To Cloud or Not to Cloud? Key considerations when moving to the Cloud

As President of Drivestream, I have many opportunities to speak with businesses who are considering the move to the Cloud. Through this, I’ve gained a lot of understanding of what decision makers are thinking when they scope and plan their Cloud journey.

There is a huge momentum to move to the Cloud.

Vendors are touting Cloud as a business differentiator for companies who need to recruit and retain talent, manage people assets, planning and budgeting to streamline financial processes, and make procurement and supply chain more efficient. And how to enhance the user experience and adoption of the Cloud?

The End-User community are also feeling the push to the Cloud. The “As-a-Service” economy is changing how business is done. Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, are all pushing technological and business process changes, and doing so at a faster rate.

Is There a Financial Benefit?

I have found that at the end of the day the customers always ask, “Is there a financial benefit to moving to the Cloud?” This is the piece they all seem to struggle with.

  • How do I justify migrating to the Cloud?
  • Can I show a Return on Investment in productivity and features?
  • Can I lower the Total Cost of Ownership? By how much?

How Do I Prepare for Change?

The second thing they ask is how are are they going to manage the change? How can they minimize the disruption caused by the Cloud? And more importantly, “How do you prepare the organization to adopting change?

Steps to Addressing Key Questions

To address the questions about financial benefit, we suggest end-users identify savings that can come from four areas

  1. The amount of infrastructure savings from moving application infrastructure to the Cloud
  2. The cost of software upkeep, in terms of team, budget, and time resources it taks to upkeep on-premise vs. Cloud applications
  3. Quantifying the disruption the business faces during application upgrades, including the time, resources and effort it requires each time an on-premise application is upgraded
  4. Quantifying the cost of keeping up with upgrades, and having to decide if and when to upgrade.

In terms of change management, there are four areas that need to be examined

  1. Understanding the key difference between Cloud vs on-premise applications in terms of the technology
  2. Understanding the key differences between Cloud vs. on-premise applications in terms of the impact on business processes, and process re-engineering
  3. Training and adoption, and how choosing an iterative implementation approach gives users the ability to learn the system more quickly
  4. Understanding implementation timelines, and what it takes to garner business user commitment to participate in the implementation cycle, thus significantly increasing adoption

Cloud Migration Assessment Workshop (CMA)

To address both of these key areas of cost and change, we propose that customers conduct a Cloud Migration Assessment (CMA) workshop. The CMA is designed in a way that the client gets an understanding of all of the features and functions of the Cloud application, and more importantly

  1. Map current business processes to the Cloud to identify which can be maintained, and which need to be modified
  2. Understand the impact of customizations when migrating to the Cloud, and how to either eliminate customizations, or develop new coding to accomodate required customizations using approaches like Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
  3. Finally, the larger objective of Business Process Transformation of the business, and how the Cloud changes everything (and changes nothing – in terms of focusing on best practices, user training, and focus on business benefits)

These, in my experience, are the key questions when asking To Cloud or Not to Cloud?

In forthcoming posts I will ask some members of my leadership team to comment on the follow-on questions clients ask when moving to the next step

  • Should we Upgrade or Migrate?
  • Can we get a Complete Cloud Solution for my growing midsize business?
  • Some comments about OHUG 2016 and thought leadership