Do Business Owners Have Their Heads in the Cloud?

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Many businesses have been asking: "Should I be considering the cloud? "  This conversation is pervasive as most every technology solutions provider has a cloud-based, silver-lined moniker.  Seeing this new trend makes me wax a little nostalgic - haven't we seen this before (remember back in the year 2000 – everything will be web-based)?  The IT landscape has been littered with an equal number of raving successes and the remains of the early adopters of many new trends in the fast-paced IT marketplace.  The ever-present question: When is the time right to ascend into the cloud while eliminating the Icarus effect?

As technology has become more complex and more critical for businesses, the desire to outsource more of these services has great appeal.   The prospect of eliminating the costs of hardware, challenges of upgrades and avoiding the all-too-frequent visit from the “IT guy” has great appeal for many business owners. While it appears apparent that cloud solutions will be the predominant means to deliver IT services in the future, it is critical to determine when and how they will meet your needs.  A mere 15 years ago, the internet signaled a radical change in the way technology delivers services; there was great hype that most business software would be developed to be internet-driven and companies would no longer require internal IT services. While there were some clear winners in this transition, the transition has not unfolded at the rate anticipated by many.  In fact, the demand for IT people is still on the rise.

So what is to be learned from all of this?

Like all business decisions, the basics are unchanged:

Measure the risks and rewards; ask some pertinent questions:

- What is the impact to our customers?

- What is the impact to our employees and other stakeholders?

- What are our motivations for doing this transition?

- Does it allow us to serve our customers better?

- Does it make us more competitive? - Leaner, faster more cost-effective?

- Does it make us more secure? - Is our data better protected, are our systems better protected against downtime?

While there are many operational questions about this important business decision, the primary set of questions must be "WHY?" with 1/2 cup of "WHEN" if needed.  While Cloud offerings present a very powerful opportunity to change how you interact with IT, it is critical not to get caught up in the hype and ensure that it will deliver on the WHY questions first!

It seems that much new technology has been titled "Cloud" to create a multiple entendre.  While it refers to the consolidation of IT resources into a container "Cloud", also has such a wide definition as to leave many people in a deep fog.  Stay tuned for future posts designed de-"mist"ify this subject...

By Mark Scott, CEO, TUC Managed IT Solutions

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