Why are companies like Microsoft trying too push so hard for you to move toward cloud services?
Amazon, Google – those guys, it’s easy to understand, right? They’ve never had your on-prem dollar, and so “to the cloud!” is a win for them. But why are traditional on-prem vendors like Microsoft so pushy about Office 365, Azure, and the like?
It’s you (well, okay, your company) buying an OS and then sitting on it for years. A decade. It’s not only the lack of revenue that implies – because honestly, with maintenance and stuff, vendors still make money – it’s also the security problems, the stability problems, the manageability problems. It’s everything.
“We need to make Exchange more scalable, and we need to bake security into it at a deeper level,” you can imagine some software engineer or product manager saying. “We need to change it a lot more often, so that we can keep up with the latest threats, and evolve the performance more rapidly.” And then realizing that customers won’t accept anything more than a 5-year cycle, or that “more scalable and more secure” will result in a product that literally nobody can figure out how to install or maintain over the long haul.
Thus, the cloud.
Oh, and it’s not really “you.” Not really. It’s just that vendors have been selling you software for a couple of decades now, and they’re ready to move on to a different financial model. When there’s a free, open-source alternative for nearly everything you can imagine, the money is increasingly not in software (especially when you won’t upgrade a lot), but in running that software for you.
We can discuss at length whether your company can outsource certain functions “to the cloud!” or not – that’s not the point. The point here is that the push to do so, the pressure to do so, is because the money is in managed services, which is all “the cloud” really is. What’s important there is that when vendors choose to go this route, they’re going to drag you with them to at least some degree. So it’s worth your time to figure out what that degree is, where this makes financial sense, and where it might not.