Be “Digitally Ready” for Digital Transformation

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human hand touching and illuminating digital strategy touchpoints

Companies are racing towards digital transformation. Digital transformation empowers a company to better scale operations, better match revenues and expenses, access technology’s latest features and security protections, and more. 

Companies must evaluate their current “digital readiness” to understand if they are able to embark on a digital transformation journey. Successful cloud execution is an element of “digital readiness.” And a precursor of digital transformation is to move to the cloud. And as the Nike slogan says, “Just do it,” doesn’t work in cloud migration.

Cloud migration sounds simple but is fraught with perils. It needs to be done comprehensively and carefully. A critical step is to determine the best cloud platform provider(s) for its unique circumstances. A company must plan to move its operations to the cloud as soon as possible, but not precipitously, to realize expected benefits.

Simply giving the chosen cloud provider(s) the go-ahead will likely fail in some regard. The onus is on the enterprise to ensure a cloud migration actually works and does not become an expensive new problem. While companies want to accelerate to the cloud to fast-track digital transformation, any number of elements can delay the migration to the cloud. The top four are:

Inability to do smart portfolio rationalization

Too often, organizations are stymied by “paralysis analysis.” They have many fluid parts in their IT infrastructure, including different technology, different application owners, and a lack of documentation and a subject matter expert.

A comprehensive portfolio rationalization exercise will model several likely outcomes and approaches, ranging from simple rehost (lift and shift), to re-platform (lift, tinker & shift), to refactor/rearchitect, and retire, rewrite, retain, or repurchase. 

Additionally, despite the potential benefits of moving to the cloud, it’s a mistake to migrate just for the sake of doing so. Organizations need a smart cloud transformation plan that ties back to their business agility, EBITDA, and total cost of operation reduction goals. Developing such a comprehensive plan can take some time and, therefore, delay the migration.

Some executives fail to understand the value of the cloud

While the cloud migration might have received the proper executive approval, the C-suite and other executives may not be on board. These executives may not be quick as they could be in facilitating the migration. 

Most organizations start their migrations with an effortless “lift and shift” strategy of moving an application and its associated data to the cloud platform without redesigning the app, providing some upfront benefits by reducing data center costs. A “lift and shift” strategy doesn’t provide any business agility (DevOps), nor does it provide any major reduction in the total cost of ownership. In a lift and shift migration, there is no change in the enterprise license agreements. Additionally, using such a strategy doesn’t enable an enterprise to take full advantage of native-cloud features. So while this initially seems like an intelligent strategy, the reality is that this migration path can be costly – ending up in repatriation back to on-prem. It is the ultimate round trip of wasted time and cost.

The legacy problem

If a company doesn’t have a subject matter expert familiar with legacy workloads, documentation can take a long time to modernize for a cloud format. Organizations faced with this situation should consider a minimum viable refactoring approach to keep the cloud momentum going and minimize the migration time. And we have found that organizations, such as decades-old financial institutions, are likely to have legacy workloads, and the IT experts that implemented and managed them have retired from the business.

Governance and other challenges

Many companies, particularly small and mid-sized enterprises, find a preferred cloud provider, sign an agreement, and then realize they haven’t established proper governance around the cloud program. Proper governance includes an established set of rules and policies to manage risk, enhance data security and enable smooth operation of technologies once they migrate to the cloud. Improper governance can lead to a plethora of issues, including duplication of effort within the organization, poor alignment between cloud systems and business goals, and poor integration of cloud systems.

Migrating your operations to the cloud is certainly a good idea. But for the migration to move as smoothly and as quickly as possible, consider if you have addressed the above items. By doing so, you can ensure that your migration moves along much more quickly so your business can migrate and start receiving the benefits of the cloud without any unexpected delays.

Once a cloud journey is completed, you will have taken a critical step in being “digitally ready” for digital transformation.

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