Postscript On Cloud Computing

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Previously:
The Sad State Of Law Office Software
Law Office Case Management In The Cloud
Advologix Practice Management

Take a step back and look at the technology in your business. There has been a large shift that you may not have noticed in technology costs.

Here’s the idea in this article (which happens to stand opposed to the idea of cloud computing, but never mind that):

First recognize the old rules for the cost of computing have been reversed.

“The greatest cost components from highest to lowest:

  • “Past:  1) hardware  2) software 3) training  4) management
  • “Now: 1) management  2) training  3) software  4) hardware”

For years I have told my clients that the out-of-pocket cost of business software is only one consideration about whether it fits the business – and frequently not a very important consideration. If you have the right technology it is worth a great deal to the business; if you have the wrong program, it simply doesn’t matter that it was “cheap.”

That has become even more true. Hardware has dropped dramatically in cost and there has been an explosion in the variety and cost of software and services.

The far more significant cost comes from the time and difficulty of learning a new program, the cost to implement it, and the cost to customize it if necessary.

  • The couple of hundred dollars you spend on Quickbooks is trivial compared to the time you’ll spend learning it and building your business around it.
  • A few hundred dollars per month on a cloud-based service, or a few thousand dollars spent on a new server and a bunch of licenses, is nothing compared to the cost of the time spent during the first six months or a year training yourself and your staff to use the new platform and learn its quirks.
  • If it’s the right program, the few hundred dollars per month repays your investment of time and money in the long run by letting you focus on growing your business instead of cursing your technology.

That’s why I think you should consider cloud-based programs as carefully as boxed software for running your mail system or your other business processes. If you choose a service carefully, the experience should roughly be the same in terms of performance, security and confidentiality. The cost – the TCO – will likely even out enough over the time the program or service is used in your business that it should not be the decisive factor. Cloud-based services can be as well-designed, or as poorly-designed, as conventional boxed software – which is the point I’m trying to make.

You want the program or service that just works when you sit down at your computer. It doesn’t matter if it’s cloud-based or running down the hall. That is literally irrelevant to your experience sitting in that chair getting your work done. What matters is whether the program helps you grow your business.

Cloud-based services are starting to be able to deliver a smooth experience more reliably than onsite programs.

Consider your business options with an open mind!