For many small to midsize businesses, the benefits of cloud computing are obvious. Improved productivity, lower long-term costs, and better security are reasons why organizations of all sizes are moving to the cloud in droves.
But a large-scale cloud migration can be expensive in the short-term. And some mission critical applications may not run in the cloud without serious adjustments.
The up-front costs of cloud migration are a huge hurdle for many organizations to clear. Unfortunately, that often means those businesses remain “stuck” with clunky legacy applications for longer than they’d like. And trying to maintain outdated applications is usually more costly in the long run than migrating critical business processes to the cloud.
Here are a few ways to make cloud computing – and the entire migration process – more affordable for your organization.
1. Hire an integration specialist.
If you’re like many organizations, you’re connected to a complex web of buyers, vendors, and partners. When you move to the cloud, you run the risk of disrupting processes that help your operation run smoothly. Not performing the migration in a way that mitigates those issues could throw a wrench in your team’s day-to-day activities. That could make cloud migration more costly – lots more.
In situations like this, hiring an integration specialist pays. Experienced B2B integration partners can integrate collaborative processes in a way that’s affordable and fits your organization. These services will help routine procedures run smoothly through cloud migration and beyond.
2. Consider free (or almost free) applications.
What if you’re a small organization? You don’t have to deal with integration among vendors and partners. You just need cloud services that are speedy, secure, and convenient.
Organizations like yours should consider free cloud-based solutions for simple activities. Emails, calendars, and file storage are all available through cloud services that are low-cost or no-cost. Google Apps for Business is one such application suite, but there are others. Google Apps is free for up to ten users, and that includes all the workhorse apps your business or association is likely to need.
Then there are other popular free (or almost free) cloud storage apps like Dropbox and SugarSync and simple CRM applications like Capsule and Highrise. If you’ve only heard about these applications but haven’t actually tried them, now’s the time to give them a shot.
For the smallest of offices (around ten or fewer employees), your cloud “migration” could be as easy as getting everyone to download one of these simple, lightweight solutions.
3. Don’t just go halfway.
Businesses moving from traditional, on-site hosted applications (Microsoft Exchange) to cloud-based alternatives (Gmail) should implement a plan to move all of their most-utilized applications to the cloud over time.
Because when the cloud offers viable alternatives to legacy systems, the efficiency gains and cost savings will really add up. You probably use lots of business software: document management solutions, bookkeeping applications, enterprise fraud management software, the list goes on. Consider “cloud-sizing” all of your fundamental applications. After all, going halfway on your cloud migration only gives you half the cost savings.
4. Talk to your IT consultant.
If you use an IT service for remote office staffing or on-demand staff augmentation, talk to your provider about your upcoming cloud migration. Many IT service providers connect their customers with industry-leading data storage and disaster recovery services.
It’s an affordable way to migrate to the cloud because you’ll get access to the same cloud storage services that blue chip companies use. You’ll be saving money, however, because of your IT consultant’s relationship with the vendor.
Your consultant sends lots of clients to the cloud storage partner, which means you get a hefty discount. If storage and backups are a primary motivator for migrating to the cloud, going through your go-to IT company can be a great way to save money.
Guest Author: Adam Green is a freelance writer. He writes about business applications and cloud computing solutions on behalf of B2B software providers.