Thursday, 24th June 2021

Driving digital transformation through disruption

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the biggest business disruptors in history. Every company, in some variation needed to rapidly adapt their operations. Many organisations were forced to shift entire workforces to remote working models, which sizeable companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google have now adopted permanently. By Grant Duxbury, Director, Pre-Sales Engineering, Aptum Technologies.

With the sudden jump into the deep end of digitisation, some companies faced a wake-up call – how do we make this shift? Worse yet, would it be possible?

The race to cloud migration in 2020 proved to be a steep learning curve for many companies. In fact, as identified in Aptum’s global survey, nearly all IT professionals surveyed (99%) believe cloud services are essential to their organisation’s success, but performance concerns remain an evident obstacle to realising these benefits.

Scale, Elasticity and Digitalisation

In the early days of COVID-19, cloud computing was essential for three main reasons: scale, elasticity, and digitisation. As businesses began to stabilise after the initial disruption from the pandemic, one thing became overtly apparent – a company’s velocity, its ability to do business and the deployment of new IT structures were slowed down if not using the cloud. Those who could not adapt during this time faced further disruption, including supply chain interferences or on-premise staffing and resource shortages.

The ability to scale an organisation’s environment up and down – on demand – became critical. There is a vast difference in elasticity needs across industries based on the level of impact caused by the pandemic, but it became an obvious success factor for all. The overdue need for digitisation became essential as organisations experienced trial by fire when quickly entering digital transformation. This exposed the best approach for successful cloud migration – identifying a strategy.

Common Driver

The realisation of cloud migration success was tricky for many companies, despite their ambition to achieve it. For example, Aptum’s study found that 72% of respondents name increasing efficiencies as one of the main drivers behind cloud adoption. Yet only 33% report complete success at increasing efficiency in the cloud. The divide between expectations and full success has a root cause – a flawed strategy born out of insufficient discovery and unrealistic expectations.

Adopting a strategic approach through education, understanding, planning and prioritisation allows businesses to have a clear viewpoint of the goal and map a successful transformation migration strategy.

Key Understandings

The Aptum study suggests that as cloud environments become hybridised, organisations will need more support due to increased complexity. Often this is a result of companies attempting to move to cloud environments too quickly, and without the right understanding. Cloud is not a one size fits all – it requires an approach that considers core business cases and assesses business objectives.

The study also states 71% of respondents experience negative effects due to the rate of cloud transformation; IT expenditures is the leading cause at 33%. Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can alleviate the time and expertise spent on establishing a mature cloud operations model, leaving organisations to focus on cloud application’s business value.

Identifying the Economics

Part of adopting a strategic approach is understanding the economics and performance outcomes a business hopes to achieve. Questions like, “how much will it cost to host data in a given cloud platform if there is a sudden surge?” or “how much will it cost to move and secure the data?” are crucial to developing a full understanding of the end goal.

Another key component is the ROI defined for apps migrated to the cloud. Would it be worth migrating a legacy app to the cloud or adopting a hybrid approach until its shelf life has expired? This ROI is differently defined for apps hoping to be implemented and is beneficial to identify ahead of time.

Accelerating Cloud Transformation

As mentioned previously, organisations must define business objectives and identify realistic outcomes. The survey defines very distinct conclusions – companies had a higher expectation than what was executed. Those who initially rushed into the cloud journey experienced a blunt realisation of what they could or could not achieve, given their current infrastructure.

Another key learning from the survey is that organisations should identify what skills they have in-house first, and determine where they need to seek support from an MSP for a successful transition. An MSPs purpose is to recognise and deploy a comprehensive assessment to guide a company toward a faster and more holistic cloud journey.

Understanding the performance metrics prior to migration, and identifying a proper baseline during the assessment allows for a fair comparison of the performance realised after implementation.

Finding Success

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it is that organisations cannot predict what is to come, but they can prepare and futureproof for future crises. Therefore, companies must now distinguish what agility means to them and how important it is to integrate it into their data

infrastructure and business model. Companies must also consider the distinction between goals and expectations as well as the reality behind achieving them.

To achieve successful digital transformation, creating a strategic approach is key. Executing a well thought out strategy that exposes pain points, considers internal expertise, business objectives, and whether outside support is needed are a few of the pivotal elements necessary for accomplishing a successful cloud migration.

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