In a previous article about the value of cloud, we examined the differences between the most common cloud deployment strategies and how businesses are evaluating those investments today. Now, we'll shift gears to focus on finding value in cloud depending on the specific applications you plan to implement within the network. Whether its for unified communications or any other cloud-enabled platform, it's crucial to evaluate different cloud deployment options in an apples-to-apples comparison.
"Cloud solutions provide tangiable value to organizations, not just thanks to financial savings."
Cloud computing systems are considered highly valuable for businesses that implement them for a number of reasons. Companies that utilize standard public cloud, software-as-a-service functions primarily do so to reduce liabilities on their balance sheet without compromising performance. Public cloud users enjoy access to a distributed network of practically limitless processing power, something that would incur enormous costs for the average enterprise.
Assessing value through viability
Of course, just because cloud systems are less costly than their on-premise equivalents doesn't mean there are no costs to consider. The value created by cloud services does not come simply from its lower capital requirements, but depends on factors like implementation and IT operations that can be highly variable from one company to another. Even the essential task of migrating applications and data from a legacy solution to a new cloud provider often proves more costly than initially planned, both from a financial perspective as well as relative to the time required.
Therefore, maximizing cloud's value in your own business depends on minimizing the risks posed by implementation. To ease the pain that often results from a large-scale cloud migration, as explained by two senior managers at Deloitte, it's important to get to know your applications well.
"In today's highly distributed environments, applications can have thousands of interfaces and connection points, meaning that a single user request can span many parts of the application stack," the article written by Deloitte cloud experts Ranjit Bawa, Nicholas Merizzi and Eric Lam explained. "A critical first step entails understanding how to look at an application and its interdependencies as well as the corresponding implications for migrating it to the cloud."
Creating a plan
With a more solid grasp of the applications your business relies on and how they need to work in the cloud, it's possible to progress to the next step: devising a plan to execute the project. Deloitte recommended designating a team of project leaders from each corner of the business who will have the final say on each step in the migration and implementation process. During this phase, no department can be excluded if they will be expected to rely on the cloud-based applications later on.
Finally, the Deloitte experts advised against taking a "one-size-fits-all" approach to cloud implementation, tempting though it may be. While cloud solutions are often touted for their plug-and-play abilities, it usually takes more work to smooth out the kinks and get the application suite running optimally. Customizing the implementation process may require taking one of two different approaches, depending on the exact requirements of the application:
- An infrastructure-as-a-service] approach works best for applications that can simply be rehosted from one data center to another, or that can be accessed from any web-enabled authorized device.
- A platform-as-a-service approach can work better for applications that are too complex to simply be hosted elsewhere. This can require more work upfront, but it's time that pays off once the applications have been implemented correctly the first time.
Making unified communications work for your business requires a full accounting of all the benefits and risks associated with your organization's unique needs. Contact Teo Technologies for more information about cloud UC solutions designed to maximize value at every step of the way.