By Holly Korten

Technology has always been an organizational enabler, and cloud computing is one of the key technologies that are transforming enterprises. Migration of on-premise business applications to cloud infrastructure is considered as a key trend that will be influencing the existing enterprise IT landscape. Something which can be noticed in the YOY growth clocked by cloud computing service providers.

Workforce globalization, changing demographics, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and geopolitical uncertainties are some of the key disruptive factors that will motivate organizations to migrate their applications to cloud platforms. However, Gartner reports that a large number of organizations aren’t ready for formulating a cloud strategy despite the growth potential of cloud technologies.

This lack of preparation could almost sound like an opportunity for cloud consulting services. However, different organizations have different views about cloud migration. Many organizations still have security and connectivity concerns about cloud platforms. Additionally, there are some organizations that are sceptical about the flexibility offered by cloud adoption. Fears, which must be addressed by the cloud consulting service providers to these organisations.

Key Benefits and Success Factors

In the long run, the benefits of cloud migration are going to outweigh the concerns and risks. It is a well-known fact that cloud migration helps to achieve scalability, operational excellence and cost savings. Cloud migration limits the mundane and repetitive tasks performed by the IT department. Organizations can plan their IT initiatives without worrying about infrastructure and storage

Mobility is another benefit achieved by cloud migration because employees can access important business applications while they are on the move. It is important to realize that it is not only the operations and budget that are positively impacted by the cloud migration. Perhaps, the most important stakeholder that will benefit from cloud migration is none other than the customer.

A cloud platform helps to customize the shopping experience and automate the processes of payment and order. Cloud-based communications can open multiple channels for reaching out to the customer. Since customer service is a critical domain, a successful cloud migration must address concerns about data sensitivity and cloud security.

According to CIO Insight, key factors that need to be considered for a successful migration are data encryption, data transfer speed, disaster recovery, network speed, network security and the need for virtual desktops. A high level of preparedness is required for ensuring risk-mitigation at all levels.

Preparation is the Key

Impeccable planning is the key ingredient of a cloud migration strategy, and most of the risks can be eliminated if the migration plan focusses on the right components. According to Ernst and Young, enterprises need to consider critical factors like people, technology needs, processes, data architecture and analysis while planning for transition. Most importantly, these components must be aligned with the goal of enriching the customer experience.

Putting together a stellar team is the starting point for launching the cloud strategy. Enterprises will need to find the right people who will not only drive the strategy but will also transform the organization.

Secondly, technology needs must be mapped to customer requirements and expectations.

The next step is to design processes and policies that will mitigate risks and ease the challenges of compliance management. Finally, enterprises will need to explore the data analysis capabilities of the cloud platform. Hence, a robust data architecture must be designed even before the transition actually begins.

Adobe: A Case Study

Successful implementation of the cloud migration strategy can be demonstrated by considering the example of Adobe Systems; the famous graphics software company that made its fortunes soar by transitioning to cloud. Adobe’s transitioning strategy was partly motivated by its weak financials that were getting affected by the perpetual-licensing model as well as the global recession.

Adobe decided to contemplate on a cloud transitioning strategy which aimed to move their software services to cloud servers. Adobe formed a team of strategists, business-unit leaders, financial analysts to experiment with different adoption strategies, customer experiences, go-to-market strategies and pricing models.

The company aimed to drive the transformation around the customer experience. It wanted to deliver better value proposition along with better features and high-quality services. So, Adobe’s think-tank focussed on cloud-based technology components, protocols, processes and capabilities that will help their customers to overcome content-creation challenges.

Simultaneously, Adobe embarked on a journey to prepare its workforce to adapt to the change. The preparedness included addressing cultural issues, grooming the salesforce and, most importantly, launching subscription-based pricing plans for delighting its customers.

According to McKinsey, Adobe’s cloud-migration strategy has enabled the company to incorporate predictive analytics into its cloud platform. The technologies have not only enabled Adobe to strengthen their relationships with their customers but also improve their offerings by listening to the customers. In a period of just five years, Adobe’s cloud migration strategy helped the company to improve its brand value, revenues and marketing efforts.

Burn the boats

The journey to a successful cloud migration is not easy as it involves a dramatic organizational change. At the same time, cloud migration offers dynamic customer experience and hence it is the need of the hour to embrace the cloud. Additionally, a cloud platform has the potential to bring all the functional groups together.

Merely focussing on key success factors is not enough and business leaders will need radically change their own organizations beforehand. Executives will need to ‘burn the boats’ for motivating their employees to adopt the cloud future. Finally, the cloud infrastructure must be thoroughly tested for disaster recovery and business continuity.

If you feel the pressure of the various fears related to cloud migration, perhaps it’d be a good idea to engage a cloud consulting service, to guide strategy formulation.

A senior VP of Business Intelligence Development, Holly Korten is a relentless net worker with several years of experience in marketing domain for Small and medium businesses. Assisting several Fortune 500 companies in revamping their marketing strategies from ground up, he seeks to achieve the entrepreneurial dream of startups to make it big in the market. A thinker, communicator, counselor and entrepreneur, he aims to spread his marketing finesse to upcoming businessmen.