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5 cloud migration tips for enterprises

 

The multi-fold acceleration in digital technology growth has necessitated enterprises to start their cloud adoption journey to address the needs of flexibility, agility and availability and its extended benefits of huge scalability & significant cost optimization. It has been predicted by leading analysts that 83% of enterprise workload will move to cloud by 2020 and of that 41% of enterprise workload will run on public cloud platforms. However, moving the workloads to cloud is not a swift journey. It is encircled with concerns on performance, resilience, security, cost, threat of data loss, governance among other issues. Thus, enterprises must pay attention to several key points before they embark on their cloud journey.

  1. Definition of the cloud vision: To reap the best benefits of the transformation journey, it is paramount to have a clear and defined vision. The vision definition should start with evaluating the readiness for cloud adoption, transformation goals, technology adoption to target state including risks and operational model.

     

    In addition to this, enterprise strategists should clearly communicate and educate stakeholders on the cloud vision, its relevance and why it is important for the business' success. Cloud transformation is not only a technology adoption but also an organizational change that needs to be embraced by every team. To make the journey successful, every technology, application and process owner should be educated and made comfortable to move to the chosen cloud platform. A vision update, continuous education & inclusive engagement with the employees will keep them involved, motivated and focused during the actual execution of the transformation process.

     

  2. Identify drivers at organizational level and technology level:  Drivers play an important role in defining the business case of the transformation journey. The business case is just not around the cost, it should also focus on the business value that would be delivered by cloud as the enabler. Clearly defined organization and technology level drivers with suitable measurement criteria in terms of KPIs keep the journey on track and logical. Furthermore, it helps resolve conflicts and set priorities when enterprises move forward in their cloud journey. Customer experience, business growth, business agility, cost savings and IT scalability top the list of drivers for most of the enterprises, but these could vary based on the larger vision of the organization, their current market conditions and their current state of IT.

     

  3. Choice of platform provider and integration partner: A transformation can be successfully executed by choosing the right cloud platform provider and leveraging the services of a suitable integration services provider. When it comes to choosing the right cloud platform, executing the migration, execution experience and skilled professionals are essential, as cloud transformation needs changes across people, process and technology to reap the expected benefits of cloud.

     

    Enterprises find choosing a cloud provider to be a major challenge as they need to balance between leveraging the platform capabilities of a cloud service provider and vendor lock-in. Though enterprises would prefer switching services from one cloud provider to another, this is not very practical. Emerging technologies like containers have increased portability across cloud service providers while API has increased interoperability of systems thereby reducing the barrier in cloud adoption.

     

    System Integration partners have process, tools, skilled resources and experience in executing projects that can help enterprises in decision making for cloud service providers, cloud orchestration, cloud portability, cloud migration and operations.

     

  4. Scrutinize governance and security: The change due to transformation calls for a re-look at the governance strategies and compliance to security policies. In a traditional data center, an enterprise has significant control over the infrastructure, network and implementation of processes and controls, and thereby how data is handled. But on cloud, the direct control by enterprises reduces and with major control and responsibility lies with the cloud service provider. Thus, organizations should align their governance strategies and consider strengthening the legal framework and their agreements with the service providers. Also, it is essential to involve the legal and risk teams in advance during the strategy stage, as they can guide the IT teams in terms of regulatory compliances.

     

  5. The migration strategy:

    Not every application can reap the same level of benefits by moving to cloud. Hence it is important to determine the right cloud adoption approach by considering the business (growth, agility and customer experience) and IT (resilience and cost) needs of the business functions realized in the applications. There are 3 major transformation types for the applications when they move to cloud:

  1. Applications implement unique business functions critical to business and the current implementation is mature - Move the applications to cloud with no or minimal changes.

  2. Applications do not sufficiently address the emerging needs in areas like user experience, performance and frequent feature releases - Applications are reengineered as cloud native applications.

  3. Applications are implementing generic business functions - Migrate to SaaS solutions to simplify the IT implementation and leverage the market advances in this area.

For example, when a traditional bank embarks on a journey to improve customer experience across all engagement channels, they should not only bring in new technologies and processes, but also enable the IT organization with new skills to build a new channel experience as they hold vast domain experience. Changing the way in which the bank engages with customers is important to stay relevant and competitive in the mobile first ecosystem which is enabled by emerging technologies like Cloud, Mobile and AI.

Emerging technologies are changing the way in which businesses are created and run, these technologies are opening up new business avenues, and cloud is a key enabler for realizing the whole potential. Doing successful business with them starts with well-articulated vision drivers which is understood by all, in addition to choosing right technology partners and building solutions which meets the compliance needs of the industry.



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