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Your cloud migration is not a cost center

Anyone who works in IT knows the struggles of their department being considered a "cost center" by most businesses. Maintaining servers, desktops, software upgrades, web sites and making sure the digital parts of the operation keep turning smoothly is not a glorious job, and usually not something anyone notices outside of the department. At least, not until something breaks, then people realize how important IT is in making sure business can still be done. But again, as soon as things go back to normal, management typically stops thinking about the tech and they go back to worrying about sales, finances and production.

Seeing that this is a fact of life, trying to get a budget assigned for large projects can be a challenge. This challenge is a big part of why a lot of companies lag behind the industry standard when it comes to best practices, using the latest technologies or anything that involves spending a lot of money to get something that has no direct, immediate impact on the bottom line. Cloud migrations often fit in this difficult place, where the benefits can be explained and the data shows how much value an organization can get from a properly executed plan, but there may not be any impact on the quarterly financial report. But as an executive, that doesn't mean these projects should be put back. Whether you're working in the back office, trying to convince your boss to approve your project, or you're a manager wondering whether the project should be put on the chopping block, here are a few arguments you may want to consider.

Migrating your operations to the cloud may save you a lot of money in the long term. Even if the migration may be costly, and you may not see any financial result of such a project in the short term, there are many reasons why migrating to the cloud may be worth it financially for the long term. First, the cloud allows elastic scaling. This means that when demand goes up, you can scale your operations up by as little or as much as you need. You no longer need to plan hardware purchases a long time in advance, and you don't end up with systems idling underutilized because you already paid for them and the usage isn't as high as you anticipated. With the cloud, you pay for exactly what you use. Also, there are lots of adjacent costs that may be cut when going to the cloud. You no longer need to worry about keeping a fleet of servers running, cooled down using HVAC hardware, in many cases OS updates are handled by the cloud provider, you have less exposure when it comes to security, etc. All of these elements can lead to cost savings.

Business is now online first, and your cloud deployment allows you to stay competitive. Even companies that are primarily focused on production, or if most of your sales come from a physical presence, there's no denying that everything is going online. If you're behind the times in your tech, that not only means that you're not going to attract a lot of talent, but your clients will soon go elsewhere as well. Having a responsive website, an efficient set of back office software, and a secure digital environment is crucial for your operations, whether you realize it or not.

Your organization is not an island, and making sure you're taking advantage of the latest cloud technologies means bringing a large array of talents to your side. In the old days most companies would guard their internal processes against all outside eyes. If you had an issue, you had to look in-house for a solution, and you hired anyone needed to keep your shop running. Now, the business landscape has evolved to include a lot of consulting companies, vendors and more to help you out when needed. If you own your servers and digital operations, it may bring a sense of ownership, but when something goes wrong you're alone trying to solve the issue while your employees, customers and vendors can't do anything since everything is digital. By using the cloud and taking advantage of the latest cloud features, you always have your cloud vendor available to assist you. Consultants are available to help using these standard best practices, and you're no longer an island, trying to put out fires all by your lonesome.

As the year comes to a close, it's worth thinking whether your organization follows best practices when it comes to the cloud. Do you still have mission critical servers running in the basement, creeping along because everyone forgot about them, or do you have a properly designed and implemented cloud operation? These types of questions won't impact your bottom line as the Holidays roll in. But when things go wrong and sales dry up, it's too late to start thinking about it while income start drying up.