It is coming. The last three years have lead up to this revolution. Microsoft started this years ago with the “to the cloud” commercials.

Now here we are. The OpEx (Operating Expense) Cloud-based revolution is here. The outlook for 2017 is “cloudy” and that is perfectly clear.

Yes, we are talking about the cloud again. The cloud has been on the forethought of people’s minds and our yearly outlook for the past two years. 2017 is the year of the cloud.

Cost-effective Solutions

Why do we think this? Because the solutions are now cost-effective, robust, and make business sense. They have caught up with demand and the local internet service has been boosted as prices fall and speeds increase.

It is the old DVD analogy, 15 years ago a DVD player was thousands of dollars and today it’s a $30 expense. The same has happened in the last few years to the cloud.

The costs are compelling and the added benefits are huge. Our own organization has completed its move to the cloud and it has changed the game for us. We have become location independent, react more quickly to client’s needs and added flexibility that allows us to have instant on access to any type of solution our business requires to grow.

This summer I was on vacation and driving through the night, three small kids in the back sound asleep. As we headed through Virginia, near Washington, D.C., I was looking for something, anything to keep me awake and pass the time. I came upon something called Federal Radio. This was something new for sure. Government radio about the government and how to work with, for, or sell to it.

There was an hour-long segment about small businesses and how to earn government contracts in the information technology sector. This was interesting because it didn’t speak about red-tape or methods to gain favor. It was very clear and very direct. It said if you are a small business and you want to win contracts in technology with the government, you better be talking cloud.

Furthermore, the show had on several members of government agencies and the head of the SBA, they said there is no room at the table for vendors selling hardware on solutions to the ground. The government didn’t want that overhead anymore and if a contract was full of hardware and software and was not cloud-focused, it was discarded.

Pretty shocking, actually, to think that the government didn’t want to own the hardware. That they were looking at long-term costs and starting to understand the value of renting and scaling their networks and computing power without owning.

If the government has found this out, and we all know how much it spends on cost studies, maybe there is something in this for small businesses. I sure think so.

Daily we hear from clients, “Ok, here we are again, five years and all my computers and servers are junk, do we really need to do this all over again?” The answer is no. There is a way to rent all the hardware you need in the cloud and even rent the desktops, laptops, and tablets.

In 36,48 or 60 months, most businesses have to deal with recycling that hardware and swapping it out. Imagine a world where your server was never outdated and upgrading was a click of a button? What if every three years all new desktops and laptops showed up to your office and everyone had the latest technology without any pain of a large capital expense? That’s the cloud and a utility computing model that is going to dominate 2017 and beyond.

More than ever, our clients are asking to do things differently than they have before, the cloud allows us to have that conversation and change the technology roadmap for them. This is the game changer business owners have been asking for.

Gartner, a major research firm, says by 2020 the current cloud shift will be a market of $1 trillion. There is a major reason for the shift. It makes “cents.” Is your company ready for it?

Appeared in: Saratoga Business Journal, January 6, 2017