Kickstarting your cloud journey

Mar 14, 2018
  • finance
  • people
  • SAP
  • Microsoft

You’ve got the buy-in you need and you’re ready to take the first step toward the cloud. What’s next? Luckily, you don’t need to move your business all at once, regardless of whether you choose to move your existing infrastructure to the cloud, or start over from a cloud-first SaaS perspective.

You’ve got options

If you’re taking an SaaS approach to the cloud, there’s good news: most product vendors offer trial periods for free, a simple and risk-free first step. When it does make sense for your company to invest in an SaaS solution, it’s often possible to begin with a pilot project in the form of a smaller entity within your business. You can then use what you’ve learned during this small-scale integration to launch the solution more widely later. This is the entity-based option.

When it comes to moving to the cloud from a hardware or infrastructure point of view, it’s a different story: in this case, it’s impossible to move part of your business to the cloud. However, you can gain experience by running less-critical applications on the cloud, beginning with development and quality environments. This is the application-based option.

What to consider before starting your move

Think carefully about the tradeoffs between staying with your old system vs. implementing a new solution. A ‘keep the lights on’ budget doesn’t need to be justified, as opposed to a project budget. However, the consequence of running a project to replace a traditional application with an SaaS solution will likely entail a lower total cost of ownership, freeing up more time spend on more value-adding activities.

A more disruptive cloud project needs more justification, is more visible, and will need an adjustment period from IT and business perspective. However, although adding applications in small increments and experimenting with your new tech on your own hardware might seem less risky, in the end, these costs add up.

Lessons learned

When moving to an SaaS solution, leave outdated ideas behind. If you are accustomed to highly customized solutions, you’ll have to accept that SaaS solutions are designed to apply to many different situations. Still, SaaS solutions are now much more customizable than previously, and there are platforms-as-a-service that can used alongside SaaS applications to build to specific requirements.

It might help to get over the idea that tailoring or automating are the only ways to gain efficiency. Examine why you need certain requirements and look carefully at the value they add to avoid wasting money recreating and maintaining pointless legacy functions.

One last note: when moving to the cloud, change management is an absolute must.

Author: Folker Lamote. You can follow Folker on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.