Businesses choose cloud services for numerous reasons; agility, scalability, and flexibility are some things that bring advantages to any competitive business. With newer businesses implementing cloud from the get-go, many subscribe to the idea of the cloud as the new normal.
If you've realised the business benefits of migrating to the cloud and are ready to start, you're probably wondering about the next steps.
Before you go any further, you'll need to secure the support of key stakeholders. At this stage, it's essential to pull together a solid business case to bring everyone on board. A strong business case will help you win key stakeholders' support and accelerate the cloud migration process.
In this blog, we’ll guide you through successfully building a business case for moving to the cloud. We'll start with how to align leadership and motivate everyone to move toward a shared goal, then we'll talk through cloud services such as SaaS and IaaS. Next, we'll discuss triggers for moving to the cloud and the prioritisation process. Finally, we'll identify the key drivers that compel businesses to migrate. Let's jump in.
Laying the foundations—aligning leadership
Migrating to the cloud shouldn't be underestimated. Leveraging cloud in your organisation is a big change capable of driving innovation through all departments—it's about more than implementing new technology.
To make any significant change stick in your business, you'll need backing through commitments from leadership. All key stakeholders must be on board, or you could face false starts, timeline extensions, and results that don't meet expectations.
To begin, consider the goals that appeal to everyone in your organisation. Set out timelines and benchmarks for achieving your goals, identify how you will measure progress and share it with the team. Shared, quantifiable goals provide focus and motivate your organisation to move faster than it would organically.
Understanding cloud offerings: SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS
In cloud computing, there are three main types of offerings you need to know: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). Below, we dig a little deeper into each offering.
IaaS is an instant computing infrastructure managed over the internet that offers compute, storage and networking resources on demand. Its solutions enable you to scale IT resources up and down flexibly, at speed and on demand, allowing you to pay only for what you use. Each resource is offered as a separate service component, so you bypass the cost and hassle of buying and maintaining physical servers and data centre infrastructure. This cost-effective, time-saving choice for cloud migration enables fast set-up and dismantling of test and development environments and improves business continuity and disaster recovery. Consequently, it frees your team to focus on innovation rather than IT infrastructure.
PaaS is a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud. Its solutions enable you to deliver everything from cloud-based apps to cloud-enabled enterprise applications. PaaS enables the flexibility of multi-platform development, including mobile. Plus, you can use PaaS to support geographically distributed development teams effectively.
SaaS enables easy connection to cloud-based apps over the internet. It can connect you to apps such as email, calendars, and office tools, allowing access to app data from anywhere. Plus, SaaS helps to mobilise your workforce.
Why move now? Top triggers
Usually, many factors combined drive an organisation to move to the cloud. Triggers can be split into two camps: modernisation and migration.
Modernising involves breaking the application into pieces and rebuilding. Existing applications are replaced in favour of more modern approaches, application frameworks, and cloud-native technologies. Triggers that fall into modernisation include:
- To better facilitate remote working
- For a faster time to market
- For digital transformation
- To drive application innovation
Migrating an application is to 'lift and shift'. Your organisation's data centre's applications, data, and infrastructure move to a cloud infrastructure. Motivating forces from a migration perspective include:
- Data centre contract expiry
- Cash flow challenges
- Cybersecurity threats
- Business continuity
- To rapidly scale applications and infrastructure
How to prioritise
If you have hundreds of applications assigned for migration, a prioritisation process is not just important but essential. Prioritisation is an agile approach to migration; it determines an order to migrate applications to the cloud.
One common myth in the prioritisation process is that application priority is based on importance or how business-critical the application is. Business-critical apps should be classified as low-priority because they are higher risk. Instead, prioritise applications that are low-complexity and least critical to the business. Increase the application complexity or business-critical status with each wave you migrate.
Once you’ve worked out the order based on priority, start with 3-10 applications and work in waves, or you can select enough applications for 3–5 waves. Application priority and waves can change during a large migration process, so it’s best to start in waves so that you can react to changes.
Realising the business benefits of moving to the cloud
The benefits of moving to the cloud can serve as a base to align business goals against the potential business value gained by migrating to the cloud.
1. Cost savings
For businesses undertaking the cloud migration process, the cloud can have a massive impact on business costs. Cloud migration reduces the total cost of ownership of your entire application estate. It’s more inexpensive than a physical server, and it can help you reduce IT infrastructure costs as you no longer have to purchase and maintain expensive hardware and software.
2. Fixed to marginal costs
With cloud migration, businesses can transition from treating all infrastructure costs as fixed to considering them as marginal costs. These costs then grow or contract in alignment with the business strategy. In a typical cloud computing scenario, applications, servers, storage, and any other resources are offered as a service, where the expenses are not a fixed fee over a fixed period but variable, based on how much they are used. This transformation to a 'fixed to marginal' cost model allows more flexibility and potential cost savings due to the pay-as-you-go model.
3. Doing true DevOps
DevOps teams enjoy easier access to scalable hardware resources using a cloud infrastructure. These resources can help build, test and deploy new updates and offerings more quickly. The cloud boosts DevOps by minimising latency and enabling centralised management via a unified platform for deploying, testing, integrating, and releasing applications.
4. Benefits of cloud-native applications
Migrating to the cloud opens the door to a new world of cloud-native applications. Cloud-native involves cloud technologies like microservices, container orchestrators, and auto-scaling. The benefits of this approach enable a faster time-to-market, lower costs, better adaptability and reliability, and an improved customer experience.