Cloud migration: Making the right choices up front stacks the odds in your favour

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IT leaders are looking before they leap

Bring up the topic of cloud migration with a C-Suite executive and you’ll usually get a positive reaction. Viewed through a business lens, the prospect of cost savings, quicker time to market, and transparent consumption models are all compelling benefits.

Have the same discussion with an IT leader, however, and you’re apt to receive a more measured response.

IT leaders have read the analyst reports, watched the presentations and reviewed the proof points, yet some are not completely convinced. Many have spent years building their critical business applications, and believe, rightly so, that their environments and application requirements are unique.

Complexity is their number one concern. Will the cloud-based application be as flexible as their current version, or will it be a standard package? Will they lose the ability to customize? How long will it take to migrate, and what are the risks?

The benefits of cloud migration are simply too great to ignore.

These concerns are valid, and justified — IT leaders are wise to exercise prudence. That said, the same leaders recognize the need to move ahead. The benefits of cloud migration are simply too great to ignore. How then, do they proceed with appropriate caution?

Choosing the right starting point

Any plan to migrate workloads to the cloud should prioritize applications that represent the greatest reward and the least risk.

Applications that can be re-platformed are attractive targets. Establishing a proof of concept by moving a portion of an application from an on-prem platform to the same cloud-based platform minimizes technology hurdles and allows the team to work with familiar tools and application interfaces.

This is a common theme when moving beyond proof of concepts to migrating applications in earnest. While there are many viable cloud services provider options in the market, paying attention to key factors could make your journey less painful. For example, if you’re running Oracle on-prem today, then moving applications to the Oracle cloud provides 100% compatibility with your on-prem apps, familiar tools with enhanced features, and minimizes the learning curve for your IT team.

Non-critical applications represent the least risk and should always be migrated first. Email, Sharepoint, and the Office Suite are great examples of applications that are used across the organization, are easy to move to the cloud, and can absorb some downtime if unexpected challenges are encountered during the migration. Specialized but non-critical applications such as development test environments are also likely candidates to move to cloud in initial phases.

While applications suitability is a key consideration when preparing for cloud migration, there are other major factors that must be considered. What is the IT team’s current level of technical expertise? What tools will be required? Where are your data centers located? And perhaps the most important — what expertise and resources does your cloud service provider bring to the table?

Sometimes the safest and most efficient way forward is to find a cloud migration partner that has deep experience and knows where the common pitfalls are.

Picking your cloud migration partner

The most critical factor in choosing a migration partner may be evaluating their most recent projects — do they have experience migrating similar applications to the specific cloud platform you’ll be using?

While the partner’s track record and reputation are important, you’ll want to get up close and personal and meet the technical and functional leads who will be heading your project.

While many partners will tout their vertical expertise, it doesn’t always weigh heavily in the partner decision. If the application migration is a ‘lift and shift’, then limited vertical expertise is required. If the application will be undergoing a more complex transformation, however, vertical experience becomes critical.

Finally, a global market presence allows a partner to bring other advantages to the table — broader experience with a wider range of applications, a deeper technical bench, and more resources should they be required.

Disrupt or be disrupted

Cloud migration is now in mainstream adoption, and companies are viewing it as a means to create competitive advantage. While the cost benefits can be dramatic, the ability to streamline IT infrastructure management and reallocate resources is equally compelling.

IT leaders are wise to protect their mission-critical applications.

From a business perspective, cloud migration and the associated consumption models provide enterprises with much greater flexibility as they enter new markets and transform through mergers and acquisitions. Companies with applications tied to legacy premises models will simply not be able to keep pace.

IT leaders are wise to protect their mission-critical applications. They need to balance that caution with action, however, and with careful planning, application prioritization and partner selection, begin an orderly migration to the cloud.


Ravi Chalpe is serving as an Oracle Practice Advisory Leader at DXC Technology. He is currently responsible for developing Oracle Cloud services offerings around Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Platform services. For the past 16 years with ES and DXC, he served many roles as Practice leader and supported many complex projects and initiatives. Prior to joining DXC, Ravi worked at Sun Microsystems and Bechtel Corporation as Technology Architect and Team Leader in support of Oracle Technology and ERP Applications. Ravi spent eight years with Wipro InfoTech and Tata Elxsi Ltd., India in various roles from Software Engineer to Regional Manager.

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