There are a lot of mistruths out there about the cost of moving to the cloud and abandoning an on-premise server.  There are also a lot of smart ways to determine the financial ramifications of moving to the cloud, including an assessment of total cost of ownership (another blog post in the making). But on the outset, many firms get hung up by not comparing the right numbers. 

Here’s the truth on cost — if you are a fairly average firm in terms of overhead and operations, it is very likely that moving to the cloud will save you a significant amount of money.  You just need to be sure that you’re comparing apples to apples.  

Maintaining a server-based environment involves a few regular costs that don’t exist with the cloud:

  1. IT support
  2. Server maintenance
  3. Server replacement
  4. Software updates

Calculate those costs to your firm on an annual basis. Now calculate the annual cost of cloud software subscription fees. Look at the difference over a 5 year horizon (factoring in server replacements) and see what you have.  If the cloud-based solution costs much less, you are likely comparing apples to apples.

If the cloud-based solution costs the same or somehow costs more, consider what you are comparing.  Are you comparing your current server costs to cloud-based document storage and practice management? That’s the same as comparing apples to pumpkins (seasonal!). But don’t despair, this is a frequent mistake.  Many firms that are making the move to the cloud are also making their first move to a practice management system.  This is a major upgrade in how you’re running your firm, not just a change in where you store your documents. 

Consider this:  All of that money you calculated that you spend on your server is money spent on document storage. Nothing more, nothing less.  You may use the system to organize your cases, storing them in an endless sea of folders, but you do not have a practice management solution.  With a cloud-based practice management platform, you are adding a significant service to your operation that you didn’t have before.  Even if the cost somehow ends up looking the same, there are significant efficiency gains that will save you money.  So go buy yourself that gross pumpkin spice delight of your choosing, you’re on your way to a better firm.