Getting started with cloud computing can be ridiculously easy. With some services, you just have to type in your details and put in a credit card number. Then before you know it, your [cloud backup / accounting / CRM / email / insert here] service is ready for you to use.
Don’t jump in with both feet
Of course, the cloud’s low entry barrier is one of the things that make it attractive. There are no big upfront costs and no complicated software to set up. But just because you can get up and running with some cloud services in minutes, that doesn’t mean you should jump in with both feet.
That’s because the cost of choosing an inappropriate cloud computing service can be much bigger than the financial price you pay for that service. Say you’ve been using your cloud accounting service for three months, but then realise there’s a limit on the number of invoices you can raise each quarter.
You may have no choice but to abandon it for a different solution. But what happens to all the data you’ve already entered into the system? How do you transfer your invoices and customer details? Can you export your reports and payroll data?
Change always has a cost
Similar pitfalls await you no matter what kind of cloud computing service you choose. There’s always a cost involved in changing from one solution to another, so when you’ve decided to move, you want to be as certain as you can that you’re shifting to a service that fits your needs well.
To do this, it’s wise to treat your investment in the cloud just as you would any other major IT purchase. Examine your requirements. Identify any problems with your existing way of doing things. Determine what other capabilities you’d like to have. Consult your staff, and anyone else who’ll have to actually use the new system.
Take your time
Don’t sign up to any services or invest time in specific solutions until you’re clear about what it is you’re looking for. Only then can you rationally evaluate how well different services fit your needs.
Of course, if you’re unsure how to get started or would appreciate an external perspective on how you run your business IT, it’s a good idea to seek some expert advice. That’s where we can help. We always spend time understanding your business before we suggest any products or services that might suit you. And although it might take a little longer to actually get started with your new cloud services, you can at least be confident that you’ve made a good decision.
Photo Credit: Kuba Bożanowski