Cloud technology can give your IT efficiency, flexibility and speed. It can also help you save money. However it is not suitable in all circumstances or for all organisations.
If you want to replace CAPEX spend with a more flexible OPEX approach to budgets and want to drive your organisation to be more responsive and agile then it is important to understand the possible challenges as well as the benefits that a move to the cloud can bring.
Here is a guide to the key considerations to bear in mind before taking your first steps to the cloud:
The first step is to decide whether the cloud is right for your business or certain parts of it and which cloud services or combination of cloud services will give you the best results. An assessment of your business needs and a deep dive into your current IT state is necessary. This Discovery phase uncovers what existing applications are being used for, whether they can be moved to an external host and which ones need to stay put. It is necessary to look at licensing, security and a host of other issues in your environment. Understanding what compute resources you have and how they are utilised enables you to see where cloud services would be of benefit and how key cost savings can be made.
One of the key challenges in moving to the cloud is getting visibility of all IT spend. Some of this might be in other departments’ budgets so it is important to get a full overview of all current IT spend and compare it, not only to the cost of the proposed cloud services but also qualitative items such as improved time management, reduced maintenance etc.. Cost reduction on hardware is not the only way money can be saved.
Check that your network is or can be optimised for using cloud services. A move to the cloud might result in increased spend on connectivity to the Internet but this can be balanced out with the resulting increase in application performance and productivity.
All the above considerations can be mulled over by you and your internal IT team. However it can often be better to bring in a third party to help bring clarity.
There also needs to be a consensus around your cloud strategy. The ability to cut costs might be driver for one department but the ability to better connect with customers might be of more importance to another in the choice of cloud services. Understanding the different drivers and having an overall strategy which comes from the top of your organisation right down to the bottom is a must.
Selecting the right cloud service provider for your third party host is critical. Do your due diligence. Do they fully own their data centres and is their support genuinely 24/7? Where are their data centres located and do they continue to invest in them? Do they operate to industry standards and are they secure and compliant? Check references and visit their data centre to get a view first-hand.
When you have chosen your cloud service provider work with them to test one application in the new environment. Evaluate the performance and assess whether it meets your business needs. This step can be repeated as many times as necessary application by application, until you are happy.
Cloud has the potential to transform your organisation if used in the right way. Therefore it is essential to make sure that it is a positive move. By considering all the aspects, positive and negative, you will be able to experience the benefits of the cloud and use it to innovate and drive efficiency.
To find out how iomart can help you, from the initial Discovery stage right through to the design and delivery of the cloud services that are right for you, contact our experts via the link below or call 0800 040 7228.