Cloud computing isn't all light and fluffy -- in fact, according to our tweet jam participants, cloud costs can really weigh you down. At first glance, cloud services appeal to IT leaders due to their purported cost- and time-saving potential across the board, but CIOs should carefully consider the hidden and soft costs of cloud before pursuing an implementation.
In SearchCIO's September tweet jam, cloud economics took center stage. To ensure cloud success, SMB CIOs should evaluate whether implementing cloud services will deliver the greatest value to the business. To get the discussion started, SearchCIO asked:
Our tweet jam expert Ravi Ravishanker, CIO at Wellesley College, was the first to raise concerns:
#CIOChat I think the first question you want to ask is "What are the drivers to want to move to the cloud"?— G. Ravishanker (@ravishan) September 25, 2013
Success in the cloud comes with thinking holistically about the move. …before starting it. #CIOchat— Tim Crawford (@tcrawford) September 25, 2013
After noting these pre-adoption considerations, our tweet jam participants moved on to the soft costs of cloud. One contributor reminded tweet jammers that there are hidden costs in all stages of cloud computing:
There are costs related to each of the four stages: Planning, Implementation, Migration, Cleanup. #CIOchat— Tim Crawford (@tcrawford) September 25, 2013
The CIO should decide which IT activities the cloud would best support based on value and staffing levels, but unexpected costs often crop up. The first soft costs discussed centered on broader organizational costs and extra services:
A1: … Those include the organizational costs related to new processes, technology, skills plus the actual costs of switching. #CIOchat— Tim Crawford (@tcrawford) September 25, 2013
During cloud implementation, IT leaders may also find that they are allocating more spending to networking and reducing staffing costs less than they'd hoped:
A1 You might find you're spending more on networking (additive), you also might find that staff can't be reduced. Depends on org. #ciochat— Mark Thiele (@mthiele10) September 25, 2013
Indeed, some companies find that their headcount doesn't decrease significantly when they move some operations to the cloud. As such, training costs for all those employees create a whole separate headache for CIOs, especially where security and disaster recovery are concerned:
Q1. Two words: Risk assessment! #ciochat— Jenny Laurello (@jennylaurello) September 25, 2013
Q1. Also need solid, reg. updated business associate agreements / contacts. Critical in healthcare, for consumer data security, etc #ciochat— Jenny Laurello (@jennylaurello) September 25, 2013
A1. costs associated with changing the legacy thinking, especially with respect to risk and security #CIOchat— Brian Katz (@bmkatz) September 25, 2013
Has your company moved any services or applications to the cloud? Are any hidden or soft cloud costs emerging? Tell us in the comments section below.
Join our next tweet jam scheduled for Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. EDT (topic and expert TBA). To view the entire conversation from this month's cloud economics discussion, search "#CIOChat" on Twitter.