Are you getting the most out of your cloud investment?

Aug 20, 2018

In recent years, many middle market companies have moved servers, systems and key business applications to the cloud due to the potential for increased efficiency and reduced costs. However, many companies that have started their cloud journey may be spending too much or using services that do not align with their needs. Taking a closer look at your cloud platform can help you understand whether you are getting the most value for your investments.

RSM has found that middle market companies often face three key opportunities when leveraging cloud technologies. Identifying and addressing these challenges within your company can help to provide additional benefits and savings to your cloud strategy.

Selecting the best licensing

Licensing for cloud platforms and applications can become very complex and many organizations don’t always understand their options. Whether your company invests in a software as a service (SaaS) platform such as Microsoft Office 365 or infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions including Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), better aligning your licensing is often possible.

For example, businesses typically create a buffer with licenses to account for new employees or existing personnel that now need access to cloud systems. But that safeguard can sometimes be too large, representing unnecessary spending. In many cases, working with an advisor to help navigate the licensing landscape can save your company money; an advisor may be able to help you gain additional features and functionality for the same investment.    

In addition, companies often sign up for multiple individual SaaS solutions, such as hosted email and document management platforms. Often, these systems are available in combined packages, which also may include additional capabilities, at a lower cost.

Applying the right tools

Companies can purchase cloud systems that are more extensive than they need. Case in point: a company may sign an agreement for a server solution, only to find out later that the server is operating at only 10 percent of its capacity. That organization can quickly convert to a smaller server and save money.

Many companies do not go back and reexamine cloud solutions and whether they are still effective. Accounts payable receives an invoice and pays it each month, but organizations often have little visibility into whether they are leveraging the right tools and if they are sized appropriately.

Taking advantage of vendor programs

Companies can also save money on cloud programs by leveraging the contract flexibility that several cloud providers offer. However, many businesses are simply not aware of the various loyalty programs and savings from extended contracts that are available.

For instance, an organization may rent a virtual machine (VM) on a pay-as-you-go plan not knowing that the same VM is available for a reduced cost under a different program. You can potentially realize significant cost savings by getting into the right program for your business needs.    

Finally, cloud solutions providers can sometimes sell licenses and package services at lower than the retail price. These partners have an additional level of flexibility that can create a new avenue for potential cost savings on cloud solutions.  

We often see middle market companies sign cloud contracts and assume their platform is optimized because processes are generally working well after a year or two of operations. However, in that time, business needs may have changed, and new products and options have likely been introduced that can save money or increase productivity. Understanding how your organization can integrate these innovations and new solutions can help you enhance your cloud platform and ultimately strengthen business operations.