By Samit Banerjee, Division President, Amdocs
As the world evolves to deal with the changes fraught by the COVID-19 pandemic, the existing business operating models –from supply chains to distribution –are being redesigned to attain new levels of resilience, agility, productivity, and secure end-user reach.
Underpinning this transition is cloud technology, that has become the key enabler in reshaping the business ecosystem.This is even more so in the recent years as it has evolved rapidly, becoming more reliable, scalable, and flexible over the past few years.
While cloud-based solutions were already in play, pandemic-induced acceleration in adoption has brought over the fence sitters and the slow adopters. In fact, Forrester Research expects the global cloud computing market size to grow from USD 371.4 billion in 2020 to USD 832.1 billion by 2025, with the global public cloud infrastructure market estimated to grow by 35% to USD 120 billion in 2021.
Migrating critical services from on-premises and collocated hardware to cloud enables organizations to manage their IT infrastructure remotely without having to deal with the challenges of security, hardware procurement, and software updates. These issues are common when enterprises operate from their own data centers.
Amdocs’ 2020 Cloud Migration Trends Report offers a deep understanding of how enterprises have adjusted their cloud migration plans and investments in response to the pandemic’s impact on their businesses. It shows that 73% of India’s IT leaders plan to make a significant increase in their 2021 cloud budgets to make remote working easier, and potentially, permanent. Additionally, the report shared that accelerated cloud migration plans have enterprises focused on solving security (60%) and data (64%+) challenges.
Let’s take a look at the three vital reasons that are driving the migration to cloud:
I.Reduction in costs: By moving to the cloud, organizations can reduce operational costs while improving their IT processes. This includes rationalization across costs linked to logistics, facilities, procurements, as well as other issues cropping up due to unprecedented crisis situations, such as the ongoing pandemic. Moreover, one pays for what one uses on the cloud, thus doing away with the need to maintain costly datacenters, with the critical information hosted in the cloud space.
II.Logistics and procurement issues are easily dealt with:Maintaining on-premise datacenters requires constant maintenance of the latest software and the hardware it resides on, including compatibility and upgrade requirements. Forward planning for operating and maintaining on-premise data centers, including procurement of various physical computing components are done away with on the cloud.
III. Industries’ IT apps and software turning Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) oriented: Today, the type of IT apps and software being used by many of the industries are turning service-oriented. As a result, companies are investing in that part of the software they want –factored by the ease of use on the cloud – instead of buying a complete application software. For instance, invoicing, sales, and GST creation are some of the apps that can be easily operated in the cloud environment. Case in point, MS Office software can be easily operated from anywhere, anytime by simply logging in with one’s username and password without worrying about which server the software resides in or when to upgrade the user owned application.
Towards seamless cloud migration
While businesses are keen to move to the cloud, most of them have their data sets in their own data centers and a majority of their existing IT apps and software are legacy-oriented. These,often outdated apps,are not built or structured to work in the cloud.
To address this concern, many cloud service providers are formulating frameworks or plans, offering their customers various options to ensure a smooth transition to cloud. These could vary from enterprises not transforming their software and becoming cloud native before the transition to shifting in bits and pieces.
Here is a simple cloud migration framework that can aid customers in formulating their cloud migration plans in a systematic manner.
I.Lift and shift: Here, an organization can transition its entire legacy software from its data center into the cloud. This reduces the various concerns of the IT team to a large extent, including choosing which software or app to be transformed and how before the cloud migration and whether the updated software will integrate in cloud effectively or not.
II. Optimizing cloud:Once an organization’s entire legacy software has moved to cloud, it is essential to make cloud usage optimal and cost effective. Most of the legacy apps take a lot of computing resources and therefore need to be replaced to a version that is cloud-oriented, thus enabling reduction in cloud consumption. Cloud service providers offer services to update or transform these apps in bits and pieces, helping the businesses to not just maintain costs, but also have the flexibility of scaling up or down, based on their requirements.
III. Effectively operating in cloud: One of the most fundamental elements of effectively working in cloud space is FinOps, that is, managing the financing elements of cloud consumption. This entails ensuring that the customer is using optimum level of cloud at any given point of time. For instance, during the holiday season, such as Diwali or Christmas, the company can scale up the cloud usage by augmenting requisite resources from cloud and then releasing them when the peak is over. This is applicable even on a daily, weekly basis.There are apps such as Amdocs’ Cloud FinOps –a real-time dashboardthat provides information regarding the peaks and lows of cloud consumption, allowing finances tobe controlled accordingly.
IV. Upskilling/reskilling talent for cloud: With the fast adoption to cloud, upskilling and reskilling the organizational workforce to become cloud specialists is an imperative. Organizations need to lay down well-planned strategies that offer a clear path to enhance and develop their employees’ skillsets, whether it is to build cloud native applications, test them in cloud environment, operate them, or maintain them.The Amdocs survey revealed that 69% of Indian enterprises are training employees on cloud-based data and analytics skills and 77% of India-based IT leaders have confirmed that their organizations have plans to constantly re-skill employees on cloud services.
While these four strategies reflect an overall cloud migration action plan that can be adopted by most of the organizations, the CTOs and other decision-makers need to evaluate their first step in this direction, based on their internal workings and the business’ IT requirements.
There is no “one software fits all” cloud journey for organizations looking to migrate. However, the numerous benefits of cloud migration can create a strong foundation for the organization’s agility and resiliency in the long run. With the outcome of a successful cloud migration being enhanced data security, optimized scalability, reduced costs, smarter integrations, and easier access to business-critical functionality, it can be safely said that the cloud is indeed the future.