We know there are still many collection agencies running legacy collections software on premises. These systems have served those agencies well for many years and there is a lot of wisdom in the old saw, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. However we wish to make the case for “fixing it,” even if it is not broken. There are many benefits, but we will focus on six.
Security. A lot of people worry that if they put their mission-critical applications in the cloud, they will be less secure. However every major cloud provider has teams of experts ensuring that their systems are secure. How many people do you have on staff with this kind of expertise and time? Last year one of our clients had the agonizing experience of having their local network hacked for ransom. Since they use BFrame for their mission critical application, they were able to keep operating despite the hack. However they have spent months and tens of thousands of dollars restoring data from backups, replacing out-dated network equipment and cleaning up the mess. They are now moving most of their infrastructure to Amazon Workspaces: lesson learned, but painfully.
Flexibility. In a traditional environment, you provision a fixed level of resources: so many CPUs, so much memory, so much disk space, etc. If your needs change, you can’t easily or quickly flex that resource. If the work load increases for seasonal reasons like tax season, or more fundamental reasons like winning a new client, you pretty much have to make do with your existing resources. If your needs and revenue decrease, you are still stuck with your fixed costs. Cloud hosting gives you the ability to match your resources to your existing load, literally on a minute by minute basis. It becomes easy to add resources during tax season to support more agents, or even to flex your capacity up during busy days and down to almost nothing on non-work days.
Compliance. Cloud hosting providers serve a wide range of customers, including customers with compliance needs well above what the traditional agency would require. As a result cloud hosts provide just about every imaginable certification under the sun. As the compliance pressure on collection agency IT systems continues to increase, moving your core applications to the cloud significantly reduces your compliance scope. As a result, you significantly reduce your risk profile, and substantially reduce your cost to demonstrate compliance with the various standards.
Maintenance. Software is constantly being updated and best practice is to stay up to date with current releases. Depending on your approach, moving your applications to the cloud can relieve you from a lot of the software update burden. For example, the AWS RDS database server converts your database into a service for which AWS is responsible for all the patching and maintenance. It also becomes easier to upgrade existing servers for major releases. You can spin up a new server, get it provisioned and working, switch your workload and then spin down the old server—no muss, no fuss. And of course you no longer have to worry at all about hardware maintenance … just sayin’.
Disaster Recovery. Okay, this one is pretty obvious, but still worth mentioning. If your on-premise solution goes down you probably have some kind of back up solution or a DR site somewhere, but switching to that backup is never going to be easy. Your cloud provider data center is going to be less at risk of disaster to begin with, because their sites are going to be less disaster prone. And if a site goes down, they can switch your workload to an alternate site in a matter of minutes.
Cost. This one might be counter-intuitive, since your current solution is already paid for and, yes, there could be an incremental cost to cloud hosting. But here’s the thing: cloud hosting is ridiculously cheap. You could set up a cloud host infrastructure sufficient to support a hundred agents and hundreds of thousands of accounts for a few thousand dollars a month … less than half the all in cost of just one of those hundred agents.
Any agency still running legacy collections software on premises should take a serious look at moving their hosting to the cloud. Overall your IT infrastructure will be more secure, more flexible, less susceptible to outage and, on balance, significantly cheaper to maintain, even considering the sunk cost of your existing infrastructure.
If you are thinking it might be time to review your current software / hosting strategy, we would be glad to help. If it turns out you end up switching to BFrame that would be terrific, but even it you don’t, you can probably benefit from some of the lessons we have learned.