An ongoing debate pits cloud systems against on-premises systems; and certainly there are arguments for both. However, building systems in the cloud offers real savings on servers and utility bills, and allows organizations to implement complex solutions faster. If you add more powerful computing capacity and knowledgeable teams already in place for support and maintenance needs, the cloud can emerge as the clear winner.
The initial costs for building and deploying a system with cloud infrastructure are fairly obvious. If a city or large organization were to build a complex on-premises system that requires tremendous computing power and storage capacity from the ground up, expenses for hardware like servers and the utility bills to support them would easily run into the hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars.
Software licenses and security firewalls would also be included in that initial bill. However, the biggest bottom-line benefit of cloud-based solutions may actually be the time and financial savings that result from the built-in support that comes with the cloud.
When you move to a cloud-based system developed and hosted by a cloud provider, you’re instantly acquiring a team of experts with the knowledge and skills to keep your system running seamlessly. Avoiding downtime and A La Carte IT service costs leaves more money for investments that will actually help grow your business. That built-in support also saves the expense of training in-house staff to the same level of support proficiency—not to mention frees them up for revenue-producing projects.
The team of experts you’ll be working with will be able to provide an instant, effective response to potential setbacks or problems from day one. Conversely, if you implement an on-premises system and plan on training in-house staff for support, you’re looking at a serious lag time while they are taught the intricacies of data analysis and reporting for your system. As any business can attest, downtime while you wait for support and services is lost opportunity, plain and simple.
The fact that software is already configured in a cloud system also makes it easier and less expensive to implement and operate from day one. If you build and on-premises system from the ground up, you’re almost guaranteed to spend more time (and likely more money) dealing with individual configuration issues one at a time.
It’s also worth mentioning that the consistent response and service that generally comes with cloud hosting and support helps build a relationship of trust. With a cloud system, you’re generally working with the same team of experts from the start instead of having to shop around for IT service providers who can deal with problems as they arise.
In the past, security concerns have served as a potential barrier for cities and large organizations otherwise interested in moving toward a cloud-based system. Today, security issues are rapidly being dealt with to the point where concern is largely being negated. If a cloud-based solution could save your organization money and make operations more efficient, it’s definitely worth having a conversation about making a switch with an expert who can provide knowledge advice on the topic.