Keeping Pace With Cloud Adoption in 2021 and Beyond

cloud migration, cloud strategy
7 min read

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.

What More Motivation Do You Need?

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:

  • Reduced infrastructure costs: Without physical servers to purchase, configure, and maintain, infrastructure costs—including the costs to power and cool the machines and keep them connected to the network—are reduced or eliminated. 
  • Security: Depending on which cloud model you adopt (software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service), data security may still be your responsibility, but it’s much easier to manage in the cloud. With proper backups in place, recovering from a successful cyberattack is greatly simplified as well.
  • Remote work: If the last year has taught us anything, management can trust employees to be productive while working from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. But remote work is much easier to support when your business-critical applications, databases, and computing horsepower are in the cloud
  • System integration: The flexibility of cloud architecture enables tight integration between connected systems and applications.
  • Resource scaling: Microsoft Cloud service providers can scale computing resources, user connections, memory, and storage dynamically in response to changes in demand and load. And because under most cloud service plans, you pay only for the actual resources used, you don’t pay for idle capacity (as you would with on-premise infrastructure).
IDC 2021 Cloud Adoption

IDC expects public cloud IT infrastructure spending to surpass non-cloud IT infrastructure spending again in the near future and expand its lead going forward.

Pitfalls to Avoid

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:

  • Do we understand all the interconnections among our legacy systems?
  • How complex is the migration for a given system?
  • Would it be better to migrate the system as-is to a cloud environment or to adopt a ready-made cloud-based equivalent system? (In many cases, the latter gives you the scalability and other excellent cloud features that you don’t get with a simple lift-and-shift.)
  • For connected systems, is it better (more manageable, cheaper, less risky) to migrate multiple systems at the same time or build and test cloud-enabled integrations that your team will throw away once everything is on the cloud?

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.

Jason Meilleur
Jason Meilleur
As the Senior Manager of Cloud Solutions at 360 Visibility, Jason has combined his technical and business development backgrounds to expand cloud based services and the company’s infrastructure customer base. Having a long standing family history of hard working entrepreneurs, Jason has developed a strong desire for business growth.
360 Visibility