This article originally appeared in Livemint
One of the most vital strategic decisions that can be made by most organisations is the accelerated shift of their legacy IT infrastructure to ‘Cloud Technology’.
As we continue our journey through the extended new normal of the pandemic, it is crystal clear that to survive and thrive, companies will have to adapt to be able to respond to the ever-evolving needs of today’s digital consumers. It is not an exaggeration to say that today a successful business needs to be responsive, scalable, secure, and resilient. In this context, one of the most vital strategic decisions that can be made by most organizations is the accelerated shift of their legacy IT infrastructure to ‘Cloud Technology’.
Race to Cloud – Drivers and Roadblocks
According to an IDC report , it is expected that by the end of 2021, approximately 80% of the enterprises will put a mechanism in place to shift to cloud-centric infrastructure and applications at a rate double or more of what it was before the pandemic. However, in this race of cloud adoption, many organisations do not have a clear picture of what they want and often underestimate the challenges involved in cloud migration. Lack of appropriate research, the correct approach and the right service provider leads to organisations ending up getting their hands burnt, leading them to put their plans on the back-burner.
This has brought about a situation where many fears and misconceptions related to cloud adoption cause organisations to hesitate in their cloud adoption journey.
One of the foremost concerns is the potential of breaches in security and compliance. Basis Amdocs’ recent cloud survey more than 60% of the IT leaders surveyed in the US, UK, and India stated that security was one of their biggest cloud-based challenges, closely followed by loss of data. Organisations believed that moving massive amounts of data across platforms may lead to some or more of it not carrying forth safely. Other concerns such as latency and lack of visibility and control over cloud-hosted apps were also reasons to put off adoption.
Another major concern on the enterprises’ end is the need for skilled workforce to work on cloud. The investment in re-/upskilling on cloud technology, outsourcing strategies to meet cloud computing experts’ deficit, etc., would be massive as the majority of the current workforce does not have the skills required to handle the change. Amdocs cloud survey found that approx. 69% of IT professionals in India believe training employees on cloud-based data and analytics is as one of the biggest challenges today. A similar concern is the incompatibility of existing IT architecture. Every organisation has a current set of IT tools and infrastructure which is being used for current operations and the lack of data integration and data management, while running systems and monitoring workloads on the cloud, puts a sense of unease in everyone’s minds.
Lastly, the availability of different pricing models across cloud service providers can lead to confusion over which option would be more cost effective. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a Pay-as-you-go model, a Save when you reserve model and a Pay less by using more model . All three models have pros and cons and vary in the financial load they levy on the would-be adopter. The financial aspect leads to procrastination over the adoption decision, which, more often than not, leads organisations to put off the adoption.
In short, many of the organisations feel that the time and effort required to make the shift would just not be worth it.
A Roadmap to Shift to Cloud
A seamless shift to the cloud calls for CIOs to understand the benefits thoroughly, be prepared for the challenges along the way and have a well-designed framework/roadmap for the transition. Let us look at the elements that could make the process easier:
Step 1: Organisations need to clearly define the purpose behind the need to shift to cloud. This would help them in identifying approach to use, investment required as well as the right service provider to support them.
Step 2: It is essential to evaluate the various migration strategies based on the business requirements and costs involved. The strategies can vary from straightforward re-host (‘lift and shift’), to refactor, rebuild, revise, and replace.
Step 3: Choice of the best-fit Cloud Service Provider (SCP) is essential to have a successful cloud migration journey. Organisations must also clearly understand the security and compliance being adopted by service providers, how those would impact their operations and, if the case demands it, make some provisions of their own.
Step 4: To effectively operate on cloud, organisations need to invest in re-/upskilling talent for cloud for faster adoption, easier implementation of business goals in the cloud space. Additionally, for the best return on investment, businesses need to use optimum cloud capacity at any given point of time and can scale up or down as per business requirements.
Today, it is a business reality that cloud adoption is the need of the hour in the post pandemic world where business scalability, resiliency, smarter integrations, and easier accessibility to critical functionalities are imperative for business growth and sustainability. Businesses need to understand their requirements and map the cloud offerings against them to get a best-fit solution to be able to keep up amidst the competitive landscape.