Traditionally, IT expenses have been considered a Capital Expenditure (CapEx). Today, with the move to the cloud and the pay-as-you-go model, organizations have the ability to stretch their budgets and are shifting their IT CapEx costs to Operating Expenditures (OpEx) instead. This flexibility, in accounting terms, is now an option due to the “as a Service” model of purchasing software, cloud storage and other IT related resources.
Cloud computing made simple
When it comes to cloud computing, organizations now treat is as a utility like water: products or services supplied by a vendor that is paid for as you consume it. And while you and I may not know how to build or manage water treatment plants or distribution systems, we assume our vendor is providing us water that is safe and available when we need it. If we have guests staying with us and we need more water, we continue using water as often as we need it. We will simply pay for this increase in our next bill. The same can be said about cloud computing.
On the other hand, the traditional on premise model is usually limiting in terms of scalability – or you end up paying for extra capacity and resources you will only need for one month of the year. This model has high up-front costs to keep your business systems running, and organizations frequently must pay large annual sums for new hardware, software, licensing – along with the staff to protect and maintain it all.
But how does this affect the balance sheet? Here’s a brief overview.
The following are ways to utilize IT services under a monthly OpEx financing model:
IaaS provides organizations computing resources including servers, networking, storage and data centers on a pay per use basis
What are the benefits of IaaS?
- No need to invest in your own hardware
- Infrastructure scales on demand to support dynamic workloads
- Flexible, innovative services available on demand
Cloud-based applications — or SaaS that run on distant computers “in the cloud” that are owned and operated by others and that connect to users’ computers through the internet
What are the benefits of SaaS?
- You can sign up and rapidly start using innovative business apps
- Apps and data are accessible from any connected computer
- No data is lost if your computer breaks, as data is in the cloud
- The service is able to dynamically scale to usage needs
PaaS provides a platform in a cloud environment with everything required to support the complete lifecycle of building and delivering web-based (cloud) applications — without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware, software, provisioning, and hosting.
What are the benefits of PaaS?
- Develop applications and get to market faster
- Deploy new web applications to the cloud in minutes
- Reduce complexity with middleware as a service
The outcome of the IT-as-a-Service model in the cloud is the same capacity and control like with an in-house IT team while eliminating the substantial upfront CAPEX investments and replacing it with the OPEX model with a predictable monthly or annual fee.
The perception that being responsible for operating millions of dollars in owned assets with the people and processes versus having an external partner managing these assets, is one of the reasons the CAPEX vs OPEX debate goes on. This debate should be more than just CAPEX vs OPEX, it should include other factors like agility, the Total Cost of Ownership in the cloud, the Return on Investment and identifying the savings.
The reality is that organizations want to pay for what they use and when they use it. Reduced ongoing costs allow businesses to better forecast and plan their budgets and cash flows without wasting excess capacity or CAPEX surprises hidden whenever any IT equipment fails.
Read more about Microsoft Azure where you’ll find the different ways to deploy cloud resources.