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Cloud transformation: The keys to success

Thomas de Vita
9 July 2021

Cloud projects are not just about technology – they are complex organizational, operational, and economic challenges.

As the pandemic took hold and organizations were thrust into a digital-first environment, CIOs around the globe were compelled to make rapid changes, supercharging their digital transformation plans.

Now, CIOs have a new challenge on their hands; they must maintain tech-celeration and continue the transformation of their information systems, to become both more efficient and more agile.

Cloud migration offers unprecedented potential in terms of innovation, agility, speed, flexibility, and cost optimization, but it can be disruptive and complex.

More than technology

One of the most common mistakes made when migrating to the cloud is the failure to recognize that cloud projects are not just about technology – they are complex organizational, operational, and economic challenges.

A successful transformation requires more than simply installing a new system. It’s about making a cultural shift within the organization that transfers mindsets away from pure technology to encourage a greater focus on business outcomes.

To do this, organizations should be guided by three principles:

  • Let business objectives dictate transformation plans – whether it’s increasing deployment speeds of new services, driving financial efficiency by reducing operating costs, or standardizing IT to increase agility.
  • Identify a deployment strategy that balances business needs, available time, and security and regulatory constraints and cost.
  • Make an in-depth organizational change, implementing a “People/Process/Platform” model to encourage new ways of thinking, new automated processes, new approaches, and new skills that will be derived from new platforms and infrastructure.

Three keys to success

Enterprises can also mitigate the complex and challenging nature of migration by following three key steps:

  1. Combine migration with apps modernization

When migrating hundreds or even thousands of applications to the cloud, organizations have the choice between several methods which have very different cost/value ratios.

The first and most common is the “lift-and-shift” method – essentially copying the existing stack from the existing infrastructure and pasting it into a new one.

But while this is by far the simplest solution, the migrated application is identical to the source application and fails to allow organizations to fully benefit from cloud-native features such as agility.

Organizations should instead consider migration methods such as redeployment, replatforming and refactoring that enable simultaneous application modernization.

When done as part of the cloud migration process, application modernization can decrease the complexity of legacy apps, enable agile testing, and optimize platform infrastructure, internal architecture, and features.

These methods do require more time and cost, as they involve complete reinstallations of systems, changes to underlying components, or even recoding all or part of an application. However, they offer more opportunities to organizations to take full advantage of cloud technologies, benefit from new innovations, and resolve technical debt problems without taking any risk.

  1. Focus on well-oiled operating models driven by Cloud CoEs

It’s critical to ensure total alignment between the needs of the business and those of the IT department throughout transformation and beyond. The solution here is implementing decentralized operating models that ensure the IT team can act with speed, optimize services, and take advantage of cloud benefits while responding to business demands, maintaining security, and ensuring sustained levels of service.

While that may seem a daunting task, it’s made possible through the creation of a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE). The mission of a CCoE is to balance speed and stability, encouraging collaboration between all cloud structures to ensure adoption, strategy, governance, the platform and automation is considered throughout.

Taking this approach enables businesses to accelerate innovation and migration while increasing agility, ensuring the needs of the both the business and the IT team are met while reducing the overall cost of change.

  1. Optimize cloud economics

Cost reduction is one of the most prominent factors when considering migration to the cloud. However, many organizations struggle to meet cost reduction goals.

The reality is that cloud economics must be considered throughout the lifecycle and form part of a continuous improvement approach. The four vital parts include: FinOps governance, measurement, cost analysis, and clear communication of trends.

Implementing a governance strategy at the very start is vital to ensuring success. This empowers the organization to identify areas for optimization, align with business-critical processes, establish traceability and responsibility, and ensure good cloud management practices.

Once this is in place, the following areas become a natural part of the continuous improvement project. By constantly measuring the consumption of cloud services, analyzing and optimizing the services used, and proactively articulating cost trends to the wider business, the evolution of cloud transformation becomes a critical element of digital transformation that is backed by everyone in the business.

While cloud transformation is certainly not a straightforward task, it is infinitely worth it – and becoming increasingly critical to retaining a competitive advantage in a digital-first environment.

To find out how Capgemini can help guide you through this important process, download our Cloud Transformation: The Keys to Success whitepaper, or contact our team today.