Thought leadership article
Move to the cloud or how to successfully transition to the cloud?
There is no single road to the cloud. Depending on the existing situation and the expectations of companies, different paths are possible to get the best out of the cloud from a technical, economic and functional standpoint.
Here are some explanations by Emeric Deblicker, Business Excellence Director at VISEO.
In 2021, the relevance of going to the cloud is no longer up for debate. The health crisis has once again reminded us of the importance for businesses to become both more flexible and resilient. During the initial stage of the pandemic, they had to implement new processes and, for some, completely reinvent their business model. Only the cloud can help make these swift changes possible.
Beyond the technical and business challenges, organizations have understood the benefits, in a crisis context, of subscribing to plans and paying for services on a per-use basis rather than making major investments in assets that are challenging to amortize over time.
If migrating to the cloud is no longer a question, there are as many ways to get there as there are companies. A "move to the cloud" strategy must take into account a large number of functional and organizational specificities. The term "move to the cloud" itself covers a number of different projects, some of which are IT-related - infrastructure migration - and others business-related - application migration.
"Lift and shift" or cloud-native solution ?
The cloud does not magically erase the existing systems of companies. Over the years, some companies have capitalized on their ERP system by investing heavily in customization and specific developments. When the latter gives overall satisfaction from a usage and maintainability point of view, the interest in changing to a cloud version is greatly reduced. However, the interest may lie in migrating the infrastructure underlying the ERP to the cloud. This is the "lift and shift" technique, which consists of taking the on-premise application and migrating it as is to a cloud environment. With this infrastructure shift, the company can gain agility, security, scalability and optimize its costs. The benefits are technical and/or economic but not functional.
Second scenario: the ERP is difficult and expensive to maintain, its complex processes no longer offer the necessary agility and the question of moving to its cloud version arises. A preliminary scoping phase will allow to evaluate the benefits of such a migration. Indeed, a cloud solution rarely matches exactly the organization's expectations. Unlike a highly customizable on-premise solution, it offers far fewer opportunities for adaptation and provides a standard base into which it must be possible to mould.
This functional analysis measures the gaps between the processes in place in the on-premise ERP, the real needs of the organization and what the cloud version can provide. This qualification study requires a good understanding of the company's business, but also an in-depth knowledge of the cloud ERP solution being considered in order to see what room for maneuver in terms of customization is possible and at what cost.
The DSC (Digital Service Company) that supports the company must also be aware of the functional evolutions considered by the editor in its R&D roadmap. This monitoring work does not stop at the analysis or deployment phase. By choosing the cloud, a company has certainly chosen a standardized solution, but also one that is scalable. It will have to change versions periodically. This places it in a continuous change process.
A redefinition of roles
Overall, the "move to the cloud" redefines the roles of the market players. The vendor has a more active role in the life cycle of a solution. Prior to this, they delivered the solution and provided support. Today, they offer ongoing services, with quality commitments (SLAs).
The DSC also plays a different role. While the parameterization and specific development component is decreasing, it is involved in qualifying the project, demonstrating the benefits of standard processes, ensuring data recovery, and supervising change management. The service company also places itself in a cycle of monitoring and continuous innovation. It is no longer a matter of providing support and third-party application maintenance services alone, but of supporting the company in version upgrades and in the adoption of new features introduced by software updates.
This change of model introduces new skills in DSC. For example, the customer success manager ensures that the solution is used properly and that users are familiar with the new features. The FinOps expert will optimize the consumption of cloud resources.
In the company, the cloud is also disrupting the business organization. The use of the cloud is leading businesses to question their practices, to review their processes in order to simplify or optimize them. Freed from a certain number of system and server administration tasks, the IT department will devote more time to managing supplier contracts, integrating the various cloud services, data security and technological innovation