This past weekend, The New York Times Columnist, Quentin Hardy published “Cutting Through the Cloud,” an inside look at why businesses both big and small are finding it increasingly difficult to ignore “The Cloud.”
If we view Cloud as today’s “Modern Day Puzzle,” the question remains how we begin to understand the choices available to us that are notorious for making our businesses “bigger,” “stronger,” “faster,” and “better,” all at the same time? More importantly, if we are to begin to trust someone other than ourselves to host some of our most critical functions (e.g., CRM systems, telecommunications, accounting and inventory software, etc.), which questions should we be asking?
A few quick pointers that will help you get started
Analyze your resources. Do you have or want the number of internal resources (i.e., headcount) to scale your business to plan? With “Lean and Mean” becoming the mantra of most businesses today, what would outsourcing the function of critical voice and data systems mean to your business?
Cash is King. “With cloud computing, upfront costs are usually much less and new versions of software appear as easily as an update on a smartphone, so the product is never out of date,” comments Quentin Hardy. The most significant driver of the shift to the cloud is the change from expensive in-house hardware/software combinations, to simple web apps and software that can be outsourced and retrieved via the Internet. By and large today’s most savvy technology buyers realize the gains of not needing to purchase the technology up front (CapEx) and instead place the burden on their services providers to keep them up and running for a monthly fee.
Time is Money. The days of facilitating lengthy on-premise installation, waiting for critical hardware and/or software updates to be completed, and the fear of product obsolescence are over. With Cloud, things happen instantaneously, often without your knowledge, and are non disruptive to your business.
Not All Service Providers are Created Equal. So choose wisely. First, do your research on the potential provider. “Look for a service provider that has spent the money to develop an IaaS (infrastructure as a service) capability, giving them the platform to develop their own cloud infrastructure,” comments Mike Rossi, Crexendo, Director of Marketing. An investment in engineering resources and homegrown technologies prove that a service provider is not only competent, but also nimble and can quickly adapt to the same fast changing environment that your business competes in.
To start simple, a web search for customer reviews can go along way in understanding quality of service from a provider. Look at industry awards and “Top Ranking” lists to find providers that have excelled in both their products and technologies and customer service in the last 12 months. Lastly, interview the prospective provider until you are comfortable that they are or are not the proper provider for you. Ask them to back up their answers with written proof (i.e., client case studies, customer testimonials, or reference letters) of performance.
For us at Crexendo… we could not be more excited for the developments that cloud has brought forward. The bottom line is to have employees that are EXTREMELY productive. This means that they can communicate, collaborate, and exchange information in real-time, with simple UI’s. When done correctly, cloud and the many tools that embody cloud technology become immersed in the day-to-day experience of a business, achieving new levels of productivity and overall advancement of the business itself.Photos courtesy of 123RF
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