In today’s IT world of cloud computing, the hot topic is making the transition from a capital expense (CAPEX) to an operational expense (OPEX) and at the same time making your finance team very happy. This is often debated as organizations have in general had other creative ways available, such as capital lease programs, to achieve a lower capital expense.

So when talking cloud, I like to look at some of the other areas that can help business leaders demonstrate the advantage of migrating applications to the cloud. Here are few areas that are often overlooked.

The data center can be a complex ecosystem, depending on its size and complexity. How much does it cost or would it cost to have the same level of support for the system (or systems) you are moving from your own data center to a cloud-based data center? And what is the value of the cloud vendor’s data center to your organization?

The odds are pretty high that the cloud operator has 24x7x365 support, a Tier 4 or Tier 5 data center that includes, security, mantraps, fire suppression, dual power from the electrical grid, backup uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and/or generators, dual A/C, redundant cooling, 24x7x365 smart hands to swap that drive out at midnight and much more.

What would it cost your organization to build out this type of data center and operate it? Would you be paying overtime to send out an employee to replace a failed drive in the middle of the night?

Maintenance contracts and licensing are a pain, no matter who the vendor is. In a cloud application, often times these costs are included and/or are the responsibilities of the cloud provider.

No more worrying about contract compliance or expired contracts. No more sales calls from vendors asking you to renew your support coverage year after year. And no back office requirements for tracking, procurement, accounts payable, etc. All of these activities take up time which can now be used to focus on core strengths and drive efficiency in the business.

Talent and skill set evaporation is generally not on an IT manager’s mind until after it happens. How many legacy systems do you have running and is the person who implemented that system no longer with the company, retired, moved on or in a new role? While this may not be costly today, in the future it could be a real headache.

With a cloud provider, you have a few insurance policies built into the offering. The first is that most cloud operators focus on what they sell and have a staff that maintains, manages and documents the product. The products they sell are sold to many organizations, so the cloud provider needs to staff multiple product experts.

Second, many cloud offerings are “evergreen” which means you are running on current or N-2 generation hardware and the software is currently supported, and often upgraded, to the latest release as part of the offering.

In business, every organization has its own hurdles and not all of these apply to every company. I challenge you to look for areas in your own company that cloud may drive value. Note, it may be in the places often overlooked. I am sure many of you will find some of the areas listed above as a “non-issue” and some of you will come up with even better examples of unforeseen value and benefits.

I’d love to know where you’ve seen cloud computing help out your business. Comment below with your case studies.

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