5 Factors to Consider When Budgeting for the Cloud

Budgeting season is here – ready or not. Are you someone who dreads budgeting and all the tasks it brings? Or someone who loves budgeting for the dreaming and planning of opportunities to come?

Gartner reported that the fastest-growing market segment will be cloud system infrastructure services, or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which is forecasted to grow 27.5 percent this year.

How does cloud fit in to your planning strategy? Gartner states that almost 19 percent of cloud budgets are spent on cloud-related services, such as cloud consulting, implementation, migration and managed services, and they expect that this rate will increase to 28 percent by 2022.

As you dream about the potential that 2020 brings for your organization, consider how the cloud can positively impact your operations, effectiveness, and customer experience. Your cloud budget will be determined by factors that play into the complexity of your environment, and your business’s unique needs.

  1. Users
    Perhaps the most common factor that affects cloud computing cost is the number of users you have in your organization. Most cloud service providers will break down their fees to be presented as a per user, per month cloud fee. As your organization grows by users, you’ll see a predictable monthly fee correlated with the number of users.
  2. Storage
    Another determining factor of cloud costs is the amount and type of storage required for your organization. Businesses who are regulated to keep records for a certain amount of time, like healthcare and financial services, typically require a lot of storage space. If you’re working with a knowledgeable cloud service provider, you can discuss a tiered storage approach where files that you don’t access as often are stored in what’s called “cold-storage,” and files that you access regularly are stored in “hot-storage.” These different storage tiers will allow your organization to save money by not always keeping everything in the most expensive storage.
  3. Networking
    No matter how your infrastructure is designed, if you don’t have the proper networking in place, it will all be for nothing. A good cloud service provider will be able to design a networking environment that ensures your organization has the level of uptime and performance that you require. This will save you from having to hire someone internally to manage this aspect of IT.
  4. Support
    Identify who will provide support for your organization at the different levels. For instance, can your general support technician handle requests specific to infrastructure or virtualization? How can you lean on your IT partners and your cloud service providers to fill the Support need? Talk to your cloud provider about serving as the first call for support for your users, and what it looks like to have prioritized support for your highest level users like Physicians or CPAs. The Support team offered through your cloud service provider means you’ll receive support from someone who is familiar with your infrastructure, and who can escalate an issue quickly if needed.
  5. Management
    Most organizations in 2020 will have some sort of multi-cloud strategy within their organization. This means they might be getting their Office apps through Office 365, their email app through a hosted Exchange partner, their business productivity apps through the software provider, and using a cloud provider as the over-arching aggregate for their other necessary applications. Your organization will need a partner who can be the one contact that manages all of your cloud environments and knows how they each contribute to your business. This partner is really the strategic planner and will manage the rest of the partners.

The budgeting process can be overwhelming. You can take some of the stress of planning off by creating a 18-36 month IT roadmap that aligns your department with the rest of the organization, and gives you a head start in planning and budgeting.

As you budget for technology in 2020, we’d love to provide you with a detailed quote that is specific for your unique environment.

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