How the Cloud Delivers ROI

Jan. 21, 2014
For the practice looking for new management software, there are two choices. You can purchase client-server software or you can subscribe to a cloud-based application.

By Andy Jensen

For the practice looking for new management software, there are two choices. You can purchase client-server software or you can subscribe to a cloud-based application.

Client-server software has been around for a long time, and is a proven platform. Proponents are quick to emphasize the proven part while opponents are quick to point out the obvious – it's tired and old. The cloud is the current platform for 2014, proponents say. And they are right.


Major software developers are not sinking development dollars in a tired platform. Thus, a dollar spent on traditional client-server software is a dollar spent on technology no longer the focal point of most software developers.

The economic advantages of cloud-based software are best emphasized in six categories:

Initial Investment

When you move a practice to the cloud, you pay a certain amount each month for service delivered via the cloud. In contrast, traditional client-server software requires a large user license fee, as much as $7,000. Take that number and divide it by 12 to calculate a monthly cost. For new practices, the cloud is a welcome reprieve, adding little to an already burgeoning loan amount.

Support and Upgrade Fees

On the cloud side, the monthly subscription fee includes technical support and upgrades. For traditional client-server software, the practice pays a monthly fee for support and upgrades. A practice that pays no monthly fee threatens its initial investment in the software by not keeping it properly maintained.

Hardware Costs

Cloud-based software requires little CPU muscle. Additionally, a server is not required. The technology footprint required to operate is much smaller than that of traditional software. Determine what you pay on hardware annually and then divide by 12 to calculate a monthly hardware cost.

Backup Costs

Every practice is aware that, with traditional software, a reliable backup is essential. A comprehensive backup process requires financial resources to start and maintain. With a cloud-based application, a data backup is an inherent benefit. Because the data does not reside locally, the practice is not required to institute a backup process. Determine what your practice pays monthly for data backup.

Lost Productivity

Any time spent on maintaining technology is time not generating production. Traditional client-server software requires more of your time to keep it operating. Estimate the number of hours you spend on IT issues every month, and then multiply that number by your hourly rate.

IT Costs

If you do not need a server in your office, this should directly impact your IT costs. If you no longer have to manage backups, this should also directly impact IT costs. If you do your IT work, the time spent on these tasks still has a cost. Take the amount you spend annually on IT costs and divide by 12.

Now, add up what you are currently spending monthly for software. Compare that amount to what you would spend monthly for a cloud-based solution.

If you would save money by moving to the cloud, then there's little reason to delay a modernization of your practice today. If the costs are roughly the same, then you need to factor in the other benefits and advantages of the Web, accessibility, currency, and simplicity, at the top of the list.

If sticking to your current technology platform is less expensive than moving to the cloud, your situation is only temporary. Sooner rather than later, you will need to move your practice's technology forward. Maintaining your technology is usually more cost-effective than trying to upgrade long after it has become obsolete.

For assistance in analyzing the ROI of moving to the cloud, Curve Dental has prepared a special white paper titled "Dental Software Costs and ROI." Call (888) 910-4376 to receive a free copy.

Go to to watch a video interview by Dr. Joe Blaes with Ian Zipursky, President & COO of Curve Dental.

Andy Jensen is the chief marketing officer for Curve Dental, Inc., a developer of cloud-based dental software based in Orem, Utah. He has 20 years of experience in the dental software market. You can reach Jensen at [email protected].

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