In today’s episode we continue our discussion with Craig Clawson, IT expert, and the topic is cloud computing
Craig starts off by defining CC as essentially renting IT solutions from other corporations via hosting on the internet for just about any process you can think of.
Many startups are using CC because it eliminates a part of the initial capital outlay needed for hardware and software to start their business. This includes a smaller outlay for physical plant needed to house all the hardware. In fact, some company’s entire office is virtual! Cloud services also help with budgeting since you know what your costs are going to be month-to-month.
CC also helps with risk management since security, redundancy, etc., are built in. The conversation continues into risk management including:
- denial of service attacks on social media services via the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2016
- Amazon’s and others software as a service servers going down in 2017
These are situations that have to be factored in when considering CC. In other words determine how long you can go without those services and still meet your customer’s needs. Workarounds are discussed. This gets to possibly using paper and pencil!
The important point is to think ahead and have plans in place.
Another important point to consider is “vendor lock-in.” With vendor lock-in the service makes it very easy to put data in and next to impossible to remove it and move to a different vendor. There are reputable services that avoid that behavior.
Customized business processes need to be considered. CC may not lend themselves to that customization.
When choosing a CC provider, Craig advises putting your credit card and checkbook away until you’ve done your homework. Match the proposed solution with your business cases. Maybe you have to change processes some in order to use CC. It an pay to bring in a 3rd party (consulting CIO) to help you through this process.
Keep in mind if moving an existing, well-established process to the cloud it will probably change. So consider any necessary training and how/who’s going to conduct it. Also factor in the time it will take away from production to get through the training and testing as well as lost productivity during the transition. Then there’s the culture shift issues not to mention changes in software! The drain on your time can be dramatic. Mapping out the old as well as the new processes is critical so there is a “road map” of the changes.
Hiring a factional CIO at this point is money well spent. You may also need a Business Analysis consultant to insure the flow sheets are accurate as well as have a project manager who can stay on top of the entire process of transitioning.
This all can quickly become a substantial project with associated costs. The changes observable on the computer screen are just the tip of a very large iceberg.
During all this, having good legal representation from the beginning is important.
Use trial periods to actually test your processes on the service rather than as a time to just “kick the tires” and leave deeper analysis for later.
Craig can be reached at:
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