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How to get "cloud ready"

June 12, 2017 By Hannah Rachel Smith - Cloud Business Development Rep

It’s unavoidable – at some point you will more than likely “move to the cloud”. A McKinsey study showed that in 2015, 77% of enterprises used traditionally built IT infrastructure as the primary environment for at least one workload; they predict that this will drop to 43% by 2018. But just because McKinsey says other people are doing it, does that mean you should too? And if you decide that answer is yes how do you personalize it to fit your companies’ unique goals?

As an individual, as a team, as a company – what is your optimal solution and how will you get there? In a 2016 study by Right Scale, 32% of participants said that lack of resources and expertise was their #1 cloud challenge. So in a world where information is just a search away, how do you find the data that is pertinent to YOU and not waste time?

HUMANS. You can click around as many articles you want and get lost for eternity on cloud providers’ websites, but speaking to a qualified expert is going to be your best bet. And the greatest part? It’s FREE. Yes I said it. FREE.

Now – we all know the basic benefits of moving to the cloud: flexibility, disaster recovery, automatic software updates, a subscription based model, increase collaboration, work from anywhere, document control, security. However, depending on several aspects, some of these benefits will appeal to your business and some will not. There are two important factors that I’d like to dive into here:

A. Increased efficiency and workflow: One of the most important qualities of any new product is going to be the user experience. Without ease of use, users will get frustrated and give up, and without a user you don’t really have a product – right? By the same token, when you introduce new workflow to your employees, adoption can be one of the biggest challenges, especially if it’s bulky and hard to use. Putting certain collaboration tools onto the cloud will ensure a smooth, intuitive, and responsive workflow for you employees, resulting in higher efficiency in the workplace. Studies have shown that interactivity correlates to higher revenue. Based on a 2016 study, 80% of IT decision makers saw improvements in workflow within the first 6 months of adopting the cloud.

B. Actual cost of the cloud: I often hear objections such as: “I simply can’t afford the cloud”, “It’s far too expensive”, “outrageous!”. Well, when looking at the price of the cloud versus your on-prem infrastructure you can’t compare by unit cost – you need to look at total cost of ownership to understand the big picture. Moving to the cloud doesn’t mean diving in (or up) head first and leaving behind all semblance of a traditional data center. Which leads me to why hybrid migrations are so popular. Think of it in the same way that companies use a combination of debt and equity or owned, leased, and rented assets – you can do the same with your infrastructure. Move certain workloads to the cloud and use “rented” space and keep certain workloads on premise, creating a hybrid architecture to achieve the best mix of cost and performance.

Though for many companies, looking at TCO may be difficult when operating on a yearly budget, you will see savings over the course of just 5 years (about how long your hardware will last) if you make a strategic and well-informed move to the cloud. Throughout the next five years, a 44% annual growth in workloads for the public cloud versus an 8.9% growth for on premise computing workloads is expected.

While this is only a tiny chip off the iceberg that is researching, and making the best decision around cloud computing for your company, the resources do exist for you. Perhaps even an overabundance of resources exist. That is why companies like Microsoft task their partners to be not only sources of knowledge and information for you to tap into, but also consultants and advisors – to work closely to understand your environment, your needs, your goals, and to help get you there. It’s not just you and the worldwide web anymore. Take advantage of the human resources that are widely available – I promise, we’re better than Alexa.