Tuesday, 20th October 2020

Why businesses need to transform applications at their core when migrating to the cloud

By Ian Moyse, EMEA Director, Natterbox.

The truth is that many businesses have been too slow to migrate their core and business critical applications to the cloud. As a result, companies still working from legacy technology have had the flaws and inefficiencies of their systems highlighted by the pandemic. Ultimately, organisations weren’t as flexible or as ready as many had hoped. But scientists are predicting this might not be a one-off incident, so we can expect that COVID-19 will be a catalyst for digital disruption. There will also be an increased acceptance of the need for a change to newer cloud-based platforms and technologies that are underpinned by a new breed of work processes. So, whilst this was already predicted to be the decade of cloud, with 40% of large UK businesses expecting to be cloud-only by 2021, COVID-19 is only going to accelerate this further.

The problem is that even of those businesses that had begun their journey to the cloud, many have been put off by the challenge of migrating properly. Simply going halfway and only transposing their systems from one environment to another, but not transforming the application at its core.

But if businesses want to be prepared for the next crisis, and what’s more, if they want to be a true player in their industry, they need a business transformation that encompasses cloud and new approaches as much as possible.

Future-proofing the business

Cloud underpins almost all of the core, transformational technologies that we use on a daily basis, both at work and at home, whether it’s our mobile phones or our virtual reality headsets. In the coming months and years, we can expect artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to play an even more significant role in our everyday lives. Although their use cases will often be transparent to us, most if not all, will have cloud hidden away in the background as the underlying powerhouse.

Cloud has certainly been the instigator of digital transformation. From a business perspective, it has enabled companies to re-platform existing apps and shift to competing SaaS offerings. This instigator has driven businesses to deliver user mobility and anytime use of applications and enabled the modern workforce. As a result, organisations that were already cloud-native have largely been able to maintain business as usual throughout the pandemic, capable of adapting to new remote working structures and responding to other unexpected market changes in real-time. But businesses that have still been tied to legacy systems and physical equipment have not found it quite so simple to make the transition away from the office and support their new remote workforce.

But not only do organisations still working from legacy systems need to prepare themselves for future crises, they also need to future-proof the business to remain competitive alongside other players in their industry. For that, they need the latest technology and the best talent. However, millennials and Gen Z’s will not put up with archaic systems and approaches for much longer in their career path, with research finding that 80% of Gen-Z aspire to work with cutting-edge technology.

The need to go beyond the halfway point of cloud migration

Although the pandemic has acted as a catalyst, urging businesses not already in the cloud to take action, organisations shouldn’t rush into the migration without taking careful consideration.

Migrating to the cloud should be a transformational process. But one of the biggest blockers to this transformation has been legacy apps, with architectures not easily lending themselves to an efficient cloud model. As a result, these often become hosted versions of their old selves as a half-way house to remove the localised overheads of infrastructure management.

But migrating to the cloud in this way is transposition, not transformation. Meanwhile businesses are not reaping all the true benefits of the cloud.

Transformation is no doubt a challenging, lengthy, and sometimes costly process. It can mean entirely rewriting apps from legacy systems, which can be painful and expensive for businesses. But the pandemic has led many business leaders to the realisation that the value of true transformation outweighs the challenges and costs that come with it. Businesses simply cannot live with legacy anymore.

Next time businesses are required to move to remote working structures on mass, they need to be prepared. Now is the time for cloud transformation.

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