Editor's note: The following is a guest article from Amit Jha, senior vice president for IT at TaskUs.
The transfer of our entire lives to the cloud, from how we work, interact and entertain ourselves, has been a seismic shift worthy of the label "revolution."
Growth is the only problem loved in the technology industry and a cloud revolution has fueled an unprecedented expansion of the modern economy. Though, with the transformative power of the cloud comes the proliferation of cloud solutions lining up to sell their services and the burden of evaluating the best fit for our companies.
In the current business climate of partiality to the cloud, it is critical to remember a business practice that has remained unchanged from the industrial revolution through the more recent cloud revolution: the need for thorough and impartial business decisions to maximize ROI.
The cloud is responsible for driving success and efficiency for a significant portion of the current economy. It has even enabled companies and their employees to continue to thrive in the midst of a global pandemic. But too often the enticing promises of the cloud can lure companies into hasty solutions that prove costly and inefficient.
All business decisions should align with current business objectives, but today, we see many decisions made stemming from a cloud-first mindset, an approach that prioritizes cloud-based solutions and infrastructure above all else.
This cloud-first approach obscures the simple, age-old evaluation process of finding which solution is truly best for your business and will deliver the best ROI. To continue harnessing the explosive growth in the technology industry, a shift in mindset from cloud first to cloud smart is a necessity.
Not to be confused with a Luddite, or a person opposed to changes in technologies and innovations, I am a firm believer in cloud solutions — when they are an appropriate fit for my company.
Rushing your cloud journey before your company is ready will thrust you into business purgatory, as decision-making is slow at large companies and migration of new lines of business to the cloud is always a long and arduous process. You cannot build an upgraded engine while flying the plane, so concrete evaluation and implementation strategies must be in place to ensure business continuity.
As a rule of thumb, I always evaluate why a solution is needed, when it's needed, and how much is needed. Then, if we are to implement, I make sure we are ready with at least two times our capacity at all times.
I stress a philosophy that withholds purchasing cloud-based solutions until you have a concrete reason that makes the move business-critical. Think of this as just-in-time inventory management applied to SaaS purchases, therefore avoiding unnecessary waste and obstructions to business operations.
For instance, I've seen many companies purchase a cloud solution prematurely as part of an end-of-quarter or end-of-year deal to take advantage of what they assumed to be a steep discount, only to find that the disruption of their business processes and low utilization of their new service proved to be more costly than the original markdown.
SaaS sales is a competitive market, if the sale is there today then it will be there tomorrow. Do not rush into a solution that is not yet an immediate need.
With a physical presence no longer required for a company to expand to a new region or country, being cloud smart is imperative to growing and expanding your business effectively. Being cloud smart when developing and incorporating our new solutions has helped us to go live from anywhere in the world within a week in what traditionally required more than a few months.
Overall, companies should not be made to feel that there is a stigma attached to older tools in favor of the cloud, especially when newer and updated solutions now appear almost daily. Being cloud smart entails leveraging the best that both the cloud and hardware have to offer your company.
Just because a certain solution may be in the cloud does not mean it will improve or fit into your existing cloud infrastructure better than your current hardware already does.
In an age of rapid growth, a premature commitment to a certain solution might cost you months of implementation and put you behind the competition. The answer for what your company's needs, when you need it and how much of it you need, should always flow naturally and, as with all great business decisions, should be detached from bias.
Just as revolutions can bring wealth and innovation, revolutions can just as easily bring devastation for the unprepared and imprudent. Applying a cloud smart evaluation strategy ensures that companies are only paying for what they need and when they need it and are capable of scaling up and down with ease without impacting their business.