New Year, new projects. Recently released trend predictions for this year put Cloud Computing at the top of the list for many organizations IT projects.

The predictability of operating costs makes Cloud Computing an attractive option. Monthly user based subscriptions are low and service options are easy to add on as required.

Many organizations approach Cloud Computing vendors with the mind-set  that a migration project will also be low cost. But they are surprised by quotes for migration services that are in the thousands of dollars.

 

Two points to keep in mind when investigating Cloud Computing.

Firstly, if you want a smooth migration with the least amount of disruption possible, it’s going to take time investigating ‘the nuts and bolts’ and planning.  No organization likes to get halfway through migrating their systems and find that crucial dependent information systems have been overlooked or not investigated in enough depth.

You’re moving to a highly available, stable environment. But you don’t want to interrupt your productivity or core systems.

Be suspicious of offers to migrate your data and systems to the Cloud with very little time in the project given to planning and investigation.  Even migrating a single user requires investigation and planning.

Secondly, expect migration and configuration costs to be similar to a server replacement project.  When moving to a Cloud Computing platform, you are replacing your servers. They just happen to be “in the Cloud.”  Data still needs to move from old to new locations, in this case, over your internet connection.  So expect a spike in your Internet Service Providers invoice.  Configuration is required to customize the new services to your requirements.

Once your organization has migrated to Cloud Services, then you can expect to see savings and predictability in operating costs.

 

Migrating email, file and web services and communications to Microsoft Office 365 is no different.

While fixed subscriptions prices per user are fantastic considering all the features in the plans, investigation, planning, preparation and migration costs vary.  The difference with Office 365 is there are many tools and processes that are “tried and tested,” making migration project costs more predictable. There is also a large community of experts that can point you in the right direction when your investigations uncover some tricky scenarios.

Your organization’s employees are more than likely already familiar with Microsoft Office products and they often don’t care about what goes on behind the scenes.  They just want to be able to do what they used to do on the previous system and maybe explore some of the new features to make their job easier.

Using Office 365 as your email, information and file sharing, and communications platform means your employees won’t need to learn ‘a whole new system.’  They will be adding to knowledge of software they already know how to use.  Training will still be required to help employee’s understand the changes that impact them.  But training becomes a manageable list of topics that looks more like the ‘What’s New’ section of a help document, rather than a book to read if there was a complete change of tools.

 

It’s best to be aware of these common costs that are part of any system upgrade or migration.  If you have chosen Microsoft Office 365 as your Cloud Computing platform, upgrade and migration costs will often be lower than implementing other solutions thanks to tried and tested methods, familiar software and a range of Microsoft and third-party tools.