Being cloud happy – overcoming the fear of the unknown
IT cloud services are now getting take up like never before. In product management language, you could say we are well past the ‘early adoption’ phase in the product life cycle of cloud based services.
And yet, the same concerns abound from those organisations that are yet to embrace cloud, and prefer the PBX or server to be on-premise. The fact that the system can be seen, heard, touched, but hopefully not smelt, can make the IT decision maker more confident than if the system was located in a far-off data centre being managed by a team of unknown people.
Pay as You Grow
The point is ‘how do you become cloud happy’ when that TDM-PBX is propping up one corner of your desk very nicely, thank you. There are many advantages to a cloud based service over an on-premise version, but the most impactful to many organisations is the ‘pay you go’ or ’pay as you grow’ aspect to the service.
Some IT Managers prefer to buy the kit and manage it themselves. But when you no longer have to spend the capex upfront and instead treat the cloud service as a utility, paid for monthly, akin to ISDN or internet access lines, it can become a more attractive proposition for many. Particularly when unforeseen costs are removed, such as extra licensing, CPU, memory, cards, etc. which the service provider is responsible for, instead.
On a related point, lest we forget the flexible features of the cloud, based service, these days. Business-to-business commerce is most fruitful for both parties when each party is ‘easy to do business with’. Technology can play a big part in those interactions. In simplistic scenarios; whether it’s getting customers and suppliers to easily collaborate across a video conference and then sharing documents within the same session, or a business being able to track their deliveries through a web based portal delivered from the cloud, the capabilities are endless.
Extension of the IT department
Another key benefit of a cloud based service is the divestment of responsibility over to the service provider. You can look at this, in one of two ways, however a service provider that establishes free flowing synchronous (did you see what I did there?!) communication with the client, whether that’s about billing, maintenance windows, new developments or proactively engaging during an issue with the platform and continuing to do so through to resolution, is a great asset to have. They effectively become an ‘extension’ to the existing IT department. That bridge between the service provider and the client can reap dividends, in terms of platform productivity and beyond.
Security is key
Finally, the security of the cloud based service is paramount. Thanks to the popular media, we are well aware of recent, high profile, security breaches, that spread fear and uncertainty about internet, connected services. A service provider should be able to prove their credentials as a responsible partner, by showing evidence of their back up regimes, blocked firewall ports, intrusion detection policies, etc. Sometimes this information will need to be shared in a non-disclosure environment for obvious reasons. That way, the IT decision maker can tick the ‘risk mitigation’ box.
So being ‘cloud happy’ is all about uncovering the unknowns and realising that in many cases the benefits of cloud computing outweigh the disadvantages.
In summary, those cloud service advantages are the inherent flexibility and the ability to pay for what you use, when you need it. Also, IT management can free up, internal resource by outsourcing responsibility to the ‘trusted’ service provider. Finally, all the key aspects of security can be addressed with the right service wrap.