Cloud Services

Migrating to the cloud

"Small Business Cloud | 5 Reasons Why You Should Migrate to The Cloud,
If You Haven't Already"

Industry analysts have identified four technology trends that will play a big role in the growth of small firms in the coming year. They are cloud computing, IT services, mobility, and security.

You might not realize or even feel the need to know this – but you are using cloud almost on a daily basis – while updating your LinkedIn or Facebook status, sending a tweet, and also when you check your bank balance on your phone. Business today utilize the services of cloud computing for performing a lot of their regular tasks such as sending mails, using apps to manage and track work, and so on. Cloud is widely adopted and mature now. We are in 2nd decade of cloud wave.

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Enterprises have recognized cloud as a critical enabler of business transformation and innovation and cloud computing is disrupting today’s economic transformation by utilizing big data and mobile productivity. It is a game-changer for businesses that want to grow and improve services but lack capital and the required budget. It constantly challenges the IT landscape of organizations and necessitates adoption of newer cloud-based paradigms.

Cloud migration has thus gained tremendous ground in being a key enabler in transforming business metrics that help forge new partnerships, improve customer engagement, and simplify business processes. With the multitude of cloud migration services available, it has thus become important for businesses to identify a migration partner that would fit seamlessly in their scheme of things such as the best-suited deployment option, the right service model, and the type of workload to be moved. There is thus a tremendous opportunity for businesses to evolve and improve services while optimizing efficiencies by utilizing the benefits of a robust cloud implementation.

Small Businesses that have used cloud assessment and migration framework services have been able to enjoy benefits of reduced time for migration to cloud from 40% to 50%.

Research from the Boston Consulting Group has shown that SMEs adopting cloud-based technology were rewarded with 15% faster revenue growth than those that didn’t. It also found that the businesses grew almost twice as fast in terms of job creation – delivering social and economic benefits to local economies in the region.

That said, per a Microsoft report for National Small Business Week and reported by Talkin' Cloud, while 86% of small businesses understand its importance, 70% are still not using cloud solutions. This means that while small businesses understand the value of cloud computing, they are not sure how to apply the technology on a case-by-case basis.

A great example of the cloud’s impact that can be seen in the public sector is its implementation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health. They have deployed Microsoft Lync which has helped them enjoy productivity gains of up to 30%. In addition, Turkish municipalities also have utilized cloud-based technology to offer 24*7 work capabilities for their employees, which has led to improved transparency and communication with citizens.

General Services Administration (GSA) officials use NASA’s incremental approach to cloud migrations as an example of doing things right. NASA invested only $25,000 towards its first cloud contract. It was only after the IT managers grew confident in the use of cloud technology that it doubled the funding. NASA officials realized that “a massive broker contract was inefficient and instead separated out the roles of consumption metering and billing from consulting or the assistance with integration and delivery,” the GSA spokesman said. “This led to increased transparency in tracking spending and contracting efficiency [because] the cloud accounts and operational services did not have to be transitioned concurrently with support contracts.”

5 Reasons for Migrating to Cloud

  1. Accessibility that saves efforts and provides seamless communication:
    Accessibility of information and data usually cause a lot of time and effort wastage. Migrating to a cloud-based platform lets organizations access cloud-based technology from any device that is connected to the Internet. For example, using cloud storage tools such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive, employees of an organization access the documents saved on their desktops via their mobile devices. Similarly, with a 

    cloud phone system

    , softphone app can be used to make and receive calls on mobile devices in the same way as the office phone: the same office number with all the features available in your phone office.

  2. Collaboration that increases efficiency:
    Migrating to a cloud helps multiple people access the same centralized data, which improves real-time collaboration, thereby resulting in increased efficiency. Being able to save and access the required files via the cloud help employees work together on a master document. In short, migrating to the cloud reduces the confusions and iterations that are usually caused due to multiple versions of a single document. This also enables small-business owners to track and manage individual progress on assignments, as well as have complete control on the access rights of employees to a document. Cloud collaboration tools, such as Google Drive, O365 allow users to upload, edit, and comment on documents.

  3. Cost Savings:
    The biggest benefit of migrating to the cloud that organizations enjoy is the cost savings. Hosting business tools and technology in the cloud reduces the expenses involved in the physical storage and maintenance of the resources such as the hardware, the IT team, servers, etc. Thus, whether organizations plan to utilize the cloud for backup, data storage, disaster recovery, or anything else, they would surely enjoy some cost savings.Virtualization increases the value of physical server hardware and small businesses enjoy savings in terms of reduction in the need for hardware, IT requirements, installation, maintenance, power usage, rack space, upgrade and support costs.

  4. Scalability: 
    Migrating to the cloud enables organizations to scale quickly and easily. For example, to try and store all of the business data on physical servers, organizations would need to buy new servers whenever they need to expand their storage capacities. Cloud storage lets them the flexibility to only buy more cloud resources as and when needed – to top it, these resources can be scaled back when required, thus saving more money.

  5. Comfort of doing away with Support:
    Because the technology doesn’t need to physically be present, even the maintenance and support don’t fall to the IT staff. Instead, it can be simply passed on to the service provider’s technical support.

5 Strategies for Migrating to the Cloud

While leveraging cloud capabilities provides huge benefits to small companies, it is critical to have a proper migration strategy in place while migrating to the cloud. Here are a few strategies:

  1. Understand the technology stack. 
    Today, cloud providers utilize multiple technologies such as Infrastructure, Platform, Software, and as a Service (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, respectively) to offer customized, robust solutions. Usually, the first thought that most IT teams have as they begin their migration journey is to migrate existing virtualized workloads to cloud-based VMs. This forms part of Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS for short. They miss the fact that it might actually be far less complicated and easier (in fact, more efficient), to move common workloads such as web services and databases to a Platform as a Service provider. Even for applications, implementing a SaaS approach helps simplify the process of managing applications. It is advisable to use lower-level technologies wherever you must and higher-level offerings wherever you can.

  2. Prioritize your projects.
    Organizations must first identify low hanging fruits and low-risk, high-reward areas for initial deployments. Only after these initial implementations show desired results, should they think of shifting to a public cloud provider? A few early candidates that may be tested for cloud deployments are applications with lesser dependencies, the development and testing environments, and more, depending on the organization.

  3. Implement the IT best practices by the book.
    A big temptation of cloud-based service offerings is the accessibility to a few high-end features and self-managed infrastructures that may be costly for small businesses. IT businesses today must act very keep UX top of mind when setting up IT processes and policies. Instead of simply dumping (“off-loading”) applications on the cloud, IT professionals must use cloud services to focus on higher-value technology projects. This also helps maintain focus on critical functions such as integrating applications, managing security, and proactive, 360 degree monitoring of applications.

  4. Utilize and expand your current data center.
    To realize cloud benefits, it’s not really necessary to replace the entire data center infrastructure. Cloud service providers can use cloud offerings to extend on premise infrastructure. Spreading applications between local and cloud services helps them to communicate to each other with minimal reconfiguration.

  5. Perform some housekeeping. 
    Established organizations, with their need to take shortcuts and quick decisions over the years usually end up with a lot of "technical debt". Business requirements  are changing  too frequently forcing IT departments to keep pace, which thereby leads to less-than-optimal solutions. This results in proliferation of applications, services, servers, and infrastructure that causes big maintenance overheads. Instead of migrating the existing solutions, it might be better for some organizations to move to cloud-based services to re-structure important services.

Forrester Report Cites CSS Corp’s Cloud Migration Services

In a very recent report by Forrester on “Vendor Landscape: Cloud Migration Services”, Bill Martorelli, Principal analyst at Forrester, writes: “CSS Corp, for example, is attempting to transform cloud migration from a project opportunity to continuous delivery with automated/assisted migration. CloudMAP is CSS Corp’s cloud migration, assessment, and planning methodology.”

CSS Corp has developed a complete suite of solutions to shift from a “program” to “continuous delivery” model for both public and private cloud adoption. The key cloud solutions provided by CSS Corp offers Cloud Assessment & planning, Migration and Management  capabilities.

  • CloudMAP – This solution from CSS Corp’s indigenous Innovation Labs acts as an entry point for clients to access new age capabilities such as automated cloud migration assessment and planning for a specific business process or enterprise workload. It helps reduce the migration planning time by up to 40%.
  • CloudPATH – This industrialized, predictable, and simplified method of migrating enterprise workload through refactoring, re-platforming, and live workload migration helps improve the success rate of migration by 30-60%.

  • CloudDRIVE – This next-gen predictive operations and automation platform for continuous optimization provides operational readiness from day 1, thus saving expenses for the cloud by 20-25%.

Another major point to keep in mind is to ensure data privacy and security in cloud adoption.

CSS Corp has security safeguards (controls & best practices) built into their solutions that cater to multiple combinations of service delivery models (such as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS) and operational models (hybrid, public, and private). 

CSS Corp with its diverse cloud capabilities like Industrialized Cloud migration and Nextgen operations platform is an ideal partner for organizations looking for cloud migration and management capabilities .

 

 

Mushtaq Ahmad

CIO & Global Head CIS Service Transformation at CSS Corp

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