Is the public cloud really your best option? Before following the crowd, do your homework.
There are thousands of reasons why entrepreneurs start their own businesses. Ultimately, though, those myriad motivators boil down to one thing: the desire to create something of value. Your definition of “value” will largely depend on your company’s objective; it might be marketability, sustainability, innovation, or — in many cases — profitability. Once you’ve established your business goal, everything you do should be in service to that goal, which takes money, time, and people.
This all sounds relatively obvious on paper, but in practice, many companies aren’t evaluating whether every business decision they make serves their ultimate goal. Take IT spending, for instance. For many, the IT department is seen as a cost center, a necessary expense to keep the business running. It’s the same for the public cloud — everyone else is using it, so it must be part of the cost of doing business, right? But what is actually the business value of cloud computing? If you haven’t asked yourself that question before, it’s time to take a step back and reassess.
Do You Really Know the Value of Cloud Computing?
Any business trying to compete in the modern marketplace needs a comprehensive IT infrastructure in place. When the public cloud is viewed as just another necessary cost of this infrastructure, executives and IT professionals often neglect to reassess its value, even as the company grows and evolves. In some cases, otherwise savvy businesses are wasting up to 50% of their IT infrastructure budget by treating these costs as a foregone conclusion.
There are three factors that contribute to this mentality: the ease of maintaining the status quo, an aversion to risk, and a herd mentality that’s all too common in the technology industry.
Maintaining the Status Quo
It’s not hard to see why IT professionals become comfortable with the status quo. There’s business value in saving the time, money, and personnel it would take to re-evaluate all of your current solutions. At some point, however, continuing along the same path means you’re probably leaving money on the table. Don’t over-focus on short-term results.
But what if you spend the time and effort to come up with an alternate solution and it doesn’t work? What if it adds unplanned expenses or downtime? Those are valid concerns, but they can build up into a risk-averse attitude that simply doesn’t work in cutting-edge industries. Eventually, one of your competitors is going to take those risks, leaving you behind in the process.
Following the Herd
The technology industry has a long history of herd mentality. In the past, we saw this with outsourced data centers, cryptocurrency and NFTs, the media’s “pivot to video” — none of which were proven to be sustainable over time. The latest shiny distractions are AI and cloud computing, both of which have very promising technological applications. The problem is, many companies aren’t fully evaluating those applications or the value they bring; instead, decision-makers assume that everyone who came before them has already done their due diligence, and it’s safe to walk the same path.
In the case of the public cloud, this can be an expensive assumption. Companies often turn to the public cloud to get up and running quickly; others see this immediate success and follow suit without properly doing their homework. The best solution for another company doesn’t mean it will suit your particular needs. In some cases, public cloud computing might legitimately be the best option, but how can you really know that if you haven’t evaluated its value?
Embracing Change as the Only Constant
Think about a startup with a handful of employees. It has to do a lot with very little, so many of the functions of an enterprise business — payroll, HR, and so on — are likely getting outsourced to cloud-based software solutions. In those early months and sometimes years, that makes perfect sense, but what happens when your company matures? Is it still worth it to pay those recurring infrastructure costs, or is there a better way?
To avoid getting stuck in the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” trap, you need to accept the fact that change is inevitable. Whenever your business grows, you need to take the time to evaluate the solutions you’re using and consider whether there are better alternatives. Is the value of cloud computing the same now as it was a year ago, three years ago, five years ago? If you’re not sure of the answer, it’s time for an audit. Do your research, weigh your choices, and only after you’ve established which option provides the most value, make a choice — but understand that choice isn’t permanent. In another three to five years, it might be time for another audit. That doesn’t mean you made the wrong choice; it just means that change has come once again. Don’t fear it. Embrace it.
Roundstone Gets Business Value
At Roundstone, evaluating the available solutions and making the best choice for a particular set of circumstances is our specialty. Whether you’re struggling to find the right cloud strategy, attempting to modernize existing architecture, or hoping to find ways to stretch your resources further, Roundstone Solutions can help. We work with best-in-class vendors and create efficient solutions designed with your needs in mind. To learn more, get in touch.
Tim Joyce, Founder, Roundstone Solutions