Should you move to the cloud? By now, that question has long been answered with a resounding “yes.” Countless companies have begun transferring increasingly significant pieces of their business to the cloud to make themselves much more competitive ... Companies like a major French bank, which built a cloud-based platform for risk analysis that was able to handle more than 300 loan applications worth more than €250 million at its launch. Or a leading independent energy firm that’s creating a new cloud-enabled operating model to realize its strategic As-a-Service vision. Or an influential mining company that was able to save $1 million per month on its lease agreement, and contain ongoing costs by transferring 90 workloads and 130 terabytes of data to the cloud in just three weeks.
No, the questions companies are now asking is when they should move—and how to get there. In fact, research shows that by 2020, just under half of all business applications will be migrated to a public cloud.
But while the benefits of the cloud—agility, speed to innovation and lower IT costs among them—are inarguable, moving to the cloud can be a complex and disruptive process. That’s why, before making any moves, a company needs to truly understand what’s involved in moving to the cloud.
And that means taking an end-to-end look at the cloud journey to confirm which capabilities and activities are needed to execute effectively across the three key phases of cloud migration:
Strategy, assessment, and road map: A move to the cloud is far from just a technology exercise. It needs to be rooted in business outcomes—specific objectives the company wants to achieve.
The first step is for the company to assess its business goals and develop a cloud strategy that will help it get there. A key element of this strategy is determining which applications will be moved to the cloud, and to which type of cloud environment, as well as what the infrastructure ultimately should look like.
For instance, some apps are perfect candidates for the cloud—such as those that have a variable load, are public facing with a global reach or are planned for a near-term modernization. Others are not: those that are simply too hard or risky to migrate or ones that just won’t provide the return on investment. Determining this at the outset is vital to a successful migration.
Cloud transformation and migration: Here’s where the heavy lifting occurs—actually moving things to the cloud.
This typically involves modernizing existing applications for the cloud, developing new cloud-native applications, and transforming the architecture and infrastructure. The goal: eventually creating an entirely new technology operating model and culture that enables the company to innovate more quickly, effectively and efficiently.
Automated management and migration tools are critical to executing a smooth migration. They help not only to speed the move, but also deliver high quality, consistency and repeatability. When teamed with specialized skills and solution accelerators, they become part of a cloud migration factory that can accelerate the journey even more. Also critical in this phase is a robust cloud journey management plan to keep the effort on track.
Cloud management and optimization: Simply moving to the cloud isn’t the end game. A company needs to also continually work to optimize what’s in the cloud to maximize its cloud investments.
Here’s where a cloud management platform (CMP) can be invaluable. A CMP can help a company use the cloud to foster innovation within its business while ensuring precise cost controls, governance, security and accountability in cloud consumption. It provides myriad functions and services involved in accessing and optimizing the use of cloud services, and with it a company can seamlessly manage both its cloud environment and its remaining on-premise legacy assets.
A wide range of managed services—which can be delivered in conjunction with a CMP—also are available to a company to help with cloud optimization.
Cloud migration is not easy, and it can come with its share of surprises for companies that are unprepared.
Of course, there’s much more behind each of these three phases and what’s necessary to excel in each, but the point is this: Migrating to the cloud is not easy, and it can come with its share of surprises for companies that are unprepared. That’s why it’s critical to think holistically about what it takes to make the move. By looking across the three phases of their journey to cloud—and identifying the capabilities they need and the activities they must execute—they can help smooth what otherwise can be a rocky process. And the sooner companies can adopt cloud technology, the better positioned they will be to compete in an increasingly brisk, aggressive marketplace.