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The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest business disruptors in recent history. Many companies had to quickly pivot their operations and shift to a remote model, which for some may be a permanent change.
With the sudden jump into the deep end of digitization, companies faced a wake-up call — how do we make this shift? Worse yet, would it be possible?
The cloud migration in the first half of 2020 was swift and a huge learning curve for many. In fact, as identified in Aptum's global survey, while nearly all IT professionals (99%) believe that cloud services are essential to their organization's success, performance concerns remain an obstacle to realizing these benefits.
In the early days of COVID-19, cloud computing was quickly deemed essential for three main reasons: scale, elasticity and digitization. As businesses began to stabilize after the initial pandemic shock, a few things became overtly apparent — a company's velocity, its ability to do business and the deployment of new IT structures were slowed down if not utilizing the cloud. Those who could not adapt during this time faced many disruptions, including supply chain interferences or on-premise staffing and resource shortages.
The ability to scale an organization's environment up and down — on demand — became vital. We saw a vast difference in elasticity needs across industries based on the level of impact caused by the pandemic, but the flexibility the cloud afforded was an apparent success factor for all. The overdue need for digitization became essential as organizations experienced trial by fire when quickly entering into a digital transformation. This all helped to expose the best approach for a successful cloud migration — identifying a strategy.
Realization of cloud migration success was elusive for many companies, despite their goals to achieve it. For example, the survey found that 72% of respondents named increasing efficiencies as one of the main drivers behind cloud adoption. Still, only 33% reported complete success at increasing efficiency in the cloud. This gulf in initial expectations and actual success has a root cause — a flawed strategy born from insufficient discovery and unrealistic expectations.
Adopting a strategic approach through assessment, planning and prioritizing allows businesses to have a clear viewpoint of the goal. This will enable companies to visibly map a migration strategy, and later, a successful transformation.
The study suggests that as cloud environments become hybridized, organizations need more assistance due to complications. Often this is a result of companies trying to move too fast into the environment without the right understanding. Cloud is not a one size fits all — it requires an approach that considers core business cases and assesses what is trying to be achieved.
The survey states that 71% of businesses have experienced negative effects due to the rate of cloud transformation; IT expenditures as the leading cause at 33%. Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can alleviate the time and expertise spent toward establishing a mature cloud operations model, leaving organizations to focus on the cloud application's business value.
Identifying the Economics
Part of adopting a strategic approach is understanding the economics and performance outcomes a business hopes to achieve. Questions like, "how much will it cost to host data in a given cloud platform?" or "how much will it cost to move and secure the data?" are crucial to developing a full understanding of the end goal.
Another key component is the ROI defined for apps migrated to the cloud. Would it be worth migrating a legacy app to the cloud or adopting a hybrid approach until its shelf life has expired? This ROI is differently defined for apps hoping to be implemented and is beneficial to identify ahead of time.
Accelerating Cloud Transformation
As previously stated, organizations must define business objectives and identify realistic outcomes. The survey highlights distinct conclusions — companies had a higher expectation than what was executed. Those who initially rushed into the cloud journey experienced a blunt realization of what they could or could not achieve, given their current infrastructure.
Another key learning from the survey is that organizations should identify what skills they have in-house and determine where they need to seek support from an MSP for a successful transition. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know, and that's when the experts should be called in to recognize and deploy a comprehensive assessment, ultimately guiding a company toward a faster, more thorough and successful cloud journey.
Identifying a proper baseline during this assessment is vital as well. Understanding the performance metrics prior to the migration allows for a fair comparison of the performance realized.
One of the most prominent business teachings from COVID-19 is that organizations cannot fully predict what is to come. So, from the start, companies must distinguish what agility means to them and how important it is to integrate it into their data infrastructure and business model. A huge factor that comes into play when thinking through these decisions is knowing the difference between goals and expectations.
Creating a strategic approach, especially when it comes to cloud migration, is essential to realizing what a company is capable of and exposing pain points that may require an outside resource to achieve success.