There’s no denying that cloud has become a core element of any business’ technology strategy. While we all realise the potential of this approach to computing, migrating to the cloud remains one of the most disruptive changes businesses can make.
Businesses know that cloud can help them innovate, save money and operate more efficiently, but if they fail to plan their cloud migration successfully, they could easily miss out on these opportunities to modernise. Acknowledging that no single approach will work for every organisation, there are certain roadmaps and guidelines for making your cloud journey a smooth ride. In 2011, Gartner came up with the five R’s, which offer a starting point for finding a cloud strategy that best suits your unique business needs.
These five R’s include:
Retire: Anything that costs more money than it brings in, should be earmarked for retirement. Similarly, legacy applications should be retired if the functionality they provide can easily be consolidated into a single, more efficient entity in the cloud.
Replace: In the past, businesses didn’t have that many alternatives. Today, we’re spoilt for choice. Anything that can be done more cost-effectively and efficiently should be replaced.
Retain: We’re not saying you should just toss out all of your old systems and replace them with something new. Some legacy applications simply need to be spruced up by adding a modern “wrapper”.
Rehost: Anything that adds value but is costly to run is a candidate for rehosting. In this approach, you maintain the basic functionality of the business app but you move it to the cloud.
Re-envision: Sometimes the “lift and shift” approach isn’t a good fit. In these instances it may be advisable to totally re-envision the application and rebuild it in the cloud using best practices and taking advantage of modern architecture and technology.
Taking the next step
So now that you’ve earmarked the legacy apps that cost you excess money, you’ve identified where consolidation can occur and are ready to rebuild when/if necessary. But where to from here? If you’re still feeling a little confused, you are not alone. While research focusing on adoption, highlights the value cloud can bring to a business, studies show that there is still a high level of confusion and anxiety around what migrating actually entails.
Microsoft breaks the cloud migration process down into three stages – experimentation, migration and transformation. Before we take a look at each of these stages in more detail, it’s important to point out that these are just a guideline, thee stages may not happen in sequence and they might all happen at the same time.
#1 Experimentation: There will always be a guinea pig. That first application that you move to the cloud to test out the waters. While taking this step may seem intimidating at first, the experimentation phase is a chance for IT staff to really learn about what it takes to develop, test, deploy and manage a cloud application. With so much hype around cloud, the experimentation phase is your chance to separate the hype from the reality.
#2 Migration: Perhaps the most demanding phase, during migration the bulk or part of your IT ecosystem is moved to the cloud in some form or another. This phase is so taxing because a wide variety of people need to work together to ensure everything goes smoothly. From technical staff to the executive suite, your IT security team, legal advisors and HR.
#3 Transformation: If you think that you can just move everything as-is to the cloud, you’re missing the point. IT transformation is so important because this is the business’ chance to redesign and reimagine apps; leveraging the benefits and possibilities of cloud. In doing so, seemingly limited apps will very quickly become innovative, insight-rich and can bring about real transformation across the enterprise.
Need any extra advice or want some help making your move as seamless as possible? At 48Software, that’s exactly what we do and we’d love to help.