If you give the Cloud a chance, you will clearly see the advantages of moving your entire business to a hosted, virtual environment. Even though, cloud computing has recently exploded and is gaining momentum, just like everything else that is new to the market; there is a user adoption curve stretched over the lifespan of the product or service. Thinking back to high school, do you remember Rogers Adoption Curve? Once a new product or service is introduced, very few (16%) are the innovator / early adopters. The majority of the population (68%) find themselves in the early / late majority and the last 16% are the laggards who will eventually adopt or never adopt for various reasons.
The good news is, Cloud Computing is nothing new and we are approaching the early majority adoption stage. The bad news is, if you fail to recognize the trend and fall within the late majority / laggard 50%, chances are, it may be too late and the speed of business will pass you by. Simply, your early adopting competitors will have a strategic advantage moving forward.
Only within the last few years has Cloud Computing become main stream. Before the term “Cloud” was popularized, virtual private networks (VPNs) have been around since the early 1990’s. Some of the first players in Cloud solutions were SalesForce.com and Amazon in the late 90’s. Now, we see major movers in the industry like Microsoft with their Azure cloud. Products like Office 365 and Dynamics CRM, as well as ERP solutions like Acumatica, successfully utilize the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Dynamics GP 12 will also have flexibility in deployment into the Azure Cloud when it is released late 2012.
So, for those of you who are on the fence about Cloud Computing, where should you start when deciding to go virtual? If you aren’t one to jump all in, start by testing the waters. I recommend starting by taking a look at Office 365 which includes Exchange online, sharepoint, lync and office productivity suites like Word and Excel. Office 365 is deployed in the Microsoft Azure cloud and once you begin using it, you will have a better understanding of the value of no hardware or software to buy and there is simply no maintenance. Additionally, you will always have the most current version of software available at no extra cost. And, with a tiered pricing structure starting at $5 a month for hosted exchange email, there is very little risk
Your next step should be moving CRM to the Cloud. With a choice between Microsoft’s Azure cloud or a partner hosted Cloud like NjevityToGo, you can easily move from CRM on premise to the Cloud. Depending on your requirements, you can choose the platform that makes the most sense for you. However, you will gain better uptime and more robust integtration functionality for the same price by deploying in the NjevityToGo Cloud.
Finally, the fog will clear and you will realize the strategic cost advantages of Cloud Computing and can make a better informed decision to move all of your business applications to the cloud. For more information about the advantages of Cloud Computing check out “Is The Cloud Right For Me?”