This is Part 1 of 3 in a series about Betting Your Business on the Cloud, How to make a make-or-break decision for your business, and 4 Rules for Making Smart Technology Decisions
By Mark Swanson
If you are a senior member of a management team, most likely you have had to make a technology investment decision. It might have been as small as buying a notebook computer or as big as implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Whether formal or informal, each of these decisions required an analysis that involved calculating some type of ROI.
However, sometimes you must make a decision where calculating the return is more ambiguous. Every ten years or so, a whole new category of technology emerges that requires an organization to completely re-tool. In the last 30 years, technologies like the PC, the LAN and the Internet come to mind. Yet many times, new technologies that at first look like great ideas end up as fads that are only adopted by geeks (think wearable computers) and go by the wayside. Other times, a technology is slow to emerge but once it catches on, completely changes the business landscape (think personal computers). Catch the wrong wave and you end up floundering. Miss the big waves and you could end up out of business – think Blockbuster missing out on the on online movie business to NetFlix.
While I am biased, I think the Cloud is a technology decision that represents a technology shift that business must bet on. It is a type of technology that comes along once in a generation and missing it is akin to missing the transition to telephones or to email. If you don’t do it, it could literally put you out of business.
I believe adopting cloud technologies for all but your core systems is an imperative for most businesses. They solve the problem of the endless technology lifecycle upgrade problem, and makes your business – to me – much more agile. The cloud saves time, capital, and allows your staff to focus on the core tasks that need to be done instead of worrying about things like email or communications.
Having founded five multi-million dollar technology companies the last twenty years, I have had to make numerous “Make or Break” technology decisions. Thankfully, most of them have been the right ones and I think I have developed a knack for knowing when to bet the business on new emerging technologies.