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When is the Right Time to Migrate to the Cloud?

You're thinking about moving some – or perhaps all – of your systems to the cloud. But you're not sure when the best time to do it would be. The obvious answer, of course, would be yesterday. That way you could be taking advantage of all those cloud benefits  today. Barring the sudden invention of a time machine, however, we need to set our sights somewhere in the near future.

In this article, we'll look at several important situations and events – ones that could signal your "right time" to launch into the cloud.

When You Need a Competitive Advantage

The cloud's game-changer is competitive advantage, according to this article from CIO magazine. It lets you shift a significant number of IT resources from dreary roles like maintenance to forward-thinking and mission critical objectives. You can spend more time building systems to grow your business, and less time supporting systems that simply run it.

Cloud technology itself offers plenty of competitive advantage opportunities, too. Two of the biggest are:

  • Real-time data
  • Mobile access

Real-time data affects everything from managerial reporting and decision-making to supply chain tracking and requisitioning. It can lower warehousing costs, improve inventory turnaround times, and reduce out-of-stocks.

Mobile access provides flexibility for both management and workforce. The ability to access your data from virtually anywhere has far-reaching implications. Decision-makers can consult real-time data on the road, at a conference, or even in the middle of an important meeting. And employees are more productive when they can access their systems from anywhere, rather than wasting time traveling back and forth from a workstation or cubicle.

When Your Competition Arrives

Another signal that you should move to the cloud is when you see your competition "arriving" there first.

We briefly discussed some of the cloud's major benefits in the section above. Those benefits are just as advantageous for your competitors as they are for you. Whether they use lower cost structures to compete at lower prices, streamlined business processes to encourage customers and partners, or offer brand new services you simply can't match outside of the cloud... they'll use all of those advantages against you, whittling away at your market share.

The best answer is to follow them into the cloud and enjoy all the same benefits that they do. And better yet, use the cloud in more effective and innovative ways that can bring you the greater advantage.

When Your B2B Partners Need It

What happens when your B2B partners start implementing cloud systems? Whether you're "up-chain" or "down-chain" they're going to want you in the cloud, too. You don't want to be the lone bottleneck keeping them from true real-time data.

If the relationship is strong, your partner might give you some additional time to transition. More likely, though, you've been aware of this shift for awhile now. If you still haven't made any moves toward the cloud yet, it's quite possible they'll be looking for new cloud-enabled partners.

In this way, companies with cloud computing capabilities will naturally be drawn together. It's not hard to envision which supply chains will become the dominant forces in your industry. Modern, cloud-enabled supply chains taking advantage of real-time data will surge to the front, while those built on older, slower mainframe or on-premise systems will lag increasingly far behind.

When You Need New Software

Sometimes, you're forced to make a decision simply because your software dictates it. You might need to upgrade for compatibility reasons or because the old software is no longer supported. Either way, it's a good time to start your journey to the cloud.

The great part about moving to the cloud is that you don't have to do it all at once. You can migrate systems on an as-needed basis, or at a more rapid pace to gain competitive advantage. Since most cloud services are offered on "pay for use" subscriptions, you don't have to invest in more than you really need up front. And since the architecture is already there, you simply use as little – or as much – of it as you want.

When Your Systems Infrastructure Needs An Update

Another good time to migrate to the cloud is when your technology infrastructure needs to be updated or overhauled. This can be a huge expense, especially for companies with many locations.

Sometimes, such overhauls are necessitated by obsolescence. But often they're due to growth and expansion. In these cases, a shift to the cloud might reduce the cost of your overhaul – or even forestall it completely. Each time you move processing and data capabilities to the cloud, it reduces the load on your internal equipment and resources.

And that leads us to one of the cloud's other "most valuable" benefits: it is fully scalable and future-proof for any size your business grows. If you double your sales and/or inventory over the next year, no problem. You don't need to make frantic, costly upgrades to your infrastructure. You simply update your cloud computing account to reflect the increased usage. For some companies, this alone can save them millions of dollars.

When Your Budget Can Handle Doing It Right

Maybe you're excited by all the many benefits of the cloud. But it's simply not in your budget.

Or so you think.

In many cases, the cost savings of moving to the cloud can be grossly undervalued. In fact, the reductions in maintenance, support, and infrastructure can offset most migration costs in a remarkably short time, and sometimes even immediately.

How you migrate makes a huge difference, too. A best-in-class change management program can improve your ROI on a cloud migration by 135%, according to Google's research. Finding the dollars to fund your cloud migration could be far easier than you expect.

When the Time to Move is Now

If even one of these situations applies to your company, the time to move is now. Don't wait until you're backed into a corner and losing market share.

With the cloud, you can start wherever it makes sense for your business, with as many – or as few – applications as you like. Improve office productivity with the G Suite apps, revolutionize your supply chain, or make your mark with your own customized application.

Whatever path you decide to take into the cloud, Cloudbakers can help. We specialize in migration services that impact your bottom line, including our best-in-class change management program. For more on how Cloudbakers can make your transition smoother and more profitable, contact us today.

Still unsure about our cloud migration services? Learn the basics by viewing our article: What are Cloud Migration Services? Here are the ABCs.

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Originally published on November 07, 2017

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