How enterprises can find the right cloud transformation approach
- Posted on May 1, 2019
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
This article was originally written by Avanade alum Tim Callaghan.
If you’re tasked with overseeing the management of IT infrastructure in a large organisation, then this won’t be news to you: cloud transformation is difficult.
It might be relatively straightforward for a smaller firm to make the leap quickly. But, for an enterprise, cloud transformation can be a big, arduous and demanding undertaking.
And it’s a job that’s made harder by the tough calls you must make. Do you go all in and attempt a big bang transformation? Or do you opt for a ‘slow and steady’ iterative approach?
Cloud transformation considerations
The option you select for your cloud transformation will depend on your organisation. Every enterprise has its own unique business priorities, urgent challenges and longer-term goals.
That’s why it’s important to work through the three considerations outlined below to arrive at the right cloud transformation approach.
1) Your business case
Attempted using the wrong approach, or for the wrong reasons, moving to the cloud can become an expensive mistake to make. So, you need a sound business case and a robust rationale for moving all or part of your infrastructure to the cloud.
Your business case might be specific – such as increasing business agility, operational efficiency or reducing costs by an exact figure. Or it might be broader and multi-faceted. You could be seeking a number of ways to improve employee experiences or outpace competitors.
Whatever your business case is, being able to clearly articulate it (and explain how a potential move to the cloud can support it) is vital. It’ll help inform how you move to the cloud and at what pace the process is conducted.
2) Addressing impending events
A solid business case might be the most important reason to move to the cloud, but it won’t always be the most urgent. There’ll be both foreseen and unforeseen events that crop up at short notice and require you to accelerate your cloud transformation.
And while (ideally) you’d have visibility of these more urgent drivers well in advance, there might be circumstances where a more gradual migration isn’t possible. This could be due to changes to an incumbent hosting provider, or the result of inheriting legacy infrastructure from mergers and acquisitions.
Even those events you seemingly have sufficient visibility over can pose a challenge. Windows 2008 and SQL 2008 end of life is a conundrum that many large organisations are tackling now, while the termination of hosting agreements is a perpetual battle – with the need to get out of a data centre urgently.
3) Cloud transformation as an ongoing initiative
Your journey to the cloud might not be influenced by any one event or driver. Rather, it could be part of a longer-term ongoing process. You might be looking to lower IT expenses, unlock greater innovation or keep improving the employee experience – all of which require constant investment and focus.
If you’re not faced with the pressure of an urgent event, adopting a more measured approach to cloud transformation can reap huge rewards. With the flexibility to move at the pace that’s right for your business, you can realise benefits gradually.
But this incremental and agile approach needn’t mean the pace of cloud transformation has to slow.
Financial services firm Towergate was able to move to the public cloud within 12 months while optimising applications and infrastructure gradually. Meanwhile, a major utilities company sought to move to the cloud when building a new power station. Any delay would result in huge costs, so it opted for a cloud-based minimum viable product as the foundation and evolved from there.
The right option? The one that works for you
Historically, moving enterprise infrastructure was a pretty rigid process. It required everything (or most things, at least) to be done at once, and it was usually executed at a glacial pace.
But today, moving to the cloud can be completed faster and with a more flexible mindset.
You can focus on shipping MVPs. That means benefits can be realised after each iteration of an agile phase in an overall project. And lessons can be continually learned, rather than being gleaned only after the transformation has been completed.
What’s more, you can pick smaller targets and identify priorities or low-hanging fruit. You might have an immediate need to address security vulnerabilities or solve pressing compliance concerns. With an agile mindset, you gain the flexibility to decide how – and at what pace – you move to the cloud.
At Avanade, we’ve helped enterprises across the globe to move to the cloud and maximise both short- and long-term benefits while doing so.
Whether you’re looking to achieve a big bang, a slow burn, or a little of both, head over to our cloud transformation page. There, you can find out more about the projects we’ve recently delivered for leading financial services, utilities and manufacturing organisations.