The Cloud, Holy Grail of freedom and IT agility for some, Trojan horse for others, strengthens its position as the spearhead of the digital transformation of companies.
All the studies carried out by consulting firms specializing in IT are globally congruent: in a window of two to three years, more than half of the applications will be developed and managed directly in the cloud. More than 80% of IT budgets will be devoted to Cloud solutions.
Transformation projects can seem complicated at first. However, most of the time, they are just complex. The diversity of the trades affected the speed of innovations in technological services and the implications of managing change over time come into play. By using a good project methodology and the use of an experienced partner, the cloud is within everyone’s reach.
Here are some important, but not exhaustive, keys to remember to lead a business transformation to the cloud with confidence and over the long term:
1) Most of the transformation is not technological
It’s a fact of life, if the cloud was all about a technology adoption curve, it would be much easier and faster. However, this transformation must be approached from a systemic angle. The on-board ecosystem is large and addresses changes at several levels:
- Culture change
The company itself often shifts from a “homemade” policy to using a third party, which is a real cultural shift. The contraction of the time necessary to conceive new services intended for Customers, followers of everything immediately, modifies the way of producing, testing, and launching them on the market. Speed becomes a factor of success.
- Skills development
A challenge for HR. How to support the entire fringe of the population that is not cloud-native in the understanding, acceptance, and use of these new technologies? How to ensure good internal dynamics and sharing between these populations without risking the internal split of a two-speed company depending on who is addressing the project? A subject to anticipate upstream.
- Modernization of organizations and methods
DevOps methods promote agility and speed of development in a context of continuous integration and continuous deployment. Fewer errors through automation, fast cycles, and continuous dynamics. However, that implies the removal of functional silos and acculturation to this method.
- Modernization of technologies
How to modernize applications? Should we keep physical architectures for critical data? The cloud, but which player to choose? Beyond the cloud, which cloud services to use, virtual servers, platform services, containers? So many aspects to be framed in the choice phases, the implications being different in terms of application redevelopment budget (limited for a server to cloud server port, but identical operating cost; versus important for the adoption of microservices but up to 60% reduction in operating costs).
2) Determine the target, trajectory and indicators of success
Who wants to take a trip determines first the destination, then the stops, and the budget. Ditto for transformation, the cloud is a means, not a destination. What productivity objectives, shortening it is time to market, improving its availability or user performance does the company want? Cloud-first or cloud-all strategies must lay down this vision and the indicators of success to measure the achievement of these objectives.
3) Measure the gaps
In point one; we saw that the transformation is not just IT. The gap must therefore be measured with respect to all these factors. Is the decision to adopt the cloud carried and infused exemplarily by the general management and clearly explained? The methods in place: are they already agile or sequential and compartmentalized? Skills: are they in the adoption of technologies, are there ambassadors mastering cloud-native development? Measuring the gaps will clearly define the path to be adopted over time.
4) Get support … over the long term
All of the assessments to be carried out require time, methods, and expertise to support the structure. Using an expert such as an MSP (Managed Service Provider) allows you to benefit from concrete experience in the consulting and implementation phases of the transformation plan.
DevOps training, Container, Travel to the cloud, security assessment is all consulting services that allow you to trace an appropriate trajectory and deploy your services in the chosen cloud (s).
Do not forget about managing application operations in the cloud. Does the company have the necessary expertise to manage the cloud provider, supervise applications, intervene in the event of an incident, and manage their capacity and performance? Contrary to popular belief, the cloud provider only addresses the platform it offers but will not deal with your services or applications. An MSP will do it.
5) Be aware of SLAs
The cloud is undoubtedly a source of agility for business departments. However, it is important not to neglect to understand the contractual commitments of cloud providers in terms of SLAs on availability, performance, and security.
These are often quite light, and above all will only cover the spectrum of infrastructure provided and not the entire application structure. This is another advantage of the Managed Service Provider, which can bear full responsibility covering the entire application chain.
6) Hybridization is a key
The future is not mono mode, mono cloud, mono infrastructure, and mono provider. Each company is unique and requires a tailor-made solution responding to its challenges and its maturity phase. Hybridization is key in that it allows you to choose the best services for your needs à la carte. It is now a reality, it is technically possible to design and manage platforms Hybrids that communicate. It is a question of integration and skills. Your MSP is there for that too.
These 6 steps will allow you to confidently cover your transformation projects while ensuring the availability, performance, and durability of your applications. Obviously, the specifics of your context may require other framing and management elements.