For years you’ve heard about how cloud-based platforms like Office 365 will conserve resources for your company, but how do you quantify this savings before an implementation?
It’s often easier to look at how Office 365 will change your IT footprint, and base the cost reductions on that.
What Is Your IT Footprint Today?
When we talk about your IT footprint, we are not referring to the space taken up by servers and applications – we’re talking about the factors impacting organizational efficiency, like expenses, resources, time, and energy.
Assessing your footprint means taking a hard look at the on-prem solution you are using now - including usage levels, the number of servers, and end-users - and comparing the costs to what the infrastructure would look like in the cloud.
Let’s say your company manages all its resources on-prem and you have 500 employees. Moving your environment to Office 365 could cut your expenses by at least half, and also give your team access to an array of communication and productivity-enhancing tools.
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The Biggest Areas Where Enterprise Saves
The biggest areas where companies save money is hardware and licensing costs.
You obviously don’t have to purchase servers anymore, and this frees IT from the task of maintaining them, allowing you to save on labor costs or reallocate people to new projects.
As far as licensing goes, it’s important to note that you will pay more for an on-prem SharePoint server than you would in the cloud. With an on-site solution, you pay a fee for the software, then shell out user access fees for SharePoint features. When you go to the cloud, you get access to SharePoint through your Office 365 subscription. Everything is streamlined, and you won’t pay for software installation fees.
Few IT managers would deny that saving money on server costs, licensing, and personnel is a good thing, but some of them remain on the sidelines because of outdated concerns about security.
What they may not realize is that the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) offers better security features than you can get on-prem.
Another popular misconception is that everything has to be done in the cloud when you use Office 365. This is not true. One example is Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), which allows you to log in using on-prem credentials instead of the Microsoft login prompt. You can still manage passwords locally and have them sync up with the cloud.
Another area where organizations can reduce their footprint is data recovery.
If your company has the ever popular “server room” and the sprinkler system goes off, you’ve got a data recovery situation on your hands. More than likely your data is backed up to an offsite server, but by hosting your data on-prem and at an offsite location, you have effectively doubled your costs.
You can avoid these costs completely with Office 365. By storing your data in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about damaged servers. Microsoft hosts your data and backs it up. Even if you want to keep an on-prem server, you could still use a hybrid solution and back everything up in the cloud. You get the same redundancy as you would by owning and managing servers at two different locations—at a fraction of the cost.
On-prem servers run out of space. When you max out your space, you risk losing access to email or other vital services. These things always happen at the most inconvenient times. Just ask Murphy.
When this happens, you’ll have to power down your server, install a new hard drive, and configure the system. This process can cost thousands of dollars and take a lot of time, but in the cloud you can buy extra space and start using it immediately - no downtime for your services or data.
While some IT departments are still maintaining their infrastructure on-prem, the truth is every enterprise could reduce its IT footprint and improve workflows by switching to Office 365. How much will your footprint shrink? That depends on your company and the existing set up, but the odds of winning are always in your favor. So why wait?