Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

Summary:Companies are scrambling towards the cloud because of the potential for lower costs and faster project deployments. But business leaders need to evaluate the financial pros and cons before jumping in, according to a new study by Forrester.

Companies are scrambling towards the cloud because of the potential for lower costs and faster project deployments. But business leaders need to evaluate the financial pros and cons before jumping in, according to a new study by Forrester.

The survey, dubbed "The ROI of Cloud Apps," cites four primary points that business leaders need to consider before adopting the cloud or rebuffing it: the benefits, costs, risks and flexibility.

That sounds simple and logical enough, even to the point where it seems too obvious to be mentioned as those things should be considered during any major change at a company. However, given how much hype there is being dedicated to cloud computing these days, it is worrisome that business execs and IT managers will either transfer over to the cloud too hastily or refuse to join due to possible ungrounded fears.

Here's a chart from Forrester highlighting some examples of how Software as a Service (SaaS) can benefit a particular organization:

Some of the pitfalls, Forrester explains, include being locked into a contract with a vendor and being unable to switch later, as well as other vendor viability risks.

Nevertheless, based on the overarching themes and examples in Forrester's report, the benefits to adopting cloud computing (when planned well) seem to outweigh the potential problems. Here are four examples of ongoing benefits that Forrester thinks will be reaped with SaaS usage:

  • Faster time-to-market speeds: "Many SaaS deployments take only days or weeks. Why so fast? Cloud solutions are ready to go — users need only a login and an Internet connection to get going; there is no need to procure hardware or do testing."
  • Less need for IT support: "The SaaS provider typically includes a help desk in the subscription, and technical support needs are lower since the provider does all the patching and bug fixing.
  • Easier upgrades: "Users get access to the latest features and functionality faster than in an on-premises deployment where upgrade cycles often take three to 10 years."
  • Better utilization: "Firms pay for what they need, eliminating the shelfware problem typical of on-premises deals."

What pros and cons to cloud adoption do you think are missing from these findings?

Related:

Topics: Virtualization, Cisco, Cloud, Hardware, Servers

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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