At first blush, the findings shouldn’t surprise anyone.
When the tech association COMPTIA asked its members recently why they used cloud computing, cost cutting ranked at the top of the list, trumping other considerations such as speed, modernization, or reducing complexity.
Cloud is now a large and growing part of the contemporary enterprise technology landscape and as the survey results indicated, anything that helps bottom line is always a priority - especially when budgets are tight.
But the next time you step into the office of a client who just read an article about a company that saved a bundle from adopting the cloud and wants to do the same, ask them to consider this: the initial expenses associated with cloud migrations and operational upkeep can easily turn out to be more expensive than a company’s previous IT setup. In fact, there is no shortage of hidden areas that can quickly add up if computing requirements and computing solutions aren’t properly aligned. If saving money was a client’s chief motivation to deploy the cloud, here’s an opportunity to broaden that conversation.
The Bigger Picture
The more mundane reality is that cost is only one of several important factors that companies must consider when they decide whether to make a move to the cloud. What’s more, there’s even a compelling argument to be made that saving money shouldn’t even enter the initial calculus of considerations.
IT consultant Jim Anderson correctly notes that many firms opt to move less important applications into the cloud because that’s a sure way to realize cost benefits. But he also points out that that the same is not necessarily true when it comes to more critical applications where the risk of an outage that disrupts access poses too big a risk to the enterprise.
From a high level perspective, the central argument on behalf of the cloud should be that it offers a better way to deliver business value. In practice, that means more agility and improved workflows to further the company’s larger business goals. Otherwise, any upfront cost savings are fated to be temporary, if not a complete waste of money.
The message from MSPs ought to be clear: this is about much more than reducing expenses, though that’s one of the objectives. Savvy managers are instead thinking about a broader transformation of their business’s IT operations.
In a recent global study of 1,155 organizations conducted by 451 Research, for example, 72% of the respondents said that cloud will become their primary application deployment method over the next couple of years.
Also, the report rightly delves into the several other factors at play, including “an increased need to deploy more mission-critical applications.” That’s part of a bigger story which speaks to the need to become more agile, one of the important drivers behind cloud computing adoption.
Here’s where MSPs can counsel companies looking to save a few bucks to not take a myopic view. In the long run, there’s greater benefit in adopting the cloud so as to transform their business by reducing complexity and increasing innovation. That’s really the meat of the matter.
As management expert John Parkinson pointed out on another occasion, cloud transitions may wind up adding another layer of complexity to the IT operational stack, or turn out to be true game changers. It all depends what the goal is. Either way, Parkinson reminds us, the change doesn’t come for free.
This content is underwritten by VMware -- and is editorially independent. It is produced in accordance with conventional standards of business journalism.
Charles Cooper is an award-winning freelance author who writes about business and technology. During his 30-plus year career, he has worked as an executive editor at several leading tech publications including CNET, ZDNet, PC Week and Computer Shopper.