This is a decision that every executive is going to have to make sooner or later. In some cases, it’s the million-dollar question: should you keep your technology on-premises or move it to the cloud?
As executives, we are tasked with difficult decisions, they come with the job and the cloud vs on-prem decision is one of those.
As a Microsoft Dynamics Consultants we are working everyday with company executives that must grow their business, get new products to market, save money, grow sales and stay competitive and at the same time, serve a more savvy and demanding customer. Making the right decision when it comes to the Cloud vs On-Prem decision can certainly determine if you are successful meeting the goals outlined above.
There is no doubt that cloud adoption is growing very quickly and depending on what study you look at somewhere between 80 to 85% of companies have some type of workload in the cloud. In the last 12 months 100% of the customers I met with were using the cloud in at least one area of their business and most of them wanted to move additional workloads to the cloud. A few years ago, many of these clients would have never considered deploying their business workloads to the cloud.
As Dynamics Consultants we have both an ERP and CRM practice and while CRM has long been an application that customers deployed in the cloud we are seeing increased interest in ERP cloud implementations. KTL is also a Tier-1 Microsoft Cloud Solutions Partner(CSP) and we see customers in significant numbers embracing Office 365 and deploying email, file storage, and collaboration tools like SharePoint, Skype for Business and Teams into the cloud.
Why are customers requesting and buying cloud solutions?
My team members and I have this conversation with customers frequently, so I have attempted to categorize the responses that we frequently hear. Now there are set of responses that we consistently hear from all companies regardless of employee size or revenue and whether they have a dedicated IT department or not. Although, as you can imagine, there are some additional factors that companies provide depending on whether they have a dedicated IT department. I have outlined these key factors below for your reference:
- Software Stays Current – Your software is always current, and the days of those upgrades are over especially in the SaaS model. You will no longer be using GP 2010 or Office 2010 in 2018!
- Faster Implementations – Don’t need all the time, hardware and staff resources to install and configure software and servers.
- Flexibility/Scalability – You can quickly add users and servers as you grow or to deal with spikes in demand. Additionally, you can take away users and servers if necessary allowing you to right-size your application quickly and easily.
- Anywhere/Any Device – Connectivity is critical and cloud applications do a great job at allowing your mobile workforce to access the applications they need to do their job.
- Features – As Dynamics Consultants most of applications we implement and support work both On-Prem and in the Cloud. Although, we all know that there are more features in the cloud applications and new features are released first to cloud applications. New features may appear in cloud applications 6 to 9 months in advance of On-Premises applications.
- Cash Flow – This is a CAPEX vs OPEX decision. With on-prem you typically have a large capital outlay (CAPEX) of cash to purchase both the hardware and software. This is cash that could be utilized on other initiatives. In a cloud environment the cost is typically an operating expense (OPEX) and paid and expensed monthly. Again, this can free up cash for use on other initiatives plus you cancel and walk away.
That pretty well summarizes the factors we commonly hear from all types of companies as to why they want to move to the cloud. Now, as mentioned previously, companies that don’t have dedicated IT staff have a very different set of factors that drive their decision for cloud deployment than those that do have dedicated IT staff. I have outlined these factors below:
No Dedicated IT Staff:
- Backups and Disaster Recovery – We see it every day. Companies that don’t have IT staff frequently have non-existent or inadequate backup and recovery plans. This is an area where cloud applications excel and will provide an enterprise level backup and disaster recovery solution to the organization.
- Security – Companies with no IT staff can’t provide any where near the level of application and data security that exists with the leading cloud providers. Not only do they not have the IT resources, but they don’t have the financial resources either.
- Peace of Mind – For all the reasons stated above, business owners and executives with dedicated IT staff can sleep at night knowing these areas are being effectively managed by their cloud provider
- Less Servers – Clearly in a cloud deployment there are no servers to install or maintain.
- Less Application Support – With key business applications deployed in the cloud dedicated IT staff no longer needs to provide application support for this software.
- Free Up Resources – Cloud deployments free up IT staff for other projects and initiatives and allows them to be more strategic and proactive in the support they provide to the organization.
As a Microsoft Dynamics Consultant and CSP we work with our customers to plan their move to their cloud with care and diligence and make the decision that is best for their business. Every customer is different and has different requirements that will influence their decision on a cloud vs on-premises deployment.
If you are currently in the middle of a cloud vs on-premise decision please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s go through your requirements before making this decision.