It’s no surprise to us now that cloud applications are transforming the IT landscape, but what impact is that having on the IT buyer?
When I think back to previous decades, it amazes me to recall what an expensive, time-consuming and labour intensive process it was to sell a piece of enterprise software. There were so many people that needed to be involved, from the actual users to their managers, finance teams and of course the IT buyer. By and large, the IT buyer had a significantly large say over whether the software application could be supported and whether he/she was willing to add it to their workload. The level of explanation and justification one went to in order to reassure an IT buyer that the application wasn’t going to blow their workload was huge.
The introduction and high uptake of cloud applications has totally changed that purchasing model. In some cases, it’s as easy as going online, clicking “Sign me up” and you’ve got another app already on your computer. The best thing about enterprise cloud apps today is their ability to drive productivity in an organisation. There are so many collaboration, data visualisation, business intelligence apps available anywhere and anytime that are designed to improve productivity through streamlining and optimising enterprise processes. With today’s increasingly mobile workforce, reliance on these apps is growing.
Many of today’s apps require very little support as well as they are basically a “plug and play”, however a word of caution this can also represent a challenge and risk to an organisation.
When selecting a cloud application, I recommend a few tips before you actually hit the install button:
- The biggest challenge to cloud application is data privacy and IT security. Make sure you ask where the data is being stored and if it’s secure - most reputable cloud app vendors have a multitude of security controls in place but it pays to check.
- Test network connectivity and performance: There’s nothing worse than an application that’s purpose is to drive productivity is really slow to load each page. It’s worth trialling any application before you buy (most vendors will allow this) to make sure the connectivity and performance is maximised.
- Integrating with existing applications: To get the most of out of them, some cloud applications require integration with other applications. It’s important to understand which applications and how seamless the process is. Will it require a lot of adjustment to existing processes, if so – think about the cost/benefit of changing them.
Although the adoption of enterprise cloud apps is now largely driven by business users to improve productivity of their jobs with the level of IT support for these apps diminishing, your IT colleagues still remain a solid source of advice and recommendations. They will not only help you map out the above considerations, but also identify any other areas to review as well.