If you are considering adopting cloud technologies and practices, you will receive a ton of different guidance about the benefits you might see.
Infrastructure and workloads
Many companies position the low initial costs and pay-as-you-go attributes as a very significant cost savings. They’ll note the considerable cost of building and operating data centers and argue for avoiding that to save money. Numbers can get astronomical depending on how you calculate them.
SaaS and cloud dev platforms
A software-as-a-service provider may discuss the savings from paying for application access versus purchasing off-the-shelf software. Software providers will add those "cloud attribute" benefits to the specifics of their software. Recently, there has been more discussion regarding the savings that cloud-based platforms can offer developers.
Speed and productivity
How much is it worth to your business if you can get a new application up and running in 30 hours rather than six to nine months? Likewise, the generic "staff productivity" doesn't do justice to the capabilities that cloud dashboards, real-time statistics and active analytics can bring to reducing administration burden. How much does a “person hour” cost your company?
I like to think of this simply. What is the impact if you are wrong?
- Is it riskier to buy all the hardware and software to create 128 virtual machines, or rent it by the hour?
- If you are not sure your application will get widespread adoption, should you draft a 12-month plan, build the environment, write and test the code, and release it?
- Is it better to prove value using free or next-to-free services for a few weeks?
When the negative impact to trying new things is low, meaning that the risk is low, you will try many more things. The more you attempt, the more successes you will have.
If you asked me how to benefit from adopting cloud services, my first question would be, "Which services?" Every user and every organization is going to get a different set of benefits. The most important thing I can suggest is to think across the spectrum. Evaluate the potential savings, but also think about the soft benefits: improved productivity, more speed and lowered risk.
As hockey great Wayne Gretzky observed, you will miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take. How much of a benefit is it to take your shot?