Your people are using a range of cloud applications to be more efficient. Perhaps they are using MailChimp, Splashtop, CamCard or LinkedIn, some of the most popular paid-for apps in business use, but there are thousands more for your employees to try! Then there are the company-approved applications, like CRM, email, video conferencing, Office 365, and file sharing. And finally, there is infrastructure functionality, like cloud servers, backup, and security solutions. All in all, there are a myriad of solutions seeping into usage in your organization day by day. In this blog, I highlight some of the economic challenges you may be facing today with the growth of the cloud in your business.
The cloud drives growth. If you are using cloud computing or cloud applications to grow your business without having to spend a small fortune on hardware, software licensing, and IT management time, then I salute you. The opportunity to bring enterprise functionality, security, and innovation into a business of any size is the single, strongest reason to be a cloud advocate. Never before has the playing field been so flat. The economic benefits of subscription IT, try-before-you-buy, and pay-as-you-grow are enabling companies to achieve outcomes that would never have been possible before the cloud.
Starters, leavers, and changes. Any time you have a personnel event, it impacts IT, and that impacts cost. Everybody has been in the situation where at one end, they join a company, and it takes three months to figure out what IT is being used and get proper access to functionality and data. At the other end, it is not uncommon to hear that an ex-employee has access to company systems long after they have left. The situation is made a lot worse with cloud because the lack of central control coupled with the personal nature of some of the services used, and this means that the company has no way of knowing of a possible problem and might be paying for a service long after the employee has left or changed roles.
You are paying too much. SaaS (Software as a Service) companies are super sneaky in getting you to part with your money. They lure you in with some amazing free functionality, but you soon realize that you need the Gold/Enterprise/Plan B plan. So, out comes your credit card and great, you are a paying customer! The challenge now is how you evaluate a cost that might be 1. hidden in an expense report or 2. difficult to assess in terms of functionality, usage, and benefit. Whether you are paying by the contact, gigabyte, action, or per user, the only way is up, in terms of charges, and the cost creep is very hard to see on a monthly basis.
Cloud technologies are fuelling a revolution in business agility. Cloud will transform how and where we work and will enable organizations to compete in a globally competitive environment. However, we are a long way from cloud nirvana. Cloud management tools are in their infancy, and until you are using an aggregator who will solve many of the challenges mentioned above, balancing benefits with challenges will be an ongoing topic of conversation for business and IT leaders.