As controllers, many of you face the daily challenges of making the right decisions for your company.  Hire him or hire her?  Use the small vendor or the big one? Support migrating to the cloud or oppose it?

Hire the wrong person and they don’t work out?  Sadly,  you have to terminate them and move on.  Choose the wrong vendor?  It might be a little painful, but search for a new one.  But make the wrong decision for your company about it’s ‘information future’ and the consequences could be far reaching, long lasting and permanently damaging.  What are the risks if you decide to move it all to the cloud….. or you decide not to.

Hand in hand with that decision is whether or not you should just outsource almost your entire I.T. operation.

Let’s take a look back to 2000, the year we survived Y2K.  In those good old days, you could hire one guy to look after your AS400 and even manage your terminals or desktop p.c.’s.  He could pretty much fix anything and here is where you could find a lot of ex-military people working.  You didn’t need a desktop p.c. support person, a network engineer and someone who could go out and run cable, setup and load out all the needed software.  But now you do.  Many small to midsize companies may have one very able tech support person (and why aren’t there any women doing this?).  But we need to examine the upside and downside of that as well.

PRO’s and CON’s of a single support person:

P R O ‘s:

  • Generally less cost than outsourcing to an outside technology company until you have to hire the second I.T. person.
  • Very knowledgeable about your company and its equipment & operations
  • Educated about your software
  • Can potentially be much quicker in responding to problems, especially at the Corporate office
  • They generally are not specialists in a world of technology that is so vast specialization is almost essential.  (would you let your local family physician remove a brain tumor?)

C O N’s

  • Someone must manage their work
  • Rapid changes in technology require continued investment in educating him/her.
  • Less ability to negotiate fair compensation with just one person on board
  • Inability for them to work on more than one problem at a time.
  • Potential for sudden loss of employee and therefore all the information about your systems. (we call this ‘all your eggs in one basket’)

Before you make the migration decision, here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Can I find a Technology company that will help me make the right decisions and provide me with a comfort level needed to cut the cord with my servers and go totally to the Cloud?
  • Am I facing the decision to buy new servers and upgrade my infrastructure versus just taking it all online?
  • Can I be sure the company we choose will be around for the long run and protect our data (this is where your Technology company consultants come in)
  • Will this eliminate all my concerns about back ups and restores? Fire walls, anti-virus software, and maintenance of my equipment?
  • Is there a solutions that can involve some cloud and some data local?
  • How comfortable can I be knowing my financials are in the cloud?

In case you are thinking of doing this yourself, let me remind you what my attorney father always used to say, ‘the man who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer’.

Migrating to the cloud has many benefits including automatic upgrades, lower investments in hardware and some software.  There is the potential for shielding you from malware and cyberattacks such as we have seen at Target.  Remember, what took Target down was that a vendor sending them electronic information was infected and passed on that infection through their electronic invoices.  All I can say is you do not want to do business with a big company like Target unless your system is as tight as it can be.  You may have danced the day you inked that deal, but you may be dancing on your own grave.

So, use a good, trustworthy Technology company to walk by your side as you ascend to the cloud.  You will not regret the investment.


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