Just a quick warning about monthly and yearly subscription fees this morning. Right now we pay period subscription fees to Dropbox, Google Apps, Evernote, German Servers, US Servers, Domain Name companies, Confluence (Project Management Apps), Wufoo etc. When you start by using some Apps there is no issue with $10 here $5 there, then it slowly creeps up. If you don’t manage this well and keep track of things you may find that your expenses may begin to outweigh your benefits.
I call this effect the Death by 1000 Cuts. Wikipedia describes Death by 1000 Cuts as:
Death By A Thousand Cuts can refer to:
- Creeping normalcy, the way a major negative change, which happens slowly in many unnoticed increments, is not perceived as objectionable
- Slow slicing, a form of torture and execution originating from Imperial China
- Death by a Thousand Cuts (album), an album by Leng Tch’e
- Death by a Thousand Cuts (book), a non-fiction book about a form of torture and capital punishment in Imperial China.
The lesson we learn from this is, every time you subscribe to a service, ask yourself a couple of questions and then record it! Some questions you could ask yourself are:
- Do you really need this app?
- What will you use it for… is it worth it?
- Will you actually use it?
- Is there an app that could do this for free or less cost?
Ok, once you are sure you need yet another application and service, you need to know how much money your are spending and on what. If you have an accounting software program you could isolate these charges, ie. have one account or job code for your Cloud Services. If that is all too difficult you could simply start a spread sheet, make sure you have the Name, Details (what it does for you), Frequency and Amount of charge.
Now, if you are not worried about the expenses you are simply moving into the Cloud for continuity and mobility reasons they you may not have to think about this. However, if one of your main reasons for moving to the Cloud was cost savings then you will NEED to watch this.
This is why I suggest to migrate in stages, you need to break your business and workflow into systems and processes and then identify your apps and then move. If you realise your main issues are keeping track of events, to do lists and projects then address these issues with the apps that help you solve the problem. If you need yourself and a few staff to have access to communications and data anytime anywhere then you need to address those issues.
If you think about a service business there are a few obvious systems:
- Communications – email and chat between staff
- Data – storage and access
- Accounting – software and access
- Documents – collaboration and centralisation
- Customer Relations – consistency and access
So before you start picking apps, I suggest that you look at your workflow, be objective and ask yourself what needs to be improved? How can you increase your efficiency? For myself I have learnt that my calendar and Evernote are my best friends, I need reminders and notes and calendar events. To be really honest the bins will not go out on time if I don’t have a reminder in my phone or calendar, I keep my phone with Evernote open at night because I will not remember that awesome idea I had at 2am if I don’t write it down then.
Ok, back to the point! Look at your workflow, think about what can be improved, look at the apps out there, pick a couple, and then move. In most projects have stages and logical progression, this situation is no different. So excuse the fact that I sound like a drill sergeant and a broken record but think before you click the “Agree & Download” button.