The imperative role of strategy in cloud migration and app modernization

By | 3 minute read | January 7, 2020

Migration to the cloud is more than a technical exercise. This is among IDC’s key observations from a global survey of IT decision makers about their application and data center initiatives and their plans for cloud hosting over the next five years. A successful cloud migration also involves a business transformation, both organizationally and culturally.

While cloud adoption has progressed, many organizations have begun migrating to cloud-based services without an effective strategy for managing their application environments. Recent statistics show that a vast majority (94%) of enterprises continue to use traditional dedicated servers on-site, along with a mix of public and private clouds for application hosting.  Hybrid, multicloud deployments are indeed a reality for many organizations. This means increased complexities and risks for application integration and interoperability.

Your organization is likely clamoring to make that trek to the cloud, moving away from on-premises data centers and evolving to a cloud-based environment to reduce costs and gain operational efficiencies. A cloud model brings increased agility and accelerates the speed at which you can innovate and respond to ever-changing business needs. By improving the availability of your applications and reducing application outages, you’ll be able to provide better user and customer experiences and can flexibly and more rapidly take advantage of new business opportunities as these emerge.

Modernizing your application environment to the cloud will give you the best chance to maintain a competitive edge in today’s fast-moving marketplace.

Yet, IDC warns: Beware the pitfalls!

Organizations can easily fall prey to some unforeseen difficulties during the hybrid multicloud migration process. First, migrating applications from on-premises hosting environments to cloud environments can compromise existing application integrations. Failing to understand the level of complexity and the dependencies among interconnected and disparate applications can undermine your cloud migration objectives and cause major disruption to your business.

Perhaps even more important, however, is to realize that approaching cloud migration and modernization is not simply an IT exercise that involves technical tasks. A cultural transformation is also imperative. Organizational roles, business processes and IT skills must evolve and advance for your cloud migration and application modernization to be a success.

So, how can you, as a CIO, CTO or the Leader of Enterprise Applications, best guide your organization on its cloud migration journey? How can you recognize and address potential challenges and difficulties, properly transform your organization, and ultimately ensure that your cloud migration and application modernization will achieve your business goals?

IDC identifies several pillars or directives to ensure a successful migration to the cloud.

  • Define your desired business outcomes. How will your migration and modernization efforts improve your business? These efforts will help IT increase flexibility and speed, but what does this mean in terms of business value. How will this technical transformation enhance your sales, improve customer service and satisfaction, and speed up business productivity?
  • Find the right partner. Select a third-party application modernization provider with the right skills and expertise in cloud migration. Be sure to evaluate the partner’s capabilities, experience and cultural fit, along with the scalability, security and thought leadership the partner brings to the table. Can the partner provide an appropriate and high-quality team for the project?
  • Leverage automation tools. Automation will speed up simple and repetitive migration processes and lessen the likelihood of error in more complex processes. Once you begin hosting your applications in the cloud, you can easily roll out new software more frequently. This means rapid integration and quality testing. Automation tools will help to generate the agility, performance and results you are looking for.
  • Address organizational and cultural changes. Cloud migration and application modernization requires significant coordination across various IT disciplines. Creating interdisciplinary squads or teams across infrastructure, applications, and database personnel will help reduce risks and speed up the time to recover from any mistakes or setbacks. Top management support is critical, along with designing effective governance structures and processes to control and guide the entire transformation process.

Taking an End-to-end Approach

Clients report impressive time-to-value results from employing IBM’s tools, techniques and services personnel, speeding up their cloud migration and application modernization initiatives by as much as 25%.

The digital transformation is here. Moving to cloud-based services is inevitable. Organizations with legacy IT and multicloud environments face challenges. The right application transformation partner is key to managing your enterprise cloud migration and application modernization effort and successfully navigating the transformation process.

Register to download the full IDC report here.

Learn more about IBM's approach to application modernization.

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