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Most decision-makers understand cloud's value: greater agility and flexibility for scaling with business needs, lower capital expenditures, and so forth. Yet some companies remain slow to act due to a variety of reasons: maybe they don't know where to start, they're intimidated by the perceived complexity of defining and deploying a sensible cloud strategy, or they don't fully appreciate how cloud capabilities relate to their business.

It could be that they have concerns about cloud security, or harbor misconceptions about the cloud. Some organizations simply lack the in-house IT talent to establish and manage a cloud presence.

Whatever the rationale for hesitating, the fact remains: from the rest of the world's perspective, you're slipping behind. Consider a few of the things you'll be missing out on by delaying your cloud journey.

Leading-edge technology reaches the cloud first

Most organizations are on a three- to five-year technology refresh cycle, which means they need to forecast their IT needs as far out as half a decade — an eternity in the modern business world. As a result, they tend to over-provision their in-house data center, not wanting to be caught with insufficient resources years before the next cycle. This strategy can result in a significant capital expenditure, with no guarantee that it's the right investment for the future.

In contrast, cloud service providers (CSPs) generally have earlier access to the latest processor advancements and software optimizations — sometimes as much as a year ahead of individual customers thanks to close relationships between Intel and members of the CSP ecosystem. And best of all, the selection, procurement, deployment and maintenance process has already been done for you, with hyper-converged systems powered by the latest 2nd-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors and many other technology innovations.

Finally, the cloud doesn't require a long-term commitment. Unlike buying hardware on a five-year cycle, a cloud presence lets you pivot quickly and respond to dynamic market conditions in an OpEx environment. Cloud is dynamic, enabling you to rapidly change according to shifting needs, always taking advantage of the latest technologies.

Cloud eliminates compliance worries

How? Let's consider the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — the legal framework that governs how personal data is collected and processed in the European Union (EU). It establishes rules for how companies, governments and other entities can process the personal data of EU citizens or residents. If you do business in the European Economic Area, or plan to, you'll need to demonstrate GDPR compliance.

Or consider "country of origin" statutes, which state that wherever data originates, it has to live within the confines of that country. Say you have plans to do business in Germany. You can either establish your own data center on German soil to meet country-of-origin requirements — at a great cost, significant time delay and bureaucratic red tape — or you can use a public cloud, which has already established a fully functioning, compliant presence that's continually updated, freeing you from regulatory worries.

Remember, falling short of these and myriad other compliance requirements risks customers becoming unable to do business with you. Entrusting compliance to the cloud frees you to focus on running and growing your business.

Keep delivering rich user experiences

Your customers expect a rewarding, personalized experience that delivers instant gratification — one that keeps getting better and better. That requires interaction at the edge, real-time analytics and other capabilities readily available in the cloud.

And it's more than just your customers who have these expectations. Your employees also expect to have the same powerful tools and high-speed digital resources they enjoy at home or on the go to keep them at peak productivity. In fact, today's top talent will relocate to an employer who demonstrates a commitment to business transformation technologies.

For customers and employees alike, these capabilities and more can be unlocked via the cloud, whereas a traditional data warehousing model might take days or weeks to deliver on user needs. And don't expect people to wait. They'll find what they need elsewhere.

Digital disruptors are coming

Whether your industry is telecom, manufacturing, healthcare, retail or hospitality, the agility, flexibility and compute capabilities of the cloud can help you adopt and harness the not-yet-imagined technologies that are certain to come.

Do you doubt it will happen? Ask the video store owners who wonder where all their customers went. Or the budget electronics retailers who just shuttered their last mall location. If the cloud is helping your competitors look edgier, work smarter, sell cheaper, innovate faster and bite harder into your customer base — well, isn't it time to be keeping up with the Joneses?

Embrace cloud now (or risk falling behind)

When everyone else is on the move, there's no such thing as "standing still." From recurring capital expenditures and compliance challenges to aging resources and competitive handicaps, the risks of not having a cloud presence are real and growing.

If you're considering the cloud but have not yet taken the first steps, WWT can help start your planning stage with workshops, webinars and other resources, as well as expert face-to-face consultations. The time to begin your cloud journey is now.

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