Who Owns Your Technology Strategy?

Picture this: you moved all your data into the cloud. You’ve gone with Platform as a Service, so you pay by the month for, let’s say, a database.

You avoided a bunch of up-front costs, and now you’ve got a predictable expense each month. Awesome, right?

Dead Services

Well, not if you’re an SME player and you bought your service from someone like MelbourneIT, who decided SME customers aren’t profitable enough, and gave their (now ex-) customers one month to get off or lose all their data.

Nice.

But you did plenty of work up front, and picked someone who wasn’t going to kill your service. Because it’s easy to know in advance if a company is going to drop a product line. I mean, they’d tell you (and therefore all their competitors) well in advance if they were going to, right?

Ok, so you’ve found a provider who will stick around for a while (you hope).

But then, after six months, the version of the database software at the cloud provider gets upgraded.

Your custom written application that gives you a competitive advantage doesn’t work with the new version.

Bummer.

Forced Upgrades

Again, hopefully your provider gives you some warning, so you can scramble to find some developers to upgrade your (important, revenue impacting) application to be compatible with the new version of database before it gets upgraded.

Or maybe you were smarter than that. You went with a provider that lets you stay on a previous version.

Awesome. No mad scramble to rewrite your software. Only there’s a timer.

It just started running.

Eventually, it’s going to stop being economic for the cloud provider to keep supporting you on a previous version. Your contract states that they can’t force you off, no.

But it doesn’t say anything about what the price per month is.

Your monthly fee is going to get expensive, and soon. Once again, your upgrade schedule is being dictated to you by a third party.

Or your cloud isn’t quite as cost-effective as it used to be.

Lock-in

When you put your applications on someone else’s gear, you’ve got a new kind of agency problem.

Unless you’re their biggest customer, what incentives are there for your cloud provider to have your best interests at heart? They’re motivated by profit: theirs, not yours.

Think of all the legacy systems you have now. All those applications written for NT3.51 that were too hard to re-write, so you just virtualised them.

Now imagine that those apps are going to cost your bottom line an extra 40% next quarter because your cloud provider doesn’t want to support NT virtual machines any more.

How easy is it to move your cloud systems to a different provider? Or back in house? Remember, the clock is ticking.

Chance Favours the Prepared Mind

Cloud offers some compelling benefits, but it also offers some new risks.

Before you leap off that cliff into the cloud, take the time to check your reserve ‘shute.

Your might need it sooner than you think.

 

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