To make the most of Cloud deployments, align migration with a strategic approach

According to Forrester, public Cloud services finished 2013 with $58 billion in revenues. This indicates that with an on-demand service, and elastic environment, Cloud computing represents a paradigm shift in the provision of IT services. Analysts forecast the market to hit $191 billion by 2020. Already, the demand for Cloud services has increased exponentially due in part to its potential to convert CAPEX to OPEX. Obviously, there are competitive pressures to get on the bus. But, there are questions that need answers before it is too late:

  • How much will it cost? Is there a strong business case to justify those costs?
  • Public, private, or hybrid?
  • When will I see a substantial difference in expenses?
  • Which applications to move, enhance, consolidate, or replace?
  • Does it make sense to retain some apps on-premise?
  • What is the Cloud services vendor landscape like?

To make the most of your switch, you will need an ROI roadmap and a strong business case. Also on your requirements list should be a framework that acts as a filter, carefully evaluating what goes on the Cloud and what stays on-premise. Above all, you will need an assurance of business continuity and a consistent user-experience through the course of migration. Let’s face it, this involves business-critical data and is likely to have a profound impact on business processes, customer relationships and IT costs.

Classification of your applications calls for a comprehensive view of technical and business drivers at play. Typical Cloud migration drivers include total cost of ownership (TCO), lack of scalability, and performance. Applications designed for collaboration, such as e-mail, typically consume low resources and are excellent pilot candidates. In contrast, complex applications, such as ERP, are resource-intensive and need deeper analysis before migration. Some applications may not be compatible with a Cloud based delivery platform at all, while some others may be bound by local regulation on data privacy and security.

Next, there is the choice of vendors, which presents you with opportunities and challenges. Before making your choice, engage in discussions on criteria such as:

  • Clear and transparent service-level agreements (SLAs)
  • Data portability mechanisms
  • Long-term consumption costs
  • Bundled offerings, and discounts

It is vital that you discuss the topic of data ownership in the event of premature termination of a contract (or at the end of its lifecycle) without any shades of grey. After successful discussions, document these aspects in the Master Services Agreement.

The next step is to prepare for the migration process. Start with robust work plans and tests. Evaluate the volume and criticality of the data at the back-end. Evangelize adoption to ensure compliance. You could do all this on your own, or get Cloud experts on board to ease the transition. We recommend the Capgemini Cloud Assessment Framework, a methodology and roadmap for Cloud migration to reduce decision risks, promote rapid user adoption, and lower TCO of IT investments. It is a Cloud-agnostic, vendor-aware methodology that focuses on low-risk, high-return business transformation.