One popular question among organizations lately, is “should I move my IT services and solutions to the cloud?” After all, cloud computing is certainly the future for many and one would be remiss if they didn’t at least consider it for their organization. Writers and experts have dedicated more than a few articles and online posts to analyzing the true costs of cloud solutions, but the truth is that understanding the cloud won’t make organizations successful. Effectively navigating the modern IT world will require a focus on something much more basic instead: what works best for your organization?
Employees are the most important asset in an organization, and keeping employees working is much more important than where their tools reside. Maintaining productivity is key. If an organization already amortized the cost of hardware or software, then their on-premise operations will be tough to beat in price, not to mention in functionality. Why abandon working investments for something that may cost nearly the same and won’t provide any additional benefits or functionality for the workplace?
Gartner points out in a 2012 research paper on email economics that very large organizations often move to cloud email systems to avoid upgrade or migration costs, not to achieve a decrease in total costs. The same economies of scale that help large organizations make on-premise solutions pay off are what allow cloud vendors to offer their enticing prices. Prices aren’t the only draw to the cloud, though. It’s the latest sexy trend in a long line of hot IT fads. With an estimated 14 million new jobs in cloud computing by 2015, it’s also a clear part of the IT future. Nonetheless, what may be the right solution in the future may not be the right solution for your organization today. Businesses must be careful not to invent benefits because something is popular. Cloud vendors are often clear on their pricing and it’s CIOs who fool themselves. For instance, many organizations that go to the cloud in order to cut their IT staff budget end up repurposing that staff—and not saving anything.
Smart organizations are those that will take a step back and ask what solution is right for them. It may be a cloud service, it may be an on-premise solution, or it may be a combination. Many organizations are combining their on-premise advantages with the potential offered in the cloud. A good identity or access management solution will push an organization’s secure login or user access rights out to cloud applications, allowing them to maintain much stronger security while still benefiting from the flexibility of the cloud. Other products allow organizations to archive some data to cheaper public clouds but keep more important data in secure, on-premise storage, with one central access point for employees. By combining on-premise solutions with cloud offerings in intelligent ways, an organization can save on overall costs without losing features or compromising security.
Cloud computing is the future of many IT services and solutions. However, for an organization to plan for the future, it’s imperative that they enable employees in a secure environment today. IT decision makers cannot allow the promise of free solutions to cloud their vision of what’s most important: keeping employees productive and placing organizations in a position to capture the value of the future, no matter what trend it brings.