Forrester Whitepaper and 5 Key Points to Help You Realize the Benefits of the Cloud

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When so many companies are thinking about moving their business computing to the cloud – including more than 90 percent of the prospects we connect with – can you still call that disruptive? Absolutely. But you have to make sure it’s a productive, planned disruption that supports your business goals, not unintentional disruption that causes chaos.  Below are a few thoughts on the subject from Lee House, VP Enterprise Sales for Sikich along with key findings from a Forrester whitepaper that address this topic.

Careful Steps Toward Cloud Computing

Acceptance for software-as-a-service (SaaS) or cloud computing is more widespread now than it was even a few years ago. The economy, scalability, performance, and analytical power companies can get in the cloud, paying only for what they use, represent undeniable value for many companies. Some of the world’s leading organizations are providing cloud infrastructures or embracing the model. With Microsoft Dynamics 365, which makes ERP and CRM functionality available on the Azure cloud, the technology is taking another big step toward ubiquity. Until standards and best practices for deployments, integrations, communications, and security become common, there will still be an element of risk in moving to the cloud.

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Determine which applications should be in the cloud and which on-premise, according to a Forrester whitepaper.

As a Forrester whitepaper notes, too many companies still think of the cloud as an all-or-nothing proposition. Moving all your computing processes and resources into the cloud can be a complex undertaking that could jeopardize your production operations if it’s not planned. And it doesn’t necessarily produce the best results. If you combine cloud-based and on-premise computing in a hybrid cloud deployment, you can benefit from both environments. Get with your IT or consulting experts to decide which applications would be best in the cloud, set priorities, and move them one at a time. Review the outcomes and use any findings to fine-tune the next cloud implementation. Doing so may involve a review of your business processes and their effectiveness, which brings us to our next point.

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Prioritize the business interests.

While you may think about moving to the cloud mostly in terms of better cost control and efficiency, it’s not quite that simple. The Forrester whitepaper reminds us that the cloud business model is unlike what you’re used to from acquiring technology in the past. When we help companies manage their move to the cloud and deploy Microsoft Dynamics 365, NetSuite, or other solutions, we make sure to prioritize the driving business needs and include the decision-makers in non-technical roles together with IT. Your CFO, for example, needs to be comfortable with the typical cloud subscription model. Instead of the high capital expense of a traditional technology purchase, in the cloud you incur predictable, scheduled, operational expenses as you pay for the resources you use. You also have to consider how this change affects your earnings before interest, tax, interest, and amortization (EBITDA). When it comes to the cloud, your financials, and the impact on operations, Sikich consultants can provide guidance based on our team’s experience in hundreds of successful cloud projects.

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Cloud and mobile strategies should mesh.

When you take advantage of a major technology change like moving to the cloud, keep in mind how your users will be affected by the transition and how you can help them succeed in their roles. When they can access your applications through the browser on almost any device, it makes sense to adopt a mobile strategy and use cloud solutions that are designed to make mobility productive and secure. When you replace older solutions that can no longer give you the business enablement you need, it might well be time to provide mobility for all user roles that could benefit from it. Effective mobility can result in a great, productive user and team experience when you address the organizational and security challenges that come into play with it. This is an area where many years of transferable, best-practice expertise can help you make the right decisions.

 

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Choose experienced, low-risk vendors.

No matter which consultants or service providers you rely on to help you plan and manage a move to the cloud and provide the cloud-based infrastructure for your business, pick companies with long-term viability and solid experience. A recommendable Forrester whitepaper on software choices cautions not to take this step before you have identified your priorities, and some companies make their selection much too early. Maybe you use a specialty vendor for a specific, targeted functionality, but when it comes to your IT resources and applications in the cloud, choose providers that have a proven track record and are likely to survive and thrive as the industry consolidates and many minor players will be acquired or disappear. We always recommend reviewing which investments, acquisitions, and developments a company has made. Are they leaders or followers? Are you comfortable with their direction? Are they a good fit with your company culture, your industry, and your business model?

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Realize the most urgent objectives first.

Finally, once you identify the cloud technology provider you want to contract with, let them respond to your high-priority business objectives first. If they know their business, they can help you identify what’s most strategic, define the best next steps, put them in practice, and move on from there. You risk unwanted disruption and sidetracking your cloud project if you compel your vendor to act on everything possible, all at once.

Ready to go? If you’d like to discuss your cloud projects, let’s connect. Send me a note at lee.house@sikich.com.

Lee’s article began as a discussion of two recent Forrester whitepaper downloads which you can access here: Digital Innovation Shapes the Future of Business Applications and The New Way to Choose Business Applications.  We would love to hear your ideas and comments once you have read them.

 

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This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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