September 30th marks the end of the U.S. government’s fiscal year. No, it’s not a holiday or generally-recognized cause for celebration, but I’d like to offer an exciting twist: end-of-year is the perfect time to make sure you’re getting the most out of your cloud investment.
Turn end-of-year into a time for revisiting business needs and mitigating unnecessary spend. With the cloud’s promises of stimulating growth and maximizing talent, the challenge of keeping track of cloud apps oftentimes is a peripheral concern, even if it is a considerable obstacle. For starters, cloud adoption rarely follows fiscal timeframes. Departments external to IT and end users can easily discover and implement the latest productivity apps independently thanks to these apps’ inherent ease-of-use and accessibility. So, where to begin?
Establish a Cadence
By establishing a cadence for auditing your organization’s cloud app toolkit and taking the time to ask questions around usage, accessibility and value, it opens up the possibility of transferring unnecessary spend to new areas of development within your organization. Or maybe you’ll uncover that a tool could add value to a larger subset of your organization. Regardless, setting up the routine will take you one step closer to shifting costs from maintaining operations to advancing in new, innovative directions.
Start with All the Facts
Knowing what tools exist within your organization might be a breeze for you if you engage a centralized management tool. Close any gaps in visibility by checking with your accounts payable department to make sure you aren’t missing any solutions in your audit. You might even want to put some feelers out to see if you’ve missed any stealth apps that might not require subscriptions, but would add value or improve upon existing solutions.
Turn Data into Talking Points
Any event logging or access monitoring should inform this audit and take the guesswork out of assigning values and establishing dependencies. Knowing the frequency and number of access events for each application serves as an objective benchmark. With this, the data you already have drives your prioritized approach to cloud investment so you can manage resources more effectively.
Always Take the Renewal Call
Whether IT or external teams own the tool, always see to it that renewal conversations -- or for monthly subscriptions, service anniversaries -- include phone calls with service providers. A check-in with your Account Manager serves as an opportunity to provide updates on your business’ unique use case and requirements. Similarly, cloud apps evolve at a rapid pace, so more than likely new integrations and value could be uncovered to address business challenges.
Remove any ambiguity from the process by putting together an easy set of guidelines that give your installation owners thoughtful questions to steer these conversations in a way that drive the most value for the organization (ex: Are there discounts for longer-term contracts? Has the pricing model changed? What new functionality and features might add value to your usage?).
Whenever your end-of-year lands, I highly suggest making the most of the transition so it can be a springboard for your next term with all of the right tools in place.