Imagine you’re building a business, starting today. Imagine you get me in to advise you on your technology. You hope to go from humble beginnings to something big, but you haven’t got unlimited investment so you need to spend your money wisely. When things take off there will be a bit more spare cash to spend on technology, but not a lot right now. Do you need a cloud vision? Most certainly yes.
In that scenario I’d advise you to go cloud-first on everything. Pay for what you use, no major upfront investment (except for setup), no IT administrators to employ, no geographic restrictions. The exact nature of your business is almost irrelevant to the overall strategy, even if the implementation details might vary wildly.
Almost any measure of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) or return on investment (ROI) will favour cloud over on premise or colocated hosting. Almost as importantly, a startup business needs to be able to adapt and change direction in addition to needing growth. Rarely do businesses continue with their original vision exactly, they change as they learn and gain feedback (remember that Viagra was originally developed for high blood pressure and heart disease). Cloud computing allows for rapid reconfiguration of your tech, short time-to-market, scale to handle growth, and you only pay for what you use.
The business case is pretty watertight. The hard bit is making the right choices on what you put in place, and that’s where companies such as 345 come in to help out.
Most of the world isn’t like that. Most of our clients that come to us for advice have already got major investment in their existing infrastructure and systems.
Many think that cloud isn’t appropriate for them because of how much cost they have already sunk. Much as they’d love the whizzy new stuff they’re still writing down the investment on the kit they’ve already bought. They already have people, processes, accreditations that would need to be replicated. They are terrified of the risk of downtime. They don’t have a cloud vision.
I have a simple answer for you, if that’s your take on the world: you’re wrong.
You need to think strategically and not tactically.
Don’t fall into the trap of repeating investment in your current datacentres because you already have investment there. All you’re doing is digging deeper and deeper into the hole you are already in. The cost saving of cloud-first is already substantial. It is only going to increase. Haven’t you seen what’s going on?
This means that your cloud-first competitors are only going to get further and further ahead of you.
Alternatively, if you’re leading the pack in your market, you have the chance to get further and further ahead of your competitors. Who wouldn’t want that?
Establishing a cloud vision is important. Whilst the vision may change as you learn, there’s no point in starting out without a map of where you’re going.
Figure out what the essential feature of your business are, what makes you different, what makes you competitive. Make this your core. Get someone to help you translate this core into a tech vision.
Run the vision past as many people as you can. Discuss it. Talk about the benefits and risks. You should come out of the process convinced you’re on the right track. Know what you’ll need to spend and what you hope to save.
The finances need looking at. You might have to write off some capital investment sooner than you intended, which will look like a short-term hit on your profits. Focus on the ongoing and future operating costs, and the opportunities that come from being more agile.
Migrate and Innovate
Chances are you’re not going to re-engineer your entire business overnight. Some things you need to migrate, lift and shift, just keep them ticking over. This is the easy part: get them over to the cloud and save on your power bill.
Innovate on your core. Make the thing that makes you special, special. Drive the change in the core of your business. Make your customers happier. Find new ones.
Decommissioning your old tin will be like shedding a burden. Let your engineers worry about how to make great things happen for your customers instead of when they can take down all your servers for patching.
The burden of sunk investment is very possibly killing your business. The only way through it is to make the journey to your cloud vision (note I say “journey”, not “leap”).
Any journey starts with a single step, take it.