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Building The Case for Cloud Migration

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Introduction

In recent years, cloud computing has become increasingly affordable, and innovative technologies have made it possible for organizations to run all their applications, manage all their workloads and store all their data in the cloud. It’s no wonder that more and more organizations are making the move. In fact, in 2020, about 6 out of every 10 businesses moved their systems to the cloud.

So, for any organization whose on-site infrastructure has reached end-of-life, migrating to the cloud is a definite consideration. Others are considering it because they want to save infrastructure costs or are looking for more agility and flexibility in a competitive market.

The thing is, moving your infrastructure and data away from an on-site data center to the cloud is a major decision that needs careful consideration. In this paper, we’ll answer some of the most important questions you need to ask yourself when considering migrating to the cloud and, in doing so, build the case for cloud migration.


Why are organizations moving to the cloud?

The first stepping stone in making the case for cloud migration is understanding why organizations are moving their data to the cloud. It’s simple, you wouldn’t know if you need to migrate if you don’t know why other organizations are doing it.

At its foundation, organizations migrate to the cloud mainly for two reasons, cost and flexibility. Let’s consider costs first as it’s one of the most common reasons why organizations consider migrating to the cloud. Typically, when they do, they already have some sort of on-site infrastructure that needs updating. In some cases, they don’t and they’re weighing up their options between on-site and the cloud.

With on-site infrastructure, organizations need to purchase hardware, set up a data center, and create a server room. This requires significant upfront capital expenditure. Now, obviously, this capital expenditure is discounted over a number of years while the infrastructure is in use.

For example, if an organization spends $100,000 on on-site infrastructure and uses it over 10 years, it results in the organization spending $10,000 per year. The problem is that there’s still a capital cost upfront which could affect the organization’s cash flow. Also, added to this, is the fact that the organization will, typically, have to appoint a system administrator to ensure that their data center runs smoothly which carries a significant monthly expense.

Conversely, when migrating to the cloud, organizations would have no upfront capital expenditure but they do have costs that are a little higher month-to-month. Remember, though, that, as mentioned above, on-site infrastructure still requires maintenance and at some stage will again require a significant capital investment to update the hardware.

In return for their monthly payment to a cloud provider, these organizations get to use infrastructure provided by a provider that has far more resources and can, therefore, maintain it better than the organization can.

But it goes further than this and it’s here where flexibility comes in. With a cloud deployment, organizations are able to add or reduce storage capacity or computing power when they need to. In other words, they’re able to scale their resources up or down as their needs and requirements change. And most cloud providers offer pay-as-you-use pricing which means organizations only pay for the capacity they use.

Infastructure vs cloud storage

 

So, unlike on-site infrastructure where organizations either need to invest more capital for increased resources or lose money when they have too much capacity for their workloads, migrating to the cloud gives them infinitely more flexibility. In fact, when Emirates moved from on-site infrastructure to the cloud in an attempt to reduce infrastructure costs and be able to respond better to fluctuations in demand, it estimated that it would save $1 million.

Keep in mind, though, that, in addition to the cost savings and flexibility migrating to the cloud offers, it provides several other benefits including increased security, reliability, faster implementation times, high availability, and more.

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What are the most important things organizations need to consider when moving to the cloud?

As mentioned earlier, migrating to the cloud is a major decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. As a result, when considering it, there are several factors organizations should consider. Here, the most important factors that organizations should consider are:

1. SECURITY

The first thing organizations need to think about is security. This is vital, considering that organizations not only store and process their own data but typically also their customers’ data. Also, cybercrime and data breaches are becoming an increasingly common risk. As a result, having the necessary security measures in place is a vital concern, especially for organizations that need to comply with regulatory requirements such as those in financial services and healthcare.

2. NEED

The second aspect that needs to be considered is whether there is an actual need for the planned migration. So, organizations need to determine whether they could benefit from the migration and not because every other organization is doing it.

3. DATA STRUCTURES

The next crucial consideration is the data structures the organization is currently using to store its data. This is important because, ideally, the exact data structure needs to be created in the cloud before the data is migrated. This, ultimately, ensures that data is transferred as seamlessly as possible.

4. DATA

The next factor organizations should consider is the data itself. Here, it’s important to consider the volume of data, so organizations should consider how much historical data they have and how much they really need to migrate to the cloud. In the end, this has an effect not only on the volume of data that needs to be transferred but also on how long it will take and how much it will cost.

5. DATA PIPELINE

Obviously, transferring data to the cloud is an important consideration that requires a fair amount of planning. Tied to this, organizations should also carefully consider their data pipelines or, in other words, how they will manage and maintain the continuous flow of data to the cloud after the initial transfer and how data will be made available across their systems.

6. OTHER FACTORS

In addition to these important considerations, there are a few other aspects that need consideration before the migration. These include the location of the data, how migration will impact the business’s culture and its performance, finding the right cloud provider, and others.

 

 

 

what are the biggest challenges organizations encounter with cloud migration?

Even though many organizations duly consider all the important factors above, some still face challenges when migrating to the cloud.

One of the main reasons for this is that they fail to develop a proper cloud migration strategy. As a result, they fail to plan and estimate how much resources they’ll actually need. This requires changes to be made after the migration which, in turn, impacts efficiency, productivity, and costs.


Another major challenge many organizations face is keeping their existing environment running smoothly while establishing the cloud infrastructure and transferring tools and data to it. Remember, the organization’s business should continue to operate, so they’ll need to find the right strategy and timeline to effectively implement their cloud systems while still maintaining on-site systems adequately.

Another challenge which, in many cases, poses the biggest hurdle to cross is resistance to its adoption.

It’s a fact, many people are apprehensive about change and, therefore, resist it. This is even more so during the initial stages of a cloud migration when the benefits aren’t immediately apparent. As a result, it’s crucial that organizations implement the necessary measures and strategies to combat resistance.

 

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This approach involves everything from involving leadership in the migration to investing in the necessary training and resources to demonstrate the benefits, productivity, and efficiency migrating to the cloud will bring.

Crucial preparations for cloud migration
Develop a plan for migration with estimates of how many resources you'll actually need.
Finding the correct timeline and strategy to keep existing data running smoothly during the transfer and tool change.

Make sure your team is fully onboard and ready to adopt the new system.

are costs saved when you migrate to the cloud?

As mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons organizations move to the cloud is infrastructure costs. Now to determine whether there will be a cost-saving depends on the specific circumstances of every case and relies on a comparison between the capital expenditure. 

Now, to determine whether there will be a cost saving depends on the specific circumstances of every case and relies on a comparison between the capital expenditure (Capex) of keeping infrastructure on-site compared to the operational expenditure (Opex) of migrating to the cloud.

For instance, when an organization already has an on-site infrastructure with the necessary capacity to handle all their workloads, migrating to the cloud might not offer immediate benefits.

Conversely, if an organization’s hardware and infrastructure are at the end of their life cycles, a move to the cloud would make much more sense and show quicker benefits.

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However, even the organization with sufficient on-site infrastructure needs to consider that the amount of data being generated and processed is increasing exponentially. In fact, businesses are now consuming more data than ever before and will continue to do so in the future.

As a result, and because of the cloud’s ability to scale effortlessly and give organizations the flexibility they need to expand their infrastructure cost-effectively as data increases, it’s still worthy of consideration.

when cloud migration is cost saving
Your current data management hardware/ software is near or past the end of it's effective life- saves cost of new hardware, installing software and downtime.
Your system needs an upgrade to handle the speed/ storage needs- saves new system costs,

The company is experiencing or expects a shift in data management needs soon and would lose money having to adjust your system on the fly- saves downtime and extra staffing/ hardware needs.


How do you make the business case to move to the cloud?

One of the key considerations when considering migrating to the cloud is whether there is an actual need for it. So, this forms the foundation of making the business case for a move to the cloud.

To do this organizations should carefully consider how migrating to the cloud can make their business processes more efficient and how it could benefit their workforce and make them more productive. This would likely entail looking at the volume of data an organization uses and how easy it is for teams to access this data across the enterprise.

Another consideration for organizations is where their workforce is located. This is simply because migrating to the cloud will offer significant benefits when they have distributed workforces which, in turn, could strengthen the case for cloud migration.

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How long does cloud migration take?

This is often a difficult question to answer as it depends on several factors.

One of the first factors that can greatly influence how long a cloud migration would take, is the scale of the migration. In other words, how much data, systems, and tools an organization plans to move to the cloud.

So, for example, when an organization plans to move only a handful of data pipeline streams compared to a few thousand, the process could be done quicker

Likewise, if during the migration, the organization will be changing tools, the process could take far longer.

Ultimately, the time required depends on the approach the organization wants to take with the migration. Here, the most common approaches are:

1. REHOSTING

Involves lifting the organization’s entire technology stack from an on-site environment to the cloud. In other words, the cloud environment is an exact copy of the on-site infrastructure. This is often one of the quickest ways to migrate.

2. RE-PLATFORMING

Similar to rehosting but includes adjustments to optimize the environment for the cloud.

3. RE-PURCHASING

Switching tools and platforms to cloud-native products like SaaS applications. This is the ideal solution for organizations that have multiple legacy applications.

 

4. RE-FACTORING

Requires that organizations rebuild all their applications and systems from scratch. Obviously, this option is not only the most expen sive but could also take the longest. It does, however, provide the most futureproofing.

WHAT DOES A CLOUD MIGRATION COST?

As is the case with predicting how long a cloud migration will take, what a cloud migration will cost will also depend on several factors. The first thing to consider is, although there’s no substantial upfront investment as with on-site infrastructure, there will be some setup costs. Many cloud vendors operate on a pay-as-you-use model or subscription service, but with many others, it would be necessary to buy licenses.

Another factor that influences cloud migration costs is the ongoing maintenance costs.

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Here, it’s important to remember that not only the infrastructure provider charges a monthly fee but also all the other tools an organization uses. This could, for instance, include CRMs, marketing tools, sales platforms, analytics tools, storage and databases, and more.

Finally, the costs of performing the migration also factor into any costs calculation. This, for example, includes the costs of data transfer, the costs of creating the infrastructure, and in almost all cases will include a human capital component. Depending on the specific organization’s needs and requirements this could include hiring cloud architects, developers, or DevOps teams.

Conclusion

When your organization is considering migrating to the cloud, there are several things you need to consider and factors that you need to take into account. To do this, and, in other words, build the case for migrating to the cloud, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself.

Hopefully, this post looked at and answered these questions in more detail so your choice is simpler. To find out more about migrating to the cloud and how it can make your organization more efficient, visit our website or contact us for more details.

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