Cloud has been at the core of the ongoing digital transition, altering IT potentials for different businesses and helping enterprises realise more productive workloads are possible without spending big. However, after migrating to the cloud, gauging Cloud ROI can be very challenging. ROI is not just about numbers and percentages. It gives the real picture about the cloud’s relevance for your business set up. It can be a reality-check too if you are not using a smart, optimized cloud infrastructure. This is why closely observing intricacies of working in the cloud and using its exposed APIs is vital. Another example—cloud has been infusing efficiencies into every aspect of Data Management, from content warehousing to indexing and collating online transaction data. If these benefits have been actually realised you should see an upwards swing in overall productivity levels. If not, you need to scrutinize your cloud management strategy.
However, the more critical question is why such queries surface? Are cloud migrations done in a hurry with unrealistic ROI expectations or due to adopting un-optimized cloud platforms?
This might sound complicated but once you dig into the subject, you will realise that gauging relevance of your presence on the cloud is very plausible. Ideally, any apprehensions about moving your business to the cloud should be addressed before adopting the virtual platform. This discussion is structured around this aspect—gauging relevance of the cloud before investing the dollars rather than finding yourself stuck with a cloud environment that does not yield significant ROI.
Mindsets Matter: Ask Yourself Whether You Are Ready To Take The Leap?
Somehow, most businesses don’t pay heed to the most fundamental question when starting their journey to the cloud—are they ready for it? Yes, this is the era of digitalization and the cloud represents unarguable advantages. However, a transitional shift needs an adaptive mindset. Before talking about a suitable cloud system, try to question yourself and stakeholders about the psychological preparedness. Every shift that takes you away from legacy systems means adaptation and some degree of initial hesitation. All teams might not embrace the automated functionalities you think are relevant to improve everyday productivity. Pay attention to key factors that you think are critical to expedite overall growth. Narrow down your list of IT efficiencies to take the next step in terms of becoming more digital, getting more social or being prepared for the future. Most critically, try to prep your team that the cloud presents a small learning curve but eventually yields definite results. Analysis of your current utilization of IT assets should provide information about existing and emerging demands. Your team should not be apprehensive about using multiple applications or new software management solutions. This is not about the costing bit…embracing the cloud is not a leap of faith, it is a calculated move underlined by computed results.
1. Do the Basics First – Analyse Your Workloads
Analysing the workload and volumes of database apart from their management and processing requirements, should be your first consideration. Each from public to private and hybrid cloud systems, each proposition comes with diverse capabilities and some limitations. To narrow down which cloud platform suits your business more, define your workflows, your current challenges in managing them and expected roadblocks with undergoing industry transformation.
2. Don’t Jump onto Packaged Cloud Platforms
Some businesses adopt multi-cloud platforms while others choose standard cloud offerings along with the expertise of a cloud management specialist. From managed to hybrid clouds, revenue generation capabilities or making considerable savings will surface only when your cloud is brewed to perfection. Cloud solutions can vary significantly, particularly their costing structure. Demand your cloud vendor for more customized options, including business-relevant solutions for privacy, controls, security, ownership and access. This is vital to reach the most appropriate cloud ecosystem for your business. Most importantly, even if you are not precise in your first effort at cooking the perfect cloud, your vendor should allow room for redeeming yourself via scalability options.
3. Be Prepared to Search, Select, Question & Make a Costing Decision
Comparing cloud service vendors is a challenging task—the sheer magnitude of options can be overwhelming. Diverse cloud systems promise a wide spectrum of benefits. Some cloud solution providers have expertise in cloud systems for a specific industry/niche. The pricing criteria also varies as some clouds have inclusive pricing while some have a base price structure that you can customize when you add more features to it. Expect all or some of the following costing parameters in a cloud services proposal:
- Billing—per hour, minute, or monthly
- Base fee
- Related charges/Seasonal charges
- Service-level agreements (SLAs) and its consequences
- Restrictions of Help Desk/Technical assistance
- Disaster recovery options
- Scalability costs [and ease]
- Option of choosing blend of virtual and physical servers
- Managing disparate data
- Interaction capability with on-premise IT infrastructure
- Ability to manage data repositories in coherence with industry-specific regulations/certifications
4. Capacity Utilization – Things that Impact Your Cloud ROI Expectations
A significant parameter that influences your savings in the cloud is Capacity Utilization. A traditional mindset will put emphasis on two things—firstly, its ability to perform admirably in peak traffic phases and second, ensuring future growth prospects are not held down by latency in scalability. However, contemporary business, particularly bootstrapped start-ups add another aspect to the discussion, i.e. Capacity Utilization during regular, peak, and downtime periods along with Capacity Maximization to handle seasonal or short-lived spikes in demand. Your cloud infrastructure should be primed for this type of versatility. If your cloud computing infrastructure can minimize wastage and provide quick upscaling capabilities, your investment is headed in the right direction. Apart from capacity utilization or virtualization rate, your ROI expectations depend upon business continuity measures, well defined SLAs, disaster recovery tools and anti-redundancy initiatives, including audits and compliance.
5. Don’t Forget TCO
Determine the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and your monthly expenses to manage the entire workload. Bring in all the expenses in TCO so that you can be in a better position to analyse compare and select. Analyse the expenses and include storage costs, cost per server, cost of network & equipment, software expenses management, and other such services. TCO comprises direct and indirect costs that are categorized in the following categories for instance hardware, software, datacenter, personnel and business continuity.
6. Applications are Pivotal to Digital Transformation
Applications play an integral role in faster-to-market business models and making data more collaborative. You should opt for cloud vendors who assimilate applications in a service model. These service models can alter the financial framework to monthly operating expense (OpEx) from capital expenditure (Cap Ex). Managed applications allow you to proceed with the work without worrying about upgrades patches or maintenance as the cloud management provider handles these aspects.
Concluding the Discussion
Don’t get hysterical about a few migration issues that actually don’t have any serious, long-term impact. Don’t expect dramatic, over-the-top results overnight. The cloud ecosystem needs smart management and it takes a bit of time to yield very palpable and significant results. Give your cloud ecosystem and yourself some breathing space. If you are lucky enough to get a Cloud Solutions Provider [CSP] who “partners” you rather than serving “pre-defined” solutions, your chances of success rise exponentially…