By Mark Shaw
The cloud is here, and it can be your own private cloud, or you may leverage the cloud others have built.
The transition has begun in earnest to fundamentally change the way IT services, and how the hardware it runs on is delivered. Microsoft and Amazon currently have two of the largest clouds for businesses. If you are a business owner and considering an upgrade- and your IT provider, IT director or CIO isn’t talking to you about cloud – you may be missing out on some real business value in your next technology cycle.
What is the cloud? What is a private cloud? What is the value? The concept can be boiled down to utility computing. Use technology and computing power like you would use electricity from the power company or internet service from a local provider. The process of buying a server, router, switch, desktops, laptops and tablets is about to change dramatically. In these cases, you own the hardware, you depreciate it, you pay a large IT bill up front to own it, and you pay an IT managed-service company or an internal set of resources to run it.
This is a capital expense. There is no way around it. The costs are variable, the support is variable, and if something gets old, you pass it down and spend more energy on older hardware. It’s a vicious cycle, and organizations are starting to ask why. Why do I have to play the card game with old desktops? Why do I have to plan for a large expense every three to five years? Why is this not easier, with more streamlined costs, and why won’t this technology just work?
What if there was a newer way? A better way. An operating expense way. There is, and it is growing in acceptance and use for small businesses by the day. This parallels the shift we saw from flip phones to today’s smartphones. You might start with either a “cloud in a box,” or use public clouds to make your business run better.
Consider this example for your next business upgrade. Your company needs new technology, you have desktops and laptops in various states of age and speed, you are paying an IT firm or internal resources to maintain this, and the monthly expenditures have you asking, “What am I getting for all of this?”
Let’s change the scenario. What if you had a single monthly bill that included all the hardware, software, upgrades for every employee`s desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. What if a fully managed technical support was included? You would have a single OpEx (Operating Expense) monthly for all your IT services – anything and everything is covered.
Now, what if every three, four or five years, you automatically refresh your technology and never have to change the monthly rate you are paying for the cloud service and as time goes on, the price of cloud services continue to drop. Imagine every three years, everyone in the organization gets to smile because their device to access the cloud is now the latest and greatest, the server gets a refresh and is faster and better, the network Wi-Fi is upgraded and now is quicker with tomorrow’s best features.
All of this with you as the business owner making a monthly payment that never becomes an accounting nightmare. It is manageable, flexible and predictable. That is change we can see and feel.
Consider what your technology would look like if it was truly cloud based. Be it inside your organization (on premise) as your own private cloud, or when and if you are ready, in the actual cloud, where you have none of the hardware, no power use for your server closet, no cooling issues, nothing but the devices to access the cloud and the high-speed internet to access the cloud.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, isn’t making his billions on your copy of the latest “Game of Thrones” book, or your kids’ toys. He has exponentially increased his wealth by providing one of the largest clouds for technology there is. Microsoft is not putting billions in to data centers because the cloud is a fad, It is doing it because there is a need, a desire, and a true business value.
Next time you talk tech, talk cloud. See what solutions and in what form it may be able to drive your company to the next level, increase your employees’ satisfaction by allowing them to have the best technology for their needs, and see how accounting feels about an operating expense that is manageable and constant.
There is a shift in the way companies consume technology, and as a business owner, you should be considering what it means for you in the next 12 to 24 months.
Shaw, president and CEO of Stored Technology Solutions Inc. (StoredTech).