to develop a strategy or at least a framework to serve as your guide.
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): There are hundreds of tools and TCO calculators out there that make a good start to understanding your TCO, but ultimately you will need to spend a few (or many) cycles in developing a TCO that meets your needs.
- Trust: You ultimately need to place trust your cloud provider and your partnership or there’s bound to be trouble. Make sure you have well-defined service-level agreements that are tracked and adhered to on a monthly basis. If you’re not sure about the best way to take advantage of the cloud, find a new trusted partner in an experienced IT solutions and services provider like Razor Technology.
May the road to the cloud be a rainbow for you.
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