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What You Need for Your Journey to the Cloud

Danny De Paepe
13 Jul 2023

For pretty much every company, it is already an undeniable fact: the cloud will form an essential part of business operations in the coming years. But at the same time, many companies are unsure about how to make this a reality. How do you start your journey to the cloud? And how do you make your cloud project a success story? We asked Paul Vanderborght, Managing Director Cloud Infrastructure Services at Capgemini Belgium, and his colleague Danny De Paepe, Cloud Solutions Sales Lead, for the best transportation and rehousing tips.

Tip 1: Start from what your business wants

A journey to the cloud – and you can definitely call it a journey – is usually a long and complex one, requiring careful thought and planning. Just like with any other IT project nowadays, you start off by looking at your business needs. The cloud overcomes many challenges, and you can choose from a wide range of cloud solutions. In these choices, you must always be guided by what your company wants to achieve with its cloud project. Do you want to stop using an old, electricity-guzzling data centre, and so do your business in a more sustainable way? Do you need extra flexibility in your infrastructure, so you are better equipped to deal with peak loads? Do you hope to have a lower TCO through the cloud? How important is 24/7 availability and support for your business? Would you like to respond more quickly to the products and services of your suppliers, who are increasingly developing their software for the cloud first? It is crucial that you have complete and clear answers to these questions and that you take account of all the relevant business needs before you set off on your journey. It’s only once you have these answers that you can make decisions about technology, such as how much of your infrastructure you should put in the cloud, what type of cloud appeals to you, whether you should opt for one or several suppliers, and so on.

Tip 2: Know what you have

After the business analysis, you have to conduct a somewhat technical exercise: getting a good overview of your application landscape. What applications do you have? What applications communicate with each other or with external parties? All this needs to be mapped out. Most businesses do this mapping exercise well, for the majority of their applications. But often, the devil is in the detail. Older applications are frequently overlooked ­– even though they are crucial for a successful cloud migration. Luckily there is help at hand: expert guidance for companies such as Capgemini, and automatic technology that facilitates an end-to-end view of the application landscape.

Additionally, these tools are not just limited to applications. They also map out infrastructure and security, and make an initial proposal about what components are best migrated to what type of cloud. Based on this, we can work with the client to plan out an optimal journey to the cloud. Some applications require a lift and shift approach, meaning they are migrated to the cloud ‘as is’, others an upscaling, which entails rewriting the application and placing it in a container, and others still require a full rewrite from scratch for the cloud, or simply need to be replaced by an external cloud service.

Tip 3: Think about the foundations

You can compare your journey to the cloud with building a house. First and foremost, you need good foundations. These foundations must be in the right location, and they must be deep enough to support the building you are constructing on top. In cloud environments, we talk about the landing zone: where are you going to place each application, so that they have optimal support? Making the right choices in this phase often determines whether your cloud journey will succeed, or fail. You can make ‘quick and dirty’ decisions about everything, but the chances are that these decisions will be ill-considered and require costly rectification down the line.

It is also important to make your landing zone future-proof. Bear in mind that, in the long term, you will want to build an extension on your house. If your foundations are not strong enough, you will simply not be able to. At the same time, your foundations must be flexible, so that you do not get bogged down from the start. New technologies may emerge that were not anticipated, and then your foundations must allow their use.

Tip 4: Ensure you have decent security

The journey to the cloud is also the ideal opportunity to review your security choices. For many of our clients this is a wake-up call: a moment to consciously reflect on what they need in terms of security and what exactly they already have in place. Here, they must take into account the nature of their activities – security needs to vary strongly, depending on the sector – as well as their customer base and geographical reach. Companies who serve customers across the world need different security provisions than those who serve a narrower, local clientele.

Tip 5: Build in good governance

People often ask us if the cloud ends up being more expensive than keeping everything on their premises. Our answer to this is a resolute one: you can always make a positive business case, by bearing the following in mind. If you take your kids to the supermarket, you can be sure that half of the sweets and chocolates on the shelf will land in your trolley. The same applies to the cloud: if you allow everyone to choose what they want, you will end up with far more than you actually need. The challenge is to make everything easy to consume – which should remain a demonstrable advantage of the cloud – and at the same time ensure that consumption remains limited to what you need as a business.

In other words: with the move to the cloud, you must provide good governance so that its use remains under control. Happily, there are also tools available for this, which give you a full and accurate overview of who is consuming what in the cloud. This means you can keep a continual oversight of use by different users, and how much this is costing. This not only ensures that everyone pays attention to what they are using, but you can also quickly identify when a cloud service is no longer being used, and so a way to save money. With such governance in place, the cost of the cloud is usually much lower than you think. In fact, the businesses we have helped migrate to the cloud have saved up to 30% (or more) when doing so.

This does require that there is good awareness within the different departments of a company and that they take responsibility for what they are doing. If they know what the cost of a particular extra cloud service is, they will think more carefully before using it and perhaps look at the business case. This means less impulsive consumption behaviour, and so a lower bill at the end of the month.

Tip 6: Dynamic environments require dynamic management and maintenance

You need to provide support in another way. Your cloud environment is a very dynamic setting. At the same time, the expectations that everything will be quicker and more easily available are higher than ever. As an IT service, this is very difficult for you to handle on your own. To continue to deliver a professional service, you need automated cloud management and support. The basis of service automation is carrying out operational tasks with artificial intelligence (AiOps), which saves enormous amounts of time and entails a much smaller chance of mistakes being made than with manual, human interventions. As Capgemini has developed this AiOps environment itself, it is much easier for us to adjust this to the needs of each client, whether they have a few hundred servers or tens of thousands.

Tip 7: Look for a good travel companion/construction supervisor

Capgemini supports its clients at every stage of the journey, from analysis and implementation to support and management. Furthermore, we help with both the technical and business sides: we look together at what the business needs are, but also provide advice about what is technically possible, and what is not. So the client knows they are in safe hands, even when their most important application is being migrated.

Interested in transforming your business with Cloud? Get in touch!

This article was originally published on Computable in Dutch. To access the Dutch version of the article, click here.

Authors

Danny De Paepe

Cloud Solutions Sales Lead, Capgemini Belgium
Danny has been a valuable member of the Capgemini team for some years, consistently demonstrating his passion for cloud technology. His primary focus revolves around supporting multiple clients in their journey towards digital transformation through the adoption of cloud solutions. Danny’s unwavering commitment to staying abreast of emerging technologies enables him to provide his clients with the most advanced and effective cloud solutions available.

Paul Vanderborght

Managing Director, Cloud Infrastructure Services at Capgemini Belgium
Paul Vanderborght is a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience in the technology sector. His transformative leadership style, honed through key roles at leading technology firms, underscores his commitment to driving organizations towards technological excellence. As the head of Cloud Infrastructure Services at Capgemini, Paul leverages his wealth of experience to shape the strategic direction of the division, emphasizing a forward-thinking vision for the intersection of technology and business. His recognized thought leadership is evident in insightful articles on cybersecurity and cloud technology, highlighting his dedication to fostering innovation and excellence within the industry.