Cloud computing started life as a pie-in-the-sky dream and then evolved into a nerdy curiosity that no sane CIO would touch for mission-critical systems. At last, however, cloud computing has gone mainstream, and cloud adoption is the central concept for digital transformation in large and small companies around the world.
That’s quite a turnaround in just a few years.
For many companies that haven’t already executed cloud adoption in some form, the question is not whether to move forward with cloud adoption but how quickly to get started and manage it.
The term “journey to the cloud” sounds like a theme-park ride, and indeed it can be a roller coaster for enterprises that don’t do it well. Those who don’t choose cloud adoption are in danger of being left behind by their more forward-thinking competitors.
By this time, the advantages of cloud adoption should be well known to any business paying even the slightest attention. But let’s go over them one more time:
Cloud adoption is not always a cakewalk. It’s not difficult to adopt cloud applications such as Office 365, SharePoint Online, Adobe Creative Cloud, or the various SaaS application offerings available. But many legacy systems can be tricky to migrate, in particular when there are significant integrations involved.
Take, for example, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Some (perhaps most) enterprises have been using the same ERP software for many years. Over time, these systems have become highly customized and integrated with numerous other legacy systems, not to mention the hardware integrations common in manufacturing ERP systems.
In cases such as this, it’s tempting to migrate the entire environment to the cloud in one shot. This approach is complicated, expensive, and risky. But if you adopt a piecemeal, system-by-system cloud adoption strategy, you run the risk of breaking connections between the newly migrated system and the legacy systems left behind.
You may have built some of these connections so long ago that their technical details are long forgotten. You might not even be aware of them until they break.
That’s why planning and analysis are so critical early in the cloud adoption process. Before you even start shopping for a cloud service provider, as a business, you should be asking yourself questions such as:
The risks, benefits, and costs of all the options will inform your overall cloud adoption strategy. A thorough, honest analysis will ensure you make the right strategic decisions.
Your journey to the cloud won’t happen overnight and will not be without some stumbles. But you have to start somewhere, and your competitors (not to mention your customers, suppliers, and other partners) are already engaged in cloud adoption. The time to take the first step is now.