In most cases, cloud computing can replace traditional data center infrastructure solutions for less money, making them an affordable alternative for maintaining and potentially improving operations in today’s unpredictable economy. However, these financial benefits are only achieved when decision-makers take the time to plan the deployments carefully and understand the fundamentals of how their organizations carry out mission-critical tasks.
A recent InformationWeek report highlighted how many cloud implementations are underutilized, largely because executives impulsively migrate to the hosted environments without first identifying best practices for optimizing the services. This means that many of the cloud’s potential financial opportunities are discarded, making the technology less efficient than it can be.
Several technology evangelists told InformationWeek that cloud vendors love charging less than traditional service providers, as doing so gives them the opportunity to reach new customers and introduce significant improvements to internal operations. When executives over-provision the hosted services, however, organizations are forced to pay for unused resources, diminishing some of the cost-saving opportunities. Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent these challenges.
Ensuring the cloud delivers financial benefits
Understanding and monitoring usage is among the best ways to ensure a cloud infrastructure is able to capitalize on all of the financial perks the technology is widely known for, InformationWeek stated. Decision-makers should not simply pick a random budget and assume each month is the same. Instead, IT directors should observe how the environments are used and whether certain months or time periods require individuals to consume more resources. If a company is using fewer tools than initially expected, executives need to understand why.
In addition to consolidating all cloud services through a single provider, which may qualify for some price breaks, organizations should think about how they can use the cloud to optimize servers, according to the news source. Many cloud vendors today offer automated scaling services, which enable firms to use more infrastructure tools when they are needed and deactivate those same assets when they are not necessary. This means many solutions will no longer be running 24-hours a day, allowing businesses to reduce maintenance expenses.
Finally, decision-makers should label all resources to make it easier to observe their usage. In some cases, cloud bills are ambiguous, making it difficult to understand why some statements are more expensive than others. By tagging and monitoring assets, however, executives can easily break down the bills to understand why some time periods differ in prices, InformationWeek reported.
A recent study of about 1,300 businesses by Vanson Bourne highlighted the financial advantages of the cloud, noting that 88 percent of respondents said using the technology enabled them to reduce costs. Approximately 62 percent of organizations were able to reinvest those savings back into the company, while 56 percent said there were increased profits when using the hosted services.
“The study shows just what an important impact cloud computing is having on U.K. and U.S. businesses. It’s particularly interesting that, despite the ongoing economic backdrop, half of businesses on both sides of ‘the pond’ are actually increasing profits and growing their business through use of the cloud,” cloud expert John Engates said. “This includes investing in headcount and wages as well as driving further innovation.”
As the market for cloud services in the private sector continues to expand, executives need to ensure they take the time to guarantee that the hosted services will provide all of the financial opportunities the technology promises. In doing so, large enterprises and small businesses will be able improve their odds of success in today’s otherwise unpredictable economy.