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How to move to the cloud without breaking the bank

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Having the best technology is place is imperative. Why? Because seamless digital transformation is a key part in running a cost-effective operation.

But where do companies even begin when deciding how to become savvier with their in-house systems? And, what does it all cost if they need to upgrade technology, or introduce new ways to store online information and key documents securely?

The benefits of cloud

Thoughts will often venture towards adopting cloud-based services as the answer. Which is great, in theory, but you cannot put everything in the cloud. As a result, many companies choose to try and migrate, in order to transform their entire IT infrastructure for the better – all in one hit.

And, because of the nature of technology – which is evolving at a rapid rate – there is a real urgency to stay ahead of the curve on a daily basis. Therefore, more organisations are looking into cloud, and the main vendors, for its constantly updated functionality and resilience, as well as its capabilities to be deployed in real-time. They want something which is flexible to their needs, in a bid to remain relevant and stay competitive.

It is understandable why they do so too. With the necessity to become more agile, cost-effective and customer experience-focused in a digitally-led world – whilst navigating their way through a difficult economic climate – updating a business’s IT infrastructure can certainly help tick those crucial boxes.

There are further advantages to cloud adoption which attract organisations too – including its ability to provide an ‘as a service’ model, vast choice, and potentially lower costs than traditional on-premise IT models. The benefits delve even deeper too, with companies favouring migration for disaster recovery, extra storage, document discipline and overall security.

With cloud migration, organisations will be able to tap into subscription-based models, in order to help control their budgets – because they know how much they are paying each month. And, it also enables the modern-day tech employee to work from absolutely anywhere, capitalising on the ‘always on’ culture that businesses have now become accustomed to.

Throughout this narrative, cloud adoption comes back to the simple demand that companies must be slick, speedy and security-focused in their IT practices, especially when dealing with customer details and vital information in a post-GDPR compliant era.

So, it is clear to see why many growing organisations opt to migrate, in order to help with expansion plans, remain efficient and utilise its many benefits.

Cloud transformation shows no signs of slowing down either, as LogicMonitor’s Cloud Vision 2020 report predicts that 83 per cent of enterprises will be using, and migrating, by next year.

Synergy’s survey in 2018 further backs up that data, reporting that 67 per cent of enterprises are expected to be cloud-based by 2020, and IT infrastructure spending is set to grow by six times the current average.

However, despite the many benefits that cloud offers, there are still key considerations to be made for C-suite individuals and business owners when deciding how to shift their focus towards adoption – and exactly what that might cost.

Conducting an audit

Many small and medium businesses are likely to be budget-conscious and so, to embark on a successful migration, there must be an effective strategy in place.

An organisation should be taking the time to fully assess its current IT infrastructure, in order to narrow down exactly what they need – and what the cloud offers that their existing systems fail to.

Questions should be raised highlighting where the business stands and what its current IT costs are. For example, what are the direct costs for hardware, software and licences, to name a few? Outgoings – which directly impact upon an organisation’s balance sheet – should be well-documented, in order for companies to calculate how the cloud can help the budget and where in fact it may increase costs.

In addition, there are the indirect costs – something very tough to outline – which will ultimately take time to conclude. A good starting point is posing the question, ‘what will happen if the IT infrastructure fails?’

Calculating how this disrupts productivity, the time the IT is down for, and lost revenue, is a must during the auditing process.

Further considerations should be made regarding the estimated costs of cloud hosting and what applications the business currently has in place. Which apps are a must-have and can be moved? Are there ones to be retired, or kept on premise too?

When companies arrive at this point, they have the opportunity to assess their current security measures and disaster recovery plans, and whether they need something more efficient such as a multi-cloud scenario.

However, while this infrastructure can provide flexibility and speed, it can also prove to be more difficult to monitor a number of options. Again, this is where working with an expert will help to simplify the process.

These fundamentals are why many organisations see the advantages of partnering with a managed service provider, IT reseller or consultancy, in order to assist with their digital transformation assignment. These professionals can help identify migration pros and cons for each business, and provide the necessary advice to underline whether they can – or cannot – move to the cloud without breaking the bank.

Striving for seamless migration

Each step towards cloud adoption will be different from organisation to organisation, but having a good strategy in place and an in-depth audit conducted, can provide the answers for budget control, migration needs, and underline which providers are the best fits for them.

Companies must also always understand that whatever is migrated into the cloud is usually free. However, if they want to move out, there is a payment involved – often not at a fixed rate. Pricing can change periodically too, so someone must take ownership within the enterprise to ensure there are no nasty invoicing shocks.

Working with an expert partner or utilising on-demand, specialist, outsourced professionals through an Assured Resource organisation, will allow companies to get the right skills for a migration project in place quickly – and throughout the duration of the work. This will mean costs are kept down and time is saved from any hiring process.

Utilising cloud services fully will undeniably be a long-term benefit to a business for a multitude of reasons. The key factors along this journey include ownership, governance, the right fit for an enterprise and establishing the required relationships, in order to continue to evolve as technology advances and company requirements change.

Matthew Hardill, chief finance officer, Cranford Group

Beginning in finance with JCT600 and becoming the group’s accountant, Matthew moved to a printing consumables firm before joining aerospace specialist Wesco Aircraft. He moved to Cranford in 2019.