Cloud migration

Understanding what it is and how it can transform your business

Introduction to cloud migration

Understanding what cloud migration is, how it can benefit your business, and what is involved in making it happen, will help you decide on the best strategy to achieve a smooth transition to the cloud.

The global pandemic has seen more and more companies accelerate their move to the cloud, reinventing their offerings, and becoming more cost-efficient, agile, and innovative in how they operate their businesses.

As an on-demand, self-service environment, cloud is now vital to achieving end-to-end digital transformation. Now, more than ever, cloud is vital to help businesses reopen, reinvent, and outmaneuver uncertainty.

What is cloud migration?

Cloud migration is the process of moving a company’s digital assets, services, databases, IT resources, and applications either partially, or wholly, into the cloud. Cloud migration is also about moving from one cloud to another.

Companies wishing to move on from outdated and increasingly inefficient legacy infrastructures, such as aging servers or potentially unreliable firewall appliances, or to abandon hardware or software solutions that are no longer operating at optimum capacity, are now turning to the cloud to experience the benefits of cloud computing. This is why so many organizations are, at the very least, making a partial migration to the cloud.

We know that cloud migration is critical for achieving real-time and updated performance and efficiency. As such, the process requires careful analysis, planning and execution to ensure the cloud solution's compatibility with your business requirements.

When considering your strategy for migrating to the cloud, it’s important to understand that it’s not just about getting there, it’s also about what you do when you get there. For instance, what are your options for rebuilding applications so they can perform optimally in cloud? The process of cloud migration is making companies ask the question: what is application modernization?

There are many questions to be answered along the way, and businesses of all sizes require assistance in making their cloud journeys. Consequently, many services firms can make a strong case for their lift-and-shift cloud migration capabilities, or their classic modernization services, such as automated language translation and conventional re-platforming.

It’s not just about getting there, it’s also about what you do when you get there…

What are the benefits of cloud migration?

For companies that undertake the process of cloud migration, the cloud can have a massive impact.

This includes a reduction in the total cost of ownership (TCO), faster time to delivery, and enhanced opportunities for innovation. With access to the cloud comes agility and flexibility, both of which are imperative to meet changing consumer and market demands.

In recent months, companies have been migrating their services and data to the cloud as they adapt to become elastic digital workplaces to deal with an increase in online demand and remote working. For businesses that have already begun the move to cloud computing, they're accelerating a cloud transformation that will lead the way forward in the years to come. Others are left wondering, "Why did we wait?"

Benefits of migrating to the cloud include:

  • Increased agility and flexibility
  • Ability to innovate faster
  • Easing of increasing resource demands
  • Better managing of increased customer expectations
  • Reduction in costs
  • Deliver immediate business results
  • Simplify IT
  • Shift to everything as-a-service
  • Better consumption management
  • Cloud scalability
  • Improved performance

Cloud computing: The benefits

Cloud operating model

More efficient cloud operating models are powered by analytics, automation, and AI, with a saving of approximately 30%-50% in ongoing run operations.

Easy to consume

Cloud improves agility with standardized “appliance-like” service that can be provisioned in minutes in an aaS Opex model, saving approximately 50% in start-up time.

Workload placement and optimization

Workload placement is based on transparent business parameters, saving approximately 10%-30% on cloud spend.

Secure and compliant

Security and compliance are built in at the core to protect your most business-critical workloads and most sensitive data. Read more.

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How does the cloud migration process work?

Before making any moves, it’s essential that companies truly understand what’s involved.

Moving to the cloud can be a transformative shift for your entire business, so it’s wise to begin by taking an end-to-end look at the cloud journey. This will help to confirm which capabilities and activities are needed to execute effectively across the three main cloud migration steps.

These are the key cloud migration steps:

  1. Define your strategy and build your business case: the first question to be answered is, “What’s the business value to be gained by moving to the cloud?”

    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.

    Based on these objectives you can begin to develop a cloud migration strategy and the business case for the move. 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.

  2. Discovery and assessment: what to move, where to move it, when to move it

    Managing risk is a key component of any business. While businesses expect improved flexibility, cost, and control, anticipating how your applications might perform due to significant infrastructure changes also needs to be kept top of mind.

    Businesses need to understand their current state through discovery and assessment – scanning and assessing their existing infrastructure, application and data landscape to identify their current architecture and determine the most appropriate applications and data to migrate to cloud.

    Through application discovery, dependency mapping, and risk assessments based on current usage, as well as optional pre-migration predictive analysis, the Cloud Migration Assessment enables migration planners to make informed decisions, helping minimize risk while ensuring service level agreements are maintained after cloud migration.

  3. Cloud 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.

What are the types of cloud migration?

Cloud computing can be deployed in different ways depending on what services a business actually needs

When considering its cloud migration strategy, a company must consider two factors. The first thing to consider is the deployment model—public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud. The second element is the service category. Will it be Saas (Software as a Service), Paas (Platform as a Service) or Iaas (Infrastructure as a service)?

There are a number of different migration approaches your company can choose to adopt. From a basic lift & shift (this is known as re-host), involving the transfer of data and applications from a local, on-premises data center to the public cloud, to moving to a wholly new cloud based operating system (re-platform), with the advantage of a reduction in operational expense, to an upgrade of application components to conform to new standards (re-factor). However, a cloud migration could also entail moving data and applications from one cloud platform or provider to another, a model known as cloud-to-cloud migration. A third type of migration is to uncloud, also known as a reverse cloud migration or de-clouding, where data or applications are moved off of the cloud and back to a local data center.

These are the key cloud migration types:

Re-host (lift & shift)

This is where you shift an application from an on-premises host to a cloud service (infrastructure or platform service). Begin with the simplest items, with the fewest dependencies, low business impact, and no regulatory constraints, while moving to the most complex items as maturity increases.


You choose to migrate to an operating system version based on CNaaS Platform Standards when the application can support it, reducing the total count of enterprise supported platforms to reduce operational expense.


The company updates components of an application to conform to enterprise standards, functional needs, and security needs. This includes .Net, Java, other upgrades.

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What are the challenges of cloud migration?

These are the cloud migration challenges your company will need to manage during this process:

Legacy applications (and what to do with them)

Not every app can move easily. Which do you keep, and which do you wreck and rebuild?

Application modernization

What are your options for rebuilding applications, so they perform optimally in cloud?

Cloud management

Once you have moved your applications, what’s the best way—and who are the best people— to manage them?

Complexity of migrating

Understand the complexity you’ll face when migrating and appropriately estimate the effort to get it done.

Key dependencies

Resolve key infrastructure and application dependencies, by prioritizing applications and identifying necessary remediations helping you reduce risk, time and cost.

Business support

Buy-in from stakeholders across the business is essential for migrating at scale.

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Barriers to benefits


of companies identified security and compliance risk


identified complexity of business and organizational change


identified legacy infrastructure and/or application sprawl


identified lack of cloud skills within the organization

Accenture cloud migration services

How we can help make it a smooth move

Accenture’s Cloud Migration Services provide an evolutionary set of services, from strategy to execution, to help our clients transform existing applications, enabling realization of “future-ready” business outcomes. Our holistic approach is underpinned by the recognition that effective modernization uptake requires a flexible blend of right-sized options with varying risk and return profiles.

Our enterprise application migration services provide detailed, long-ranging, robust methodologies for migrating large application portfolios to cloud platforms—and is scalable for single to multiple apps. Our tested, reliable tools can help you with application inventory, assessment, code analysis, migration planning and execution.

Leveraging data from discovery and analysis, we assess your business needs, identify opportunities and recommend the optimal cloud migration strategy.

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