How do you know when it’s the right time to pull the trigger on a big decision?
We’ve all heard the analogy of “when the moon and stars align” to refer to the best timing to start something new. After all, ancient cultures all over the world used to rely on the phases of the moon and the stars to time the planting of seeds and harvesting of crops.
If only making important decisions was that easy—especially when it comes to moving your business to the cloud.
Some customers are looking for a specific event or trigger to make the move. Others wait for explicit direction from management. Unfortunately, that event doesn’t always happen, or even exist. Meanwhile, the competition gets better every day, costs keep going up, and customers expect more.
So, when is the best time to move to the cloud?
The short answer: When your business needs it. Here are four signs that indicate it might be time to finally ditch that on-premises data center and head to the cloud.
1. You’re ready to upgrade to a new software release.
Is your technology infrastructure in need of a major software update or complete overhaul? This can be a costly and time-consuming project, especially for larger companies with legacy on-premises data centers.
In these cases, it’s up to you to keep everything up to date. This can mean costly on-premises software licenses and new hardware expenses to handle the processing requirements of newly-upgraded software.
But when you upgrade your software in the cloud, you have a chance to reduce the cost and time of your overhaul. Why? Because the cloud helps you avoid a large upfront spend on new hardware while increasing agility, scalability, and access to next generation tools and functionality that maximize the return on your enterprise investment.
If you double your sales or inventory over the next year, for example, no problem! With the cloud, you don’t need to make frantic, costly upgrades to your infrastructure. You simply update your cloud computing account to reflect the increased usage. For some companies, this alone can save them millions of dollars—all while reaping the benefits of a shiny new software upgrade.
2. You’re going through a merger and acquisition.
Going through a merger and acquisition can be stressful enough on its own. But when you’re working with on-premises data centers, that can make things even more complicated.
Merging your IT environments and infrastructure can be a serious challenge during an M&A deal, and it’s one of the key factors in the transaction’s success. In fact, 71% of US companies agree that technology integration determines the outcome of an M&A deal.
The good news is that IT integration is much simpler when you’re already in the cloud.
For example, virtual private networks (VPNs) can be merged by integration into one account, peering existing cloud networks, or combining into a tiered parent company and child company account.
Implementing a cloud-first strategy can also speed up the merger and acquisition. The average M&A deal can take multiple years to complete. Fortunately, cloud computing can help significantly reduce the time of an M&A deal from negotiation to execution. The cloud’s benefits such as transferability, transparency, and accessibility of critical assets between companies all help M&A partners move faster, collaborate easier, and make fewer mistakes along the way.
3. Your software has reached end-of-life.
Facing a hardware upgrade, aging infrastructure, or an older version that will lose support from your provider? Sometimes, you’re forced to make a decision simply because your software dictates it.
Running outdated, unsupported software comes with a ton of business risks. It makes your infrastructure more vulnerable to cyberattacks, since it no longer receives critical patches. And it can cost your business a lot more money, too. In fact, it costs nearly double to fix a system that’s older than four years of age compared to newer systems.
When faced with an end-of-life scenario, businesses have a few options. First, you could choose to upgrade the software or replace hardware, but oftentimes, that can come with some hefty upfront costs. And while it seems like an easier solution in the short term, this kind of upgrade doesn’t provide the performance boost most companies require, or the access to next generation tools and new product features.
That’s why more and more businesses are using end-of-life to pursue the second option: Upgrading and moving to the cloud. This can help you preserve your investment in your software provider, all while boosting business agility, reducing cycle times, and sharpening your competitive edge.
Note: Because there’s no hardware or need for ongoing equipment maintenance, this move can help you achieve, on average, a 40% reduction in total cost of ownership.
4. You’re faced with constrained IT support
If your business is like most others, there is a constant demand of requests for your critical (and oftentimes limited) IT resources.
Cloud computing relieves your in-house IT resources from day-to-day maintenance work so they can focus their time and energy on strategic initiatives that actually help improve the company's efficiency in the long-run.
For example, with the cloud, your IT team can remove things like updating individual servers or computers, purchasing and installing new software licenses, or constantly responding to employee needs from their lists.
That’s because a central management system hosted in the cloud allows instant pushes for updates and licensing. Additionally, cloud computing will allow your business to constantly deploy the same services, over and over, with the same results each time. This introduces a more predictable workflow for your IT team.
With less of the headaches that come with all on-premises infrastructure, the IT team can then shift their focus to using the cloud to better help business processes throughout the organization.
Do any of these scenarios align with where your business is today?
Stop waiting for the perfect moment and consider this your official sign: It’s time to finally make your move to the cloud.