Four themes enabling the great cloud migration of the 2020s

Sean Xu, Vice President, Data and Digital Engineering, MGM Resorts International

Since 2020, organizations have accelerated their cloud migration efforts to enable digital transformation. While the benefits of cloud migration such as an agile infrastructure and cost savings are obvious and alluring, the journey to a successful migration is often full of challenges and requires a strong commitment. These challenges, from a misalignment of business objectives to the Skyrocketing cost to meeting compliance and regulatory mandates, pose significant risks capable of derailing an organization’s’ strategic goals. However, there are common themes to learn from organizations that have successfully migrated their platforms to the cloud; here are four things you can do to better position your organization’s next great cloud transformation.

Executive buy-in and support

Although it can often occur behind the scenes, cloud migration can often bring upon profound changes to company functions and culture. Business processes and process flows are rationalized, streamlined, and greatly automated. An Organization’s product design, customer interactions, and cross department collaborations will need to be adjusted, and employees will need to adapt to new The IT department will need to adjust its organization structure and operating model to manage IT services, applications, infrastructure and data for a better service provider to business partners.

With such significant change to how a business operates, executive buy-in is a must-have for cloud migration. A successful migration is often led by executives who understand the benefits of future growth and agility but also acknowledge the potential challenges and risks that are part of the transition As delays, rising costs, and organization structure changes arise, senior leaders’ commitment to a successful migration is integral to bridge any conflicts among departments and ultimately drive the migration to completion.

Holistic cloud migration strategy

Today, many organizations’ business operations consist of various business process flows, supported by a mix of legacy applications and in-house technologies that organizations have acquired and built in the past decades. With complex technological blueprints, when organizations seek to migrate to the cloud, there must be an overarching strategy that identifies cloud providers, how data will be managed, and how the organization’s applications will function in a new landscape.

An effective cloud migration strategy would also clarify the key migration functions/priorities and any related dependencies. It should also include a data platform modernization plan and key data capability migration/implementation options and plan.

With the cloud migration strategy, organizations can leverage it to identify and execute the most aligned transition from on-prem to cloud, lower the cost, minimize the disruption.

Cloud cost management

While the benefits of better business scalability and agility through cloud migration are obviously appealing, poor management of the skyrocketing costs to migrate and maintain the cloud can erode the added value to organizations..

To maximize the cloud benefits and ensure the benefits of migration is not mitigated by budget mismanagement, organizations should have a cost management system to ensure any realized expenses are aligned with the initial budget or expectation.

As a starter, cloud cost management generally includes the strategies to optimize and rationalize cloud cost during the migration journey and clear KPIs to understand the cost. Furthermore, organizations should negotiate with cloud service providers to clearly understand the pricing and discounts before the start of migration. As organizations migrate more workloads in the cloud, they can group their workloads based on the cloud service and adopt different service discounts (for example, DBMS or Virtual Machine could save anywhere from 15% to 65% off.

The cost management can help organization clearly understand the costs involved in cloud migration, avoiding unanticipated surprises and subsequent fact-finding exercises that frequently derail cloud migration initiatives.

Rationalized legacy system migration approach

Although legacy systems have a reputation of being old, inefficient, and deployed on outdated infrastructure, they undoubtedly still are significant to business and are a backbone of many enterprises. Thus, modernizing legacy systems becomes a key pillar of overall cloud migration as they are generally hold the key to organizations’ effort to create modern experiences for their customers and partners.

Legacy systems usually fall short in meeting ideal business needs of fitness, value, and agility. A legacy system migration approach provides guidance on how to evaluate the legacy systems in addition to mapping the legacy systems to the mitigation choices of “Replacing, Rebuilding and Re-architecting”. It will also outline these choices based on cost, risk, and business fitness which would ultimately, help identify the best option(minimum effort and maximum positive impact) map to legacy system workload within the organization.

Cloud migration is a journey that is full of business process and technology challenges. As Cloud is essential to your business strategy, these four approaches can help better manage and structure migration initiative, avoid common pitfalls, and increase your probability of a successful migration through every step of your migration journey.


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