The tipping point for enterprise cloud deployment has come and gone, with nearly every boardroom discussing the value proposition of the SaaS model. To date, adoption has primarily focused on moving edge applications such as expenses management, human capital management, and customer relationship management to the cloud. The next phase of adoption is upon us as more and more companies are now looking to move their mission critical core applications to the cloud. There are some key factors that need to be considered as enterprises take that next step.
1. Your cloud should be invisible
Beginning with the user interface, there should be no discernible differences between cloud or on-premise applications. End users need an intuitive and consistent experience across all devices, from desktop to tablets. The exponential growth of social platforms like Facebook or Pinterest is a testament to this concept – the social experience is not disrupted by the cloud behind it. This seamlessness must also apply to application performance. At the minimum, a cloud application should be as quick as on-premise counterparts – the ideal would be a cloud application that’s much faster.
2. Your cloud should be industry focused
Cloud applications should always be as functionally rich as any on-premise counterparts. In today’s market, business processes demand a comprehensive application. End users will not abide a “lighter” version of a key application if it changes his or her role. Migrating to a cloud alternative should reduce complexity – but not at the expense of user capabilities, or with an expectation that you can add functionality with modifications.
3. Your cloud should be strategic
The cloud goes beyond merely running applications. It’s a platform to transform your business, and it can help reduce your total cost of ownership and improve flexibility. The cloud can also be a game-changer for realizing new initiatives for all types of businesses. Growth mandates, mergers, acquisitions, and international expansions can all leverage and be strengthened by your cloud infrastructure.
4. Your cloud must be compliant
The absolute necessity for robust security – at both the application and network levels – is a given when it comes to the cloud. But this is just the beginning, in many ways. When evaluating cloud providers, it’s incredibly important to make sure you will have proper compliance for your industry and/or municipalities, which vary greatly. And don’t forget that these will change over time. Any cloud application you deploy should have the ability to get in front of this mandatory adaptation.
5. Your cloud should be simple
The prime value proposition of cloud deployment remains the opportunity to structure your tech investments as operating expenses instead of capital expenditures. But cautionary tales about rapidly expanding user-related costs are on the rise. This does not have to be the case, as fixed pricing can make sure cloud deployments costs are controlled – especially in the critical early migration stage. Visibility into costs is at the top of the criteria when searching for a cloud vendor. If not, the transformative power of the cloud will be stifled – and you’ll be swapping one program for another.
One company that made the move to the cloud is Gwinnett Medical Center, a not-for-profit healthcare network recognized as a national leader in laparoscopic surgery. “It was a tough decision to make the leap to managed services and particularly the cloud,” says Karen Thompson, HRIS supervisor. “We were used to having total control over our physical installation. However, several months in, we’ve totally adjusted, trading control for peace of mind, lower risk, and a more predictable expense model.”
The traditionally skeptical public sector is also making the jump, as seen in our cloud montage video. “Cloud computing – jump in, the water's just fine," says Kevin Ellsworth, CFO of Scott County, Minnesota. We couldn’t agree more – we’re seeing organizations making the jump across many different industries.
Image credits: Cloud question © Thaut Images - Fotolia.com; headshot by Infor.