This article outlines what I believe to be the most sensible route for CIO’s to take when moving their applications to the Cloud. These four easy steps have been designed to allow CIOs to reflect on their existing environment and maximise the business benefit to be gained by moving to the cloud. Don’t worry I won’t be evangelising we all move everything today!
Step 1 – Take Stock
Every CIO has a map/plan of all their assets; when they are due to be replaced or upgraded, regardless of whether its hardware of software. I would suggest CIOs firstly go through a lifecycle exercise of all their IT assets to ascertain when is the next logical time for them to move things around or make changes and what is the cost of maintaining what they currently have until the next step of the life-cycle.
The key is to check how much it costs to maintain the assets on-site and to explore how much saving can be achieved with a cloud alternative. Further CIOs need to look into innovation, what can either save money or generate new business opportunities for the company and whether this innovation can be achieved with new cloud technologies (for example BPO).
The first step to investigate is of course the hardware level I would suggest trying to look into the advantages that they can gleam from moving to IaaS, this should be a relatively easy job as most companies have at some point considered a consolidation project.
The second step is to look into software or applications, I would suggest that CIOs do a cost effectiveness analysis; how much it would cost them to move to the next version of the software, how much are the maintenance costs, versus how much it would cost them to start using software as a service.
For example do you need to upgrade all our office products in the organisation or would it be more cost effective to subscribe to office on demand and pay a set fee, per user, per month. All these questions need to be asked and answered, when this analysis has been done the CIO will identify a few areas where starting to use a different SaaS solution will really makes sense.
Step 2 – realise what is possible and investigate mash-ups
At this point of course the CIO will run in to the issues faced with generic SaaS applications which are by their nature less customised, this doesn’t need to be a problem as solutions exist in the marketplace, which will allow the CIO to customise these SaaS applications using enterprise mash up and integration with on premise applications giving the ability to take standard applications and add some functionality to it with a cloud platform.
Step – 3 Make the move an evolutionary process
I would suggest this evaluation process should be an evolutionary process rather than one big bang approach, I would encourage CIO’s to begin to think how they can try and move more and more things to the cloud gradually, experimenting with what makes the most sense in the beginning. Of course the CIO must differentiate between hardware consolidation and software as these are two completely different worlds, yes solutions are more challenging but there are also a lot of good solutions out there.
Step 4 – Decide which migration model suits you best
There are two options when considering migrating business solutions to the cloud:one can either cloud enable part of your application or you can start from scratch. A very attractive option for some companies is to cloud enable part of the application, say you are a big manufacturer and you want to outsource your purchase orders or your admin(for BPO) you can take that portion of your application to the cloud in days.
Some ISVs will choose to start from scratch as there are a lot of conversion tools out there and our technology allows you to develop applications very very quickly in about a week you can do something that in a non cloud technology would take you 6 to 10 weeks to do. This makes this option quite attractive in some instances but it’s not your only option in short you can take a whole application and move it the cloud quickly and easily or you can make the move gradually moving more and more parts of an application to the cloud as and when you decide it is appropriate.
So having identified what makes sense to move to the cloud, in terms of both hardware and software and having set in motion a plan which will evolve over time CIOs need simply decide which migration model suits them best and begin the process as soon as they are ready. To my mind its all about research and planning, don’t rush into anything, plan every step of your move you know what they say about proper preparation…