In 2020, over 80% of enterprises had at least one application or segment of computing infrastructure in the cloud, and by 2022, it's predicted that almost a quarter will be entirely operating in the cloud.
If your IT leaders are not already deploying cloud or have a plan to embrace cloud services, you could be missing out. Why? IT leaders have 2 directives: solve challenges and contain costs.
These two goals often come into conflict as in-house development and bespoke solutions are more costly to build and maintain. Cloud services allow IT leaders to address both these goals simultaneously.
In this article, we look at why IT departments are waking up to the benefits of leveraging cloud resources, and explore how your organisation can start taking the first steps on the cloud migration process.
Cloud solutions offer power and flexibility for solving challenges across three main areas:
Most organisations will start dabbling in cloud services through cloud-based applications, referred to as Software as a Service, or SaaS. The most obvious solutions include SaaS pioneer, Salesforce, which started as a sales and CRM tool but has since developed into a fully-fledged development platform.
The next cloud-based service to become popular was Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), exemplified by providers like Superloop. IaaS allows organisations to minimise the complexity of their hardware, storage and networking environments.
Finally came cloud-based development platforms (Platform-as-a-Service), which allowed developers to build applications in a cloud-based environment, giving them greater speed and flexibility.
All industries and verticals are adopting cloud services across all layers of cloud deployment models — Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
Cloud services have also evolved to address myriad challenges that IT departments face, including common issues like desktop managed services, Wi-Fi services, and disaster recovery as a service.
Essentially, if there is a complex problem that needs to be addressed within an IT department, you are guaranteed to find a cloud-based solution.
Today, SMBs and larger enterprises are realising the real business benefits of moving mission-critical applications to the cloud.
Whether you are using SaaS, IaaS, PaaS or some other models of cloud-based solutions, you will typically achieve the following benefits to solve IT challenges:
While the problem-solving benefits of cloud computing are in no doubt, the financial benefits are often what spurs companies to make the move.
Gartner’s IT Budget report looks at healthcare companies to calculate ROI of taking a cloud-first strategy. In this report, Gartner found that these organisations often spend nearly 75% of their IT budgets on maintaining internal systems.
(Read more about the cost-saving benefits of implementing a cloud-first strategy)
This mimics a common problem across all industries, where companies fail to calculate the total cost of ownership (support, additional hardware, etc.) when considering whether to build, buy or rent software, hardware or other services.
Cloud services allow you to pay for the resource usage you need while taking advantage of scale and reliability.
Taking a cloud-first approach allows you to spread out the cost of large purchases over time, meaning you can allocate the appropriate budget to other line areas such as sales and marketing, or research and development in the company’s core business area.
Because cloud services operate on a subscription model, you can amortise the cost of the investment over time, allowing for predictability and flexibility for scaling up or down.
(Read more about the benefits of moving from CapEx to OpEx for IT spending)
Furthermore, additional cost benefits of the cloud platform subscription model include:
Because building, implementing and maturing a cloud migration strategy will continue to be a high priority in the coming years, particularly as businesses move towards more hybrid workplaces, IT teams must take the steps to move to a cloud-first strategy. In Gartner's 2020 Planning Guide for Cloud Computing, they suggested:
Gartner advises to start building a cloud-first strategy now, if you haven't done so already. Most organisations will find the cloud journey takes time and can be difficult. The report suggests the following as a cloud migration strategy:
The cloud migration journey won't necessarily be easy, but if the pandemic has shown us anything, it's that businesses - regardless of industry or size - must be prepared for the unknown. Migrating your business to the cloud helps you prepare for the future while saving money along the way.
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