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3 Considerations When Contemplating a Cloud Migration

Enter the Cloud
Enter the Cloud

This Cloud Migration and deployment blog was fist published in 2017 as cloud was really taking off for mid-sized business management software. The rapidly increasing adoption and non-stop cloud hype was literally forcing companies to contemplate moving to the cloud.

Although the cloud continues to evolve, the core concepts remain consistent.

  • Think of cloud as more than technology
  • Choose the right platform for your business
  • Move to the cloud as part of a business strategy

Choosing Cloud is not Just ROI

As a former CPA, I can make the cloud look like the goose that lays golden eggs or a money pit. The cloud is a tool and the value your company derives from it depends upon how you use it. Just like any tool, the more you use it, the better you will get with it.

Some companies start with the cloud as an exercise in IT outsourcing or a low cost alternative for a specific application. Take e-mail for example, outsourcing mail to Gmail or Office365 is much less expensive and risky than running an on-premise mail server. As time and experience proves, the cloud is a platform for business transformation.

  • Increasing revenue through e-commerce,
  • Improve collaboration between customers and your sales team with marketing automation.
  • Transform IT from hardware mechanics to business analysts and catalysts.
  • A complete platform for your business

Contemplate how the cloud can help you meet business objectives. Think about whether the cloud makes the journey easier. Then you can calculate the ROI and whether cloud creates more value versus other alternatives.

Born in the Cloud

Many companies have been “born in the cloud.” Some cloud companies started new operations while others were spin-offs of a new division for online sales.

  • One of our customers was a startup with no revenue and a concept. We took their vision and created a completely integrated platform from web-store, to SAP Business One, and connected to their suppliers via EDI. This distributor started with a fully integrated order to cash and procure to pay processes with no warehouse and no inventory. Armed with a great platform and connections in the industry, they achieved $3 million revenue in their first year of existence.
  • Another customer came to us looking for a cloud data warehouse to tie to their e-commerce platform and their on-premise QuickBooks system. We convinced them that SAP Business One in the Cloud could be their business management platform and data warehouse all in one! A few years later they were over $20 million in revenue and their concept proven and company was sold.

Choosing a Cloud Computing Platform

The Cloud is not water vapor. Cloud is computing power run by a company on your behalf. Is that compute power generic or specific to your industry or function? More importantly, will using that particular cloud platform provide the most benefit to your business?

  • Is information technology is strategic to your business and one of your core competencies? A generic form of cloud such as Amazon, Azure or Rackspace may provide the lowest cost alternative.
  • Are yo deploying a single application to the cloud? Then an expert in that application or function may be your best choice. Think Google mail or Office 365 for productivity applications.
  • Are you outsourcing a core business application like an ERP or Human Resources? If so, you are probably best served by a company with experience in the application and your industry. For example, as a provider of ERP for distributors, we know that integration with on premise warehouse management (bar coders) or shipping scales may be critical to your operation where a generic provider is simply providing compute power.

The more complete your outsourcing becomes, the more critical a full service provider becomes. Installation, configuration, upgrades, proactive maintenance, and ongoing help desk services will all be needed, especially as the applications become more flexible (aka complex). See our related blogpost on Critical Considerations for Choosing a Cloud Platform

Cloud Timing

How do you know when you are ready for cloud? Cloud assessments have become commonplace in the age of cloud. Any cloud service provider will provide them to steer you into their particular flavor of cloud, but inside the organization you may face great resistance.

  • Accounting may look at cloud as a math problem,
  • IT may look at cloud as a threat.
  • Operations may look at cloud as offloading a headache or as a risk
  • Sales may not want to put their precious lead information in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system

Moving to the Cloud is not really a question because most companies are already in the cloud for services like e-mail, backup, storage, or payroll. What and when you move to the cloud should be orchestrated as part of a business strategy and plan. Some companies take a “cloud first” strategy, but nobody moves to the cloud overnight. See our blog on 7 Expert Tips for Cloud Migration.

Next Steps!

I-Business Network offers a variety of tools, services, and information to help you take the next step.

Initial consultations with I-BN are always free!

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