You know you want to move to the cloud, but you don’t know where to begin or how to budget. The good news is that you aren’t alone.
The move is on. Cloud computing is the second fastest-growing IT budget item in 2015 behind only security, according to the 2015 Computerworld CIO study. Cloud projects also topped the list of the most important IT priorities CIOs identified for this year.
But a separate cloud computing study conducted by IDG Enterprise found that a majority of IT organizations are still trying to figure out which operations are good candidates for cloud hosting. Unless you’re all in on cloud, choose the options that offer the easiest migration, least risk and fastest payoff. Here are five guidelines for getting the most bang for the buck.
- Start with the new stuff. Any new project should be viewed with a “cloud-first” bias. If a service provider can offer comparable or superior functionality to that which you can get from a packaged solution, then that’s an ideal candidate. Deploying or upgrading user-facing applications such as sales force automation and collaboration are naturals for hosting. And there is no legacy data to migrate.
- Focus on moves to lower OpEX. Operational spending is the bain of many IT organizations. Talented IT staff spends far too much time on operational issues, and too little time on IT strategy and app development. Cloud can offload much of the operational chores that are keeping IT staff from making the business better.
- Identify lonely servers. Admit it, some of your servers are getting sub-10% utilization levels. Everyone’s got a few. That hardware is wasting power and floor space. You could virtualize them yourself, but why not migrate the data and apps to a cloud infrastructure provider? If you know what your operating costs are for the servers, you can easily calculate the ROI of hosting elsewhere.
- Follow the crowd. The IDG Enterprise survey identified email, collaboration, CRM, data storage and human resources as the top five most popular cloud applications, with half or more of the respondents planning to migrate within three years. These are your safe choices. You’ll not only get the most robust choice of applications, but also a large community of adopters to help you through the process.
- Be a hero. The IDG Enterprise study also identified speed of deployment as the number one objective driving cloud investments. Look for projects on your to-do list that can be deployed using a software-as-a-service provider to deliver dazzling turnaround times, delighted constituents and further support for your cloud ambitions.