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Budgeting for the cloud

Cloud computing is creating an expectation of offering a lot of functionality for next to nothing, but there are broader costs to deployment…

There’s a lot of buzz around the cloud and its potential to transform IT in business. However, as with most things in life, there is always a trade off. The reality of the cloud is not quite as simple and easy as the spruikers may have you believe.

One key point to recognise is that your subscription fee for a software-as-a-service (SaaS) or cloud-based application covers the software license, ongoing upgrades, and some support, but not typically the full costs of implementation, customisation, training and change management.

For instance, you can be up and running with an out-of-the-box web-based CRM solution in a matter of minutes… but adding custom fields, cleaning and migrating your existing data, and setting up your business processes and workflows can take considerable time. That’s before you consider hooking it up with other systems you have, training your staff in how to use it, and totting up the costs of managing the entire project to minimise business disruption.

The cloud can offer significant advantages for business and is often a compelling alternative to installed solutions. Just make sure you consider all the potential investment required, not just the license fee.