When is the right time for you to move your Business Systems to the Cloud?

Important definitions:

Cloud Computing – a software licensing model that grants access to software over the internet. Licensing fees generally based upon number of users and is billed under a monthly subscription.

On-Premise licensing – a software licensing model that requires an “upfront” licensing fee plus annual maintenance fees. In return, licensees receive a “copy” of the software that is then installed on the licensee’s computers within their own building (thus, the term “on-premise”). The term also applies to licensees that opt to use one of the many hosting services rather than provision their own hardware.

Up until a few years, ago all software was delivered via the “On-Premise” licensing model. Today we have an option when it comes to software licensing.

Today’s question is – When is the right time to consider a move to the Cloud?

Note: We will discuss the question “why move to the Cloud?” in a separate discussion.

There are several points in time when it makes most sense for you to consider a move to the Cloud. Any single one of these situations is a good reason to consider a move to the Cloud. If you are facing 2 or more reasons the decision becomes even easier.

Here are the most common reasons for moving to the Cloud:

Software currently in use is several release levels behind:

You’ve been running the same release level of your software for several years now and you believe that it is time to upgrade/replace your current software to gain the benefits of all the improvements that have become available since you implemented your system.

Before making another significant investment, in new software, implementation services and training only to find that you are once again not gaining the benefit of advancements made in the software beginning immediately after you complete your upgrade, you may want to at least consider moving to the Cloud.

Here’s why:

The Cloud based licensing model delivers the following benefits to you:

  1. Eliminates the significant “up-front” investment needed to upgrade/replace under the “on-premise” model.
  2. Cloud based systems are updated/upgraded by the software producer on a regularly scheduled basis (as often as quarterly). This means that you will never fall behind again and will never be faced with an upgrade/replacement cost again.
  3. Because the updates/upgrades happen often, they are much easier to absorb and, gain benefit from, than what is normally the case when your software is only updated every several years.

Significant Hardware upgrade/replacement is looming:

You’re a few years removed from your last significant hardware upgrade. You’re noticing that your systems are beginning to slow down just a tad and you had a lot of trouble installing/configuring some new software that you recently purchased. In addition, the cost of maintaining/servicing your computer infrastructure is becoming more and more significant.

Before making another significant investment in Computer Hardware you should consider a move to the Cloud.

Here’s why:

Hardware must be properly provisioned in order to achieve maximum performance from your software. The Cloud based licensing model delivers the following benefits to you:

  1. File Servers in use by Cloud Service Providers are at the very high end of the hardware spectrum.
  2. Cloud Service Providers update computer hardware routinely and consistently.
  3. Hardware redundancy is in place so that downtime is practically non-existent.
  4. Data Security (including data backups) are managed professionally.
  5. In addition to the hardware itself, all operating system and other infrastructure related software licensing is kept up to date so that the latest versions of your system can be implemented without delay.

Opening a new location:

You’ve decided to open a new location and now need to have access to your business systems from more than one place.

Multi-location computing represents a significant challenge to most small to mid-sized businesses. Businesses that are currently operating from multiple locations know exactly what I am talking about and have been some of the early adopters of the Cloud for this reason.

Before opening a new business location you should at least consider the Cloud.

Here’s why:

  1. Cloud computing is not constrained by physical location. In fact, all you need is access to the internet (which is quickly becoming almost any place in the world) and you are good to go.
  2. Managing Printers within a multi-location business operation has been historically challenging. Cloud based systems manage printers automatically!
  3. Adding a new location takes on a wider meaning within the Cloud. A new location may now be a Field Service Tech or Field Sales Person that needs instant access to your data along with the need to make updates and deliver information to your customers while they are standing in front of them. Mobility is a natural process when operating in the Cloud.

Staffing levels changing (increasing/decreasing):

Your staffing levels fluctuate up and down between seasons. You hate having to license enough users to meet peak demand periods. Before you add one more user to your “On-Premise” system you should consider moving to the Cloud.

Here’s why:

  1. Cloud based systems are specifically modeled to fluctuate up and down as your needs dictate. When you enter into a slow season you can simply eliminate unneeded users from your subscription and, add them back when things pickup.

# # #

There are many other times when a move to the Cloud might be advantageous.

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