If you’ve been around the computing space for a while — like us — then you probably remember a time in your office, reading Dilbert comics in your cubicle, when your productivity applications sat as local versions on the Start menu, desktop, or taskbar. Your files resided on your local hard drive or the company network in a shared folder.
If you’ve been around since the early 1990s, you may even have been a ‘sneakernetter,’ the IT guy who hid in a locked room full of fans, plopping files on a floppy or CD and chugging halfway across the building to deliver a report or presentation to a colleague.
Ah, those were the days… NOT.
We could wax poetic about ‘the way things used to be,’ but nostalgia is a poor substitute for productivity and if you lived through those primitive days — the modern-day equivalent of the Iron Age — then you probably have a special appreciation for the elegance and efficiency of the modern computing environment.
Now, you may still be running a local network with local apps and documents, and that may suit you just fine, but if you are still muddling through technologies and processes that reached their zenith somewhere in the decade between 2000 and 2010, then you’re living in the past.
Enterprise applications are moving to the cloud. Repeat it with us. More and more enterprise applications move to the cloud and become available in public cloud marketplaces. There is a clearly shifting landscape as enterprise users (like you) continue to come to the light and grow in droves, consuming enterprise applications in lieu of their inferior siblings, desktop apps.
Take, for example, the AWS Marketplace, a great example because Amazon Web Services is by and large the most popular cloud service and so its marketplace is a good indicator of how some of the world’s most successful companies are using (and consuming) enterprise applications in the cloud.
The list itself is exhaustive, with over 3,500 cloud applications being offered as Software as a Service (SaaS). Primary software categories include:
- Software Infrastructure
- Developer Tools
- Business Software
- Desktop Software
You can find pretty much anything you need in secondary categories, from Business Intelligence (BI), Project Management, and CRM, to AP and Billing, Application and Web Development, Illustration and Design, and Productivity and Collaboration. There are many more categories.
In short, AWS Marketplace contains software for any business or development function you can imagine and even a few you cannot.
Microsoft Azure and Google clouds offer similar flexibility and scope, so regardless of your cloud platform of choice, you can get set up and running in a relatively short time.
How Big Is It?
Okay, so we know that there’s a wide range of software offerings, but why should your enterprise applications move to the cloud? We can learn a lot from what other organizations are doing, and according to the RightScale State of the Cloud Survey (2016), there was an increase in enterprise workloads in both public and private clouds in 2016. In the public cloud, more companies in 2016 were running in excess of 1,000 VMs (an increase from 13% to 17%). In the private cloud arena, companies running in excess of 1,000 VMs grew from 22% to 31%.
AWS is still the largest single provider. Use of AWS was high in 2016, with 57% of companies running it in the cloud. Although AWS app usage in 2016 remained flat from the previous year, Amazon is reporting that workloads are on the upswing. Both Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PasS) have picked up ground, though, with Azure IaaS increasing 5% and Azure PaaS growing by 4%.
And we’re seeing more enterprise software vendors moving their offerings to the cloud, not the least of which was the world’s largest software company, Oracle, which announced in 2016 that it’s moving all its applications to the cloud.
There’s a clear trend occurring, and trends like this normally indicate that it’s time for stragglers to take the plunge before they’re left behind in a cloud of virtual dust.
If you’re still not convinced that enterprise applications are moving to the cloud, consider these important facts:
- The Gartner Group stated that the public cloud services market would reach $204 Billion in 2016
- Gartner estimates that the public cloud services market will grow by 17% in 2017
- Gartner also estimates that the enterprise shift to the cloud will affect $1 Trillion in IT spending by 2020
While the final numbers aren’t in, Gartner anticipated in mid-2016 that SaaS would grow by 21.7% and reach $38.9 Billion by the end of the year.
Why Should My Enterprise Applications Move to the Cloud?
If you’re still thinking, “That’s great for everyone else, but why should I do it?” then consider why these enterprises are moving to the cloud. If you’re still wavering over your enterprise applications’ move to the cloud, here’s why you should.
The major concern that companies have when considering a cloud migration is security, so if you feel the same, you’re not alone. But it may surprise you to know that the cloud is safer than your own network. Consider this:
- Cloud companies rely on subscribers to survive, and it’s in their best interest to ensure airtight security
- Cloud providers are comprised of professionals whose business it is to protect data. It’s what they do
- Cloud computing can actually improve your security
It’s not unusual for perception to outstrip reality, and the cloud is still subjected to, in a small number of players, anyway, a great deal of misconception about its safety.
It Will Save You Money
Think about how much you spend on your current infrastructure, including your networking hardware and infrastructure; the cost of the physical footprint, the cost of IT personnel; software licenses and policy, regular upgrades and disaster planning; electricity, cooling systems, and so on and so on.
Now, once you’ve got a rough number in your head, add to that a far bigger cost: the cost of downtime.
If you don’t know how much downtime costs, you’re not alone, but we bet you’ve got a sick sense that it costs you a lot. Gartner estimates that network downtime can run over $140,000 to $540,000 per hour. According to a recent study, downtime costs enterprises $700 billion a year.
With the cloud, on the other hand, you save much of the costs associated with your physical network, and you can significantly reduce the risk of downtime, usually for a low single monthly bill.
One thing that people tend to forget when considering the benefits of cloud migration is just how easy it is, especially versus the complexities associated with localized infrastructure. Regardless of the cloud provider you choose, the setup and configuration are mostly done for you, and when it’s finished, you’re off and running.
All you need is a credit card. You don’t have to experience the pain surrounding software trials and vendor ‘bake-offs,’ and you don’t need accounting involved to create long, complex POs.
The beauty of this is that you can get in there and set things up, try it for a few weeks or a few months. You can assign employees from different departments as guinea pigs and even ask partners and other stakeholders to participate in the trial. Think of it as a sandbox, but a smoking cool sandbox decked out with sand that doesn’t stick to your skin and toys that you wish you had when you were a kid.
If, after the trial period defined by you, you don’t like it, then shut it down. It’s that simple.
Oh, and if you do adopt a cloud solution, your IT people are going to love you. Fringe benefit.
It Makes IT (Almost) Pleasurable
If you think of IT as a necessary evil of running a business, you’re also not alone. The costs and headaches associated with dealing with issues can be a cost center for enterprises who just need to do business without all the interruptions. Well, it may surprise you to know that enterprise applications are moving to the cloud because professionals take the reins and your software can get out of the way of you doing business.
Cloud service providers typically do several things really well:
- They offer highly-available network services with little or no downtime
- They provide customized and extremely secure security solutions
- They provide excellent customer service
Now look, not all cloud service providers are created equal. Like any vendor, you need to shop around before you select the one that’s right for you. But there are many providers out there who stake their reputations on the quality and level of their service because, when something does go wrong, you need to be taken care of right away.
2020 Will See the Majority of Enterprise Applications Move to the Cloud
There are plenty of great reasons to kick start your enterprise applications’ move to the cloud today, and with a little due diligence and research, we think you’ll agree that there’s a very good reason why companies are making the move. The numbers don’t lie; by 2020, we expect to see the majority of global enterprises using cloud-based applications in lieu of traditional desktop apps. It’s safer, it’s more secure, it’s cheaper, and arguably most importantly, it’s an elegant solution to a problem that has dogged companies each day since the dawn of enterprise computing.
Are you an MSP selling cloud solutions? Do you understand the benefits of moving to the cloud — but can’t quite communicate them to your potential customers? At Total Product Marketing, we know cloud, and help MSPs selling cloud with their multi-channel sales and marketing. From understanding your customers’ needs and expectations of the cloud, to creating a winning MSP marketing plan, discover how we can help you. Contact us today.