As CIOs turn to the cloud to help streamline performance across key areas of operations, knowing exactly how to conquer the biggest cloud adoption challenges is more important than ever before says, Marilyn Moodley, Country Leader for South Africa and WECA (West, East, Central Africa) at SoftwareOne.
One of the first hurdles organisations encounter centres on what it expects cloud adoption to achieve. “Executives and technology teams may have slightly different views on this. While board members might believe the business needs to keep up with cloud trends, IT might focus on the challenges and complexities of cloud migration. Each view has its merits as cloud brings fundamental changes to how an organisation operates – and how it manages critical workloads,” notes Moodley.
With an understanding of what cloud adoption can do for an organisation, the next step is clearly articulating the primary reason for moving to the cloud. “Is it to reduce costs? Provide greater scalability? Or a requirement to grow and expand into new markets? It’s important to clarify key business goals before you can connect these to the capabilities that cloud can deliver,” she says.
A cloud adoption roadmap
Often the sheer magnitude of what organisations face on their cloud journey leads to a state of ‘analysis paralysis’ in which the research phase takes much longer than anticipated. “This can be a precarious juncture for an organisation as there is a temptation to then leap into the cloud wholesale without fully considering whether some workloads are appropriate,” says Moodley.
She adds that organisations can alleviate some of this pressure by focusing on applications rather than on technologies and architectures. “The key is to decide what’s needed for each application. Is it feasible to move the application to the cloud? Does it need to be modernised first? Or would a simple lift and shift work? Knowing this helps to prioritise and break down a migration program into more manageable chunks.”
Moodley says a comprehensive licensing assessment provides important guidance on which software needs must be met and the most cost-effective method of ensuring an organisation remains one step ahead of software audits and can proactively solve IT compliance issues before they happen.
A practical migration plan
After a business has clarified its goals and assessed its licensing and application needs, it can then prioritise which applications should be moved to the cloud first and start building a practical and achievable migration plan.
“SoftwareOne understands how to guide organisations through this process, helping with considerations such as how to time the migration of certain applications to ensure that key business processes aren’t disrupted. For instance, if an organisation has workloads with specific seasonal usage, it might want to migrate the applications used for that process well outside of those busy periods. Having an application-centric approach allows a business to plan its migration more simply than using a more traditional server-centric approach,” Moodley explains.
An effective migration plan should provide a clear view of the costs involved. However, Moodley cautions that while a move to the cloud can reduce some expenses, it is not always the case early on. “An organisation will save on data centre operating costs once migration is 100% complete, but this process takes time. Aspects such as electricity, cooling and even building rent will not necessarily decrease in cost in a granular way if they are still required for the applications that remain. Enlisting the help of a partner who understands the migration funding programs available through all of the hyperscale cloud services providers – Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure –can ease transitional costs considerably,” she says.
Moodley notes that in the complexities of moving to the cloud, many organisations can lose sight of common pitfalls which can be avoided by identifying key cloud drivers in a documented strategy.