What is Cloud Transformation?
Cloud transformation is the process of moving your business applications, data and IT infrastructure from traditional on-site servers to the cloud. It unlocks a range of benefits and can improve your business operations, profitability and resilience. Through cloud transformation it’s easier to stay agile and competitive, enabling scalable business growth.
Why is Cloud Transformation Important?
Cloud computing practices are important to keep up with today’s fast-paced, increasingly digital market. Those who don’t leverage the power of the cloud will find themselves behind more agile competitors. By taking advantage of digital technology services such as cloud transformation, you can introduce new business efficiencies, innovate faster and develop new tech-powered services for your customers.
Cloud migration means only moving certain data, services or assets to the cloud. It doesn’t affect your legacy infrastructure, which remains on-premise. The two terms are separate, but are interconnected. Every cloud transformation will involve cloud migration.
Types of Cloud Transformation
Cloud transformation can take three forms: private, public or hybrid. The choice you make will depend on cost, security and scalability concerns.
Private Cloud Transformation
Private cloud transformation involves moving data and applications to a private cloud. This can give you greater control over how the cloud is configured and the data held on it. Private clouds also offer greater security, as you don’t have to share the infrastructure with other users. They do however bring greater responsibility in maintaining the infrastructure yourself.
Public Cloud Transformation
Moving data and software to a public cloud means using infrastructure that’s already in place, so you can get set up quickly and easily. Public clouds are cheaper than private clouds, and operate on pay-as-you-go models without requiring the capital investment needed to purchase hosting infrastructure (like you would with a private cloud). Public clouds are great for scaling up or down, as they offer virtually unlimited infrastructure capacity.
Hybrid Cloud Transformation
Hybrid cloud transformation is the combination of your existing on-premise infrastructure with private and public cloud services. You have more control over sensitive data and applications as these can be hosted on a private cloud or on-premise. At the same time, you get the scalability and affordability of the public cloud. It’s the best of both worlds.
Cloud Transformation Benefits
Cloud transformation brings many business benefits:
Improved Data Security
Data security is a common concern when moving to the cloud. However, cloud storage is protected through encryption and additional layers of security that make unauthorized access difficult. You also get the benefit of automated cloud backups, which ensures your data is protected from loss.
The availability of pay-as-you-go packages and a done-for-you model makes the cloud more cost-efficient than installing and maintaining local infrastructure.
Near-instant scalability makes the cloud a logical choice if you’re launching new products or services. Resources can be expanded on demand to match changing business needs.
Cloud Transformation Challenges
There are several challenges you should consider when moving your business to the cloud:
Shortage of Skills
If you need custom digital software and products, you’ll require software engineers and cloud architects. The number of skilled workers needed for cloud transformation engineering doesn’t match the current demand so you may struggle to find the skills your business needs.
If you’re reliant on legacy apps, you may find they don’t play nice in a cloud environment. This may delay your move to the cloud. Those legacy apps may need to be redesigned for use in your new cloud environment. This means more legwork and a greater cost to get started.
Migrating business data, software and applications to the cloud, or from one cloud to another, can cause bandwidth issues. Without proper network consideration, bottlenecks can form easily, leading to delays and other issues. More bandwidth can be expensive, especially if you’re not expecting the bill.
Effective Cloud Transformation Strategy
It is important to have a clear strategy when considering cloud transformation. Each company has different requirements and goals, so figuring out how best to meet those is key. The following cloud transformation best practices will help you get the best results:
Build a Business Case
With any change or investment, it’s important to understand why you are undertaking it, what the benefits are and how this will help meet your overall business goals. Putting together a strong business case maps out exactly what you are looking to gain from cloud transformation and can help finance departments see the ROI.
Choose a Multi-Cloud Provider
Many organizations follow a multi-cloud strategy. This means spreading public cloud usage across several different infrastructure vendors. Choosing a multi-cloud provider lets you unify operations so you can ensure consistency and scalability across the board, in any cloud.
Ensure a Cloud-Enabled Network
Cloud-enabled networks form a great starting point for further innovation in the cloud. Cloud-enabled networks are more resilient and responsive than traditional networks, which is key for evolving technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and the metaverse.
Train Employees Effectively
As with all new technology, the importance of training employees effectively cannot be understated. This is key to unlocking the full benefits of cloud transformation. As workloads move to the cloud, different skills are needed. These include skill sets around intelligent process automation, cloud architecture and resource optimization. Existing employees will need additional training. And, in some cases, new talent will be required.
Foster a Culture of Communication
As with training employees, it’s also important to ensure a strong communication culture among your team. Workers will be interacting with your new cloud infrastructure daily, so it’s important to listen to their feedback and make sure they have the right channels to give it.
The Future of Cloud Transformation
Cloud transformation offers a host of benefits and is quickly becoming the standard for business operations. More companies are moving to the cloud, especially those undergoing digital transformation to meet their efficiency and scalability goals. The cloud also makes adopting other innovative technologies easier. This means cloud transformation can be an important stepping stone for businesses investing in new technology.