Sitting here on my sofa over the weekend, a question popped into my head – when is it right to move an application to the cloud? To add further context, what I mean here is how as an IT manager, do you make the decision that a particular service or application would better serve the business delivered from the cloud? What should I think about? I suppose the key things to think about are the following:

  1. Security and legislative considerations of data that you are unable to control where and how it is stored.
  2. Support & Maintenance costs, does the service run on expensive infrastructure? Or does it run on aging infrastructure where the “technical debt” is too high?
  3. Is it a line of business application? Does it generate revenue for the business?
  4. Does it implement specific intellectual property in a method or mechanic that maintains competitive advantage?
  5. Skills, are you able to maintain the necessary administrative skills in a cost effective manner?

The general belief currently right now is that applications that support the business but do not represent any specific competitive advantage or direct benefit to the business can be considered candidates for the cloud.

Surely it isn’t that simple as we need to consider the points above. We may have an application that is not line of business critical but it could for instance contain information that is sensitive and so cannot be allowed outside the secure perimeter.

Further, you may have a new application that is implemented on technology that can be supported in-house on existing infrastructure with minimal increment to the IT support function (I know! as if right? ) but why put this out to the cloud if there is no apparent cost benefit to it?

The bottom line I think is that as with any business service and the architecture that it is deployed on, you have to take a holistic view as an IT manager, assess the options available and assess the costs, benefits and risks of each and make the decision appropriate to that application.

Alas it brings me to the conclusion that this is yet another question answered by the favourite IT consultant response – “it depends”…