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With the plethora of cloud and hosting solutions bombarding our screens on a daily basis, and possibly a need for you to upgrade your ageing IT systems; what on earth do you do? Simple…

Start Planning!
Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, just when you thought you understood the difference between your Megabytes and your Megabus… your MAC address from your Big Mac with fries, the whole of the IT world has been stood on its head and turned your IT plans and the options available to you upside down.

Not since the 1999 pre millennium stampede have I seen so much confusion in the marketplace. Unfortunately just like when the Millennium Bug hit our streets, confusion can bring opportunity and unfortunately opportunity can bring opportunists. Time to be careful – The Cloud is not a solution, it is a journey, and too many IT businesses are offering solutions, as that is always a good buzz word, when what is actually required is a strategy. A strategy, like a good book, has a beginning, a middle, and an end. One of the most important elements on any IT journey is not only knowing where you want to get to, but also know exactly where you are starting from.

It is all to easy to get caught up in the hype, the IT language… the tech with suppliers offering things like… “cloud solutions”, “hosting platforms”, “dedicated server environment”, “multi-tenanted shared platforms”, in their Tier 2, Tier 3, Tier 3+, Tier 4 datacentres, where they have interconnects joining their DR certified, DDoS preventing, replicating, redundant, offline, online, AV protected, PCI DSS compliant systems together, to give you a lights on, 24/7/365 experience with guaranteed 99.9% uptime!!!

The platforms are undoubtedly great, the solutions are future proofed and the datacentres are impenetrable.However did they ever ask you what you wanted? Do these businesses know what your business does, what your goals and aspirations are? Do they know how all your software ties together, what talks to what, what the dependencies are, and what the true day to day requirements are…probably not. Do they know your business plan, do you have an IT strategy?…probably not. I would suggest it is not time to simply invest…it is time to plan!

Recommendations (a small selection!)

  • Understand exactly what you have – do a full and complete software, hardware, connectivity inventory
  • Complete a GAP analysis on your current software licence compliance
  • Have diagrams of what your current IT setup looks like
  • Agree the end objectives of a migration into the cloud, what are you trying to achieve
  • Have a realistic understanding of budgets including the potentially large migration, project planning cost associated with a move
  • Have a IT partner you can trust
  • Write a plan, and run as a full project

Other areas to consider include:

  • Have you got the correct and adequate connectivity in place? (and broadband is simply not good enough for most businesses)?
  • Do you have backup connectivity in place?
  • Does the software you have need to integrate with each other?
  • Do you still need PCs – terminals are better for most hosted/cloud solutions and cheaper?
  • How will your printing, scanning, document management work in a virtual network?
  • Are you prepared to sign lengthy contracts with new supplier (very often necessary with hosted providers)?
  • Do you understand the implication of moving on to a hosted platform, not only the benefits but possibly the limitations?

There are many many questions to answer and the whole topic really should be approached in a structured, holistic and strategic way.

Good luck, welcome to our brave new world!

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