The promise of the cloud as a driver of cost-savings and efficiencies continues to evolve, so much so that the cloud is reshaping the way business models are planned for organizations of all types and sizes. One topic, however, that is not front-and-center in the cloud conversation is how it is changing the rules for software companies, sometimes putting customers in the unfamiliar position of having to follow vendors to the cloud.
Consider Microsoft's introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 last year. The solution includes a suite of applications for business that bring together ERP and CRM software applications, among others, to help businesses thrive in a cloud environment. Dynamics 365 was positioned by Microsoft as a solution for "helping customers transform with a new approach to business processes." Yet, there were varied reactions to the launch. While some customers were excited about the suite, those with a desire to keep some applications on-premise felt pressure that if they didn't consider implementing Dynamics 365, they would miss out on its highly-touted new features and functionality.
Another example of a company pushing the cloud to its customers occurred in 2013 when Adobe announced that its software would only be available with a cloud-based subscription plan. Customers were angry about having to pay a per-month fee for the software, largely because the new purchasing model forced upgrades to new versions of the software. From Adobe's perspective, the move (and the cloud) enabled the company to transform its entire sales process.
We will continue to see both positive and negative reactions from customers as the cloud continues to infiltrate businesses in various ways. Whether your organization is ready to move to the cloud, hesitant because of such issues as industry-specific compliance concerns, or possesses an "if it works why move?" mindset, the cloud is here to stay and it's important to determine the best path to the cloud for your organization. A consultant or a third-party, such as Tribridge, can help assess your organization and determine an approach and roadmap that best optimizes environments for integration, analytics and performance. The overall process includes an assessment of cloud readiness, functional readiness and change management.
The first step involves assessing a company's readiness for a cloud environment. This includes answers to such questions as, what is the current IT footprint? How involved is IT in the organization? Is the company willing to let go of the data residing in its own environment and trust that it's going to be a viable business model to go to the cloud? Our company is uniquely positioned to help companies with this process because we have experience in the cloud market through our Concerto Cloud Services business.
Examining probable workloads that are candidates for deployment as cloud services, planning to facilitate that process, and preparing for a seamless transition are all a part of this process. There are instances where an environment may reside off-premise yet there must be integration across multiple public clouds. Or, for some organizations, it might make sense for ERP, for example, to reside in a virtual private cloud. Whatever unique configuration an organization requires, a consultant can form an action plan to ensure optimization now and into the future.
The change management and risk assessment that comes with cloud implementation must be determined ahead of implementation. The process can be disruptive for the entire organization because you have to run your data and also work with an implementation partner at the same time.
Moving to the cloud isn't something that can be accomplished in a day. It requires a thoughtful process and the guidance of a technology partner who can help you make the right deployment decisions that will have impacts on your business immediately, and long into the future. The important thing to remember is that once you commit to the cloud, the sky's the limit.