I have no formal training in IT but I read enough tech blogs to wonder why companies (especially startups) don’t use cloud infrastructure from day one.
With improved Chromebooks from Google and aggressive competition in cloud SaaS business solutions like Salesforce.com it’s become reasonable to consider offloading you IT backend to companies with much greater economies of scale.
A startup could expect to spend $10/user/month on Google apps, $45/user/month on Chromebooks and $65/user/month on Salesforce.com software. All in total that’s $120 per employee per month with no maintenance costs and a completely mobile workforce.
In a city like KC, home of Sprint, startups could also offer smartphones paired with Google voice and mobile hotspots capabilities. Buying phones off contract with an expected life of 2 years would cost about $25/month. Add the data in at $50/month and say another $25/month for voice and text (which can be utilized for free through Chromebooks) and that’s $100/user/month.
IT expenses are now racked up to $240/user/month. Every employee has a business email account, a computer, business solution software, a phone and wireless internet. I’m not sure what comparable costs would be for traditional IT infrastructure but I do see some great benefits.
First and foremost, you’re scalable. As the company grows, IT expenses will grow in a linear correlation. Other than a few upfront costs for hardware (chromebook and phone) which can be depreciated over the next few years, you can easily add or remove users right from your browser.
Second, as a small and hopefully growing company your workforce is free to complete tasks from where ever. This can mean multiple things like only having to maintain a small workplace for shared tasks or allowing work to be done at all hours of the day etc.
Third, no need for Nick Burns your companies computer guy. In-house IT is a silo and having to maintain and rely on that department can seriously constrict a project. There are few expected problems when operating through the browser and being device agnostic means if there is a hardware problem an employee can simply move to another device.
Finally, time isn’t wasted on something you’re not great at. This is especially important in the startup world as time is at a premium. Having more time to focus on the problem you want to attack as opposed to the problem of IT will mean faster execution and increased chance of survival.
Again, I do not have an IT background but my little bit of intuition tells me this is where IT is heading and better to be ahead of the curve than behind it. I would appreciate comments on the issue so that I can further learn. Thanks.