Cloud services: Build or buy?

Expansion into new markets. Business intelligence. Online and e-commerce development. Mergers and acquisitions activity. ERP and application integration. Compliance requirements. Network consolidation. Telephony and unified communications projects. Supply chain management.

When it comes to making technology decisions to support business growth, every organisation goes through endless strategic planning sessions. Once the decision had been made that there is a technology that fits the bill, removes a business pain or solves a business problem there will be an inevitable conversation.

The build-versus-buy conversation remains the standard set piece – ultimately it comes down to a simple trade off – does it want to improve capital efficiencies or revenue contribution and gross operating profit.

Many core and non-core business tasks or functions can be migrated to a buy-in model or to a “shared” service that reduces operating costs. There are many outsourcers and managed service providers that deliver outsourcing and out-tasking of IT and business services to further improve the efficiency, quality and consistency of service delivery. These are well-established practices, but how does the “Cloud” change this strategy?

Integrated cloud services can help overcome the challenges presented by custom-built solutions. Packaged environments that include hosting, networking, applications, security and unified communications can leverage existing expertise and technology and offer more tangible benefits such as:

  • Low total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Faster time to market
  • Flexible, scalable implementations
  • Higher level of integration with third-party technology
  • Integrated, cross-functional processes
  • Optimised internal resources
  • High reliability through proven performance

To ensure that you are making the right decisions when it comes to the buy vs. build conversation your business should look to consider the below elements:

  • Availability of in-house resources, including technical resource
  • Complexity and purpose of the project
  • Specific business challenges it is going to address
  • How quickly does it need to be deployed?

Today’s business environment means that your IT landscape needs to be agile, flexible and adaptable, reacting to rapidly changing markets and business requirements. Rapidly deployed, cost-effective cloud services can deliver fully integrated environments that enable you to leverage existing applications and technologies, but importantly, removing the burden of managing the technology from your internal resource.

In-house deployments deliver long deployment timescales; can get mired in old methodologies and lack scalability proving an expensive, capital and resource intensive option. Cloud solutions offer the flexibility of integration options and the scalability that meet your business requirements—now and into the future.

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Stephen Eveleigh is Product Marketing Manager at Star. Stephen has over five years of product marketing experience working on MPLS, security, e-mail, collaboration and unified communications propositions. He is currently responsible for taking Star’s WorkLife proposition to market, working alongside product management and sales to help contextualise the business benefits of hosted unified communications.