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Speed, Savings and Productivity: What’s the Cloud Worth to You?

Speed, Savings and Productivity: What's the Cloud Worth to You?

While moving areas of your IT infrastructure to the cloud may promise a number of business advantages, organizations need to develop a concrete case for using cloud-based productivity tools and content management.

Here are five factors to consider as you assess the value of moving to the cloud:

 1. Increased agility and speed:

In a competitive environment, timing is everything, and the cloud gives you an edge. When you’re using on-premises resources, you have to first provision hardware. That process is often costly, disruptive and time-consuming. The cloud, however, offers more rapid, flexible implementations.If you’re focusing on development, for example, you could use the Azure platform to quickly spin up servers and provide access to your development team. Or, if you’re using Office 365 and SharePoint Online for content management, you could spin up new SharePoint sites without worrying about hardware requirements and other internal capabilities.

 2. Reduced hardware costs:

One of the most obvious advantages of the cloud over on-premises infrastructure is the way it cuts down the expense of purchasing and maintaining hardware, such as physical servers. When assessing the value of a cloud migration, make sure to factor in the hardware savings that result from moving these IT capabilities and resources.

 3. Tailored software licensing:

Moving to the cloud may offer opportunities to consolidate your software licensing or reduce the licensing costs in other ways. In the past, once you bought an on-premises enterprise software solution, the vendor didn’t necessarily have a big stake in whether or not it was actually being used. The cloud software model allows for more tailored licensing, with vendors now pricing based on a per-user basis. With a platform like Office 365, your organization has considerable flexibility to scale up or scale down the number of user licenses and change plans, depending on how much you use the technology.An interesting side effect of this licensing model is that cloud vendors have a clear interest in providing the best experience possible in order to boost user adoption and sell more licenses. And that high user-adoption rate is fundamental to improving collaboration and communication in your organization.

 4. Moving personnel to higher-value tasks:

With cloud solutions, you’re pushing low-level routine tasks and maintenance out of your IT department and back to the vendor. That doesn’t necessarily mean your organization saves money by reducing your headcount; you could realize greater value by reallocating personnel to more strategic tasks that increase productivity. By removing the burden of server maintenance, you free up IT staff to pursue projects that create real business value, such as building internal applications or focusing more on user adoption.

 5. Access to new capabilities and updates:

When moving to the cloud, your goal might be to simply obtain equivalent capabilities at a cost savings. But with the cloud-based model, those capabilities may expand quickly beyond your on-premises system.While software vendors once had three-year product cycles, now they typically roll out new features every few months, and many of those updates focus on improving the user experience. The cloud model facilitates real-time user feedback, which then drives enhancements in usability. Over time, this feedback loop creates a virtuous cycle in the cloud that improves user adoption, helping your organization get more out of your software solutions.

The cloud often promises improvements in collaboration and communication, productivity, and user adoption. Just remember that it’s important to target and measure specific improvements when you need to assess the value of using the cloud for productivity tools, content management and collaboration solutions.

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