Rethinking your cloud migration strategy: In-house IT or not?

When it comes to migrating data and applications to the cloud, there’s no doubt organizations need a robust cloud environment. Whether you’re in banking, insurance, hospitality or another industry, every company today is a technology company. And IT leaders now play a greater strategic role in building new business models, so they need to leverage cloud technologies in agile and innovative ways or risk losing market share.

Yet many companies still struggle to make that transition. In fact, 57% of decision makers consider migration a major obstacle to moving their workloads to the cloud, according to the most recent Frost & Sullivan Cloud User Survey.

The problem is that IT teams often try to do it alone. They start with a lot of money and little experience—and end with little money but a deep understanding of why they never should have ventured out on their own in the first place.

A recent article in Information Age sheds light on what companies frequently miss with this approach. “What’s often not considered is that moving an application, or the data it holds, does not necessarily move the associated business processes that the application and its data store rely upon or integrate with. It is like moving a boiler, for example, without considering the downstream impact. This could cause the failure of connecting pipes and anything they are connected with, such as taps, or radiators.”

Moving to the cloud—you need more than a “Field of Dreams”

Migrating to the cloud is too complex and risky to plan and implement alone.

In the hit 1989 film, “Field of Dreams,” a novice farmer has a vision: If he transforms his cornfield into a baseball diamond, he will save his farm. A voice tells him that if he builds it, “people will come,” and so he does. In the end, people pour in to watch one magical night of baseball—and his farm is saved.

Unlike the movies, cloud migration is not a build-it-and-they-will-come effort. Leveraging cloud technologies to grow your business takes more than vision. It requires having the right people on your team.

Mapping a successful journey starts with a cloud strategy

As we wrote in a previous article, to migrate successfully to the cloud, you first need a cloud strategy with a clear starting point, a comprehensive road map and measurable business goals.

An expert anchor partner helps you develop customized business cases with metrics-driven, incremental ROI objectives. During the first stage of your journey, your partner evaluates the best cloud approach (public, private or hybrid) and cloud deployment type (infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as a service) to use to achieve your strategic goals. This work includes readiness assessments, change management and audits to assess your security and system architecture needs.

By developing your cloud strategy first, an anchor partner sets the stage for a successful transition. “Vendor professional services offer additional value through acting as a broker for their customer in their journey to the cloud. They can assist in engaging not only their own staff but specialist partners for cloud and network architecture design, and applications, data and business process discovery services,” advises Information Age.

Once a master plan and strategic goals are established, a partner will help you determine the proper sequence of migrating your applications and data. This deep portfolio analysis includes looking at the current state followed by an application-to-cloud suitability analysis, migration plans and timelines. This foundational work gives you a single view of your company’s application infrastructure and identifies and prioritizes the enterprise systems, applications and data that need to move to the cloud.

Keeping your eyes on the ball

Whether you’re moving data sets or entire workloads, transitioning to the cloud ties up IT resources that are needed elsewhere. “Despite automation advances in many areas of cloud computing, migrating data is often still a customized service using professional services or similar vendor teams to ensure success,” explains Frost & Sullivan.

By working with a partner at every stage of the journey—from cloud strategy development and portfolio analysis to cloud build, migration, cloud native solutions, governance and management—IT can stay focused on what it does best: building and supporting great products and services.

The journey is different for each IT organization. You may be starting your business in the cloud or managing legacy systems and transitioning to embrace a cloud-first strategy for digital transformation. Either way, working with the right anchor partner gives you faster application implementation and deployment, reduced infrastructure overhead and greater flexibility to scale resources on the fly.

Whatever is your cloud presence, you want to maximize the opportunities that the cloud can provide your company. Some businesses do this by freeing up budgets for digital transformation or offloading non mission critical applications to improve productivity and collaboration. Others tap into cutting-edge ways to store, analyze and segment big data and improve their marketing efficacy through personalization.

Check out our e-book Seven Stages to Win in the Digital Age with Cloud for guidance on how to move your company to a cloud-first approach.