Even in these cash-strapped times, there’s little reason for delaying an IT upgrade for too long. Technology still changes fast. The most up-to-date computer software and applications will let you do new things and be more efficient. And – perhaps more pressingly – equipment has a tendency to age, extended warranties expire … and sometimes things break.
However, if cashflow is restricted, you might not feel at ease investing 1000’s on a new server or on computers for your staff. Or if things are changing for your company – you’re set to expand, you’re moving into new markets or you’re simply not sure how the next few months are likely to pan out – you may be unwilling to invest in a fixed IT system right now.
There’s no such thing as a fixed IT system
Of course, there’s no such thing as a fixed IT system. You can always add new components, replace your software or expand what you have. But standard in-house IT systems have their limitations.
Adding extra capability usually means buying new hardware, installing the software and getting all the settings right. As for reducing capacity? That’s simple enough – but it usually means you’re not using all the IT equipment and software you’ve bought and paid for. So it’s not very efficient.
Be more adaptable with the cloud
If those scenarios sound familiar to your business, it could be time to look beyond traditional in-house IT when you’re next making a business IT decision. It’s time to look towards the cloud.
Cloud computing moves a number of your IT resources outside your business. That doesn’t mean you lose control over them. It just means that instead of accessing software or services on a central server that you own, you sign in to a service on the net.
Why use the cloud?
Nowadays, you can do almost anything in the cloud. Actually, the chances are you already use it. Ever used Hotmail, or Yahoo Mail, or Gmail? They could all be categorised as cloud computing services, simply because they store all of your email on the web, and you can log in to see it from anywhere.
Substitute your email for your documents, your company accounts or your customer details and perhaps suddenly you can see the power of the cloud:
- Add extra capacity easily. Investing in cloud computing doesn’t mean buying hardware of your own. You just rent a service via the internet. Need to add access for an extra person? Just spend a little extra each month and they’ll have it – instantaneously. The same goes if you need to reduce capacity.
- Reduce your IT burden. The simplest way to think of cloud computing is as a service you rent. The big advantage of that is that somebody else is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and fixing things should they go wrong. Choose your cloud computing supplier(s) carefully and you can dramatically reduce the IT management burden in your company.
- Spread your costs. It’s a common misconception that cloud computing costs less than doing all of your IT in-house. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But what’s certainly true is that cloud computing works on a subscription basis. Typically, you pay by the month – and that means you don’t have to find a big chunk of money at upgrade time.
- Continuous upgrades. Talking of upgrades, one of the other benefits of paying by the month is that you won’t usually have to wait for upgrades. Enhancements come incrementally – you’ll normally receive new features as soon as they’re available, instead of having to upgrade to the latest version of a piece of software.
But perhaps one of the most persuasive arguments for cloud computing is that you don’t have to jump in at the deep end. You can test it out in areas of your IT you’re more comfortable with. If it goes well, then you can roll it out into other parts of your business.
If you’re thinking of upgrading your IT systems, see if our cloud computing services could help you.