By Will McIntee, UK Lead at QBS Group.
Despite the advantages cloud computing can bring to businesses and the modern workforce, many are yet to make the move from on-premise to cloud services.
Yet cloud adoption continues to accelerate as organisations look to the cloud for performance gains and ways to eliminate the headaches and costs associated with traditional hardware, unable keep up with the explosion of data. There’s also no denying that cloud services suit the flexibility we see today in the workplace. Remote working is a phenomenon that has gripped the business world, and an estimated 83% of enterprises will be in the cloud this year.
Now into 2020, what are the barriers for change, and how can managed service providers (MSPs) help with this transition not on an ad-hoc basis but at scale?
Define your strategy
One of the biggest barriers business see in blocking their way to the cloud is a lack of a coherent plan in making the switch from on-premise.
For successful implementation and adoption, businesses require a complete, end-to-end vision of what it is that’s expected from the migration. You can expect some data and applications more difficult to migrate than others, and you cannot always expect a one-size-fits-all solution in some instances.
First analyse your company’s current structure and plan in detail how and where to integrate so as to not miss out on any gaps.
A lot of the current infrastructure might require only minor adjustments or rebuilding once they are in the cloud. Identify these assets in your strategy and, afterwards, divide your plan into phases to ease your journey into the cloud without disrupting key parts of the business.
Migrating from on-premise
Operating across systems, both on-premise and the cloud, is a significant challenge presented to many partners.
For example, when consider the shift of an on-premise ERP platform such as Dynamics NAV. The customer and partner have to weigh up the options: to either move to a cloud based infrastructure such as Azure (IAAS/PAAS) or migrate to the SAAS version: Dynamics 365 Business Central. Both options will require varying levels of service engagement and may in fact require tooling and/or skillsets that the partner may or may not have the capability and capacity to deliver.
In order to scale “Cloud Shift” within a predominantly on-premise market such as Dynamics NAV, the partner should consider looking to scale with service providers that have made investments to specifically address these technical challenges. For example, IT management service company 1ClickFactory is able to automate the analysis and identification process related to potential issues around cloud migration strategies – helping avoid tedious manual analysis and plan the transition in a more structured way.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
Migration isn’t a one step process, you can’t just chuck all of your applications, systems and services onto the cloud in one go. It will take time to fully migrate from on-premise hosted software.
One of the praised virtues of cloud-based SaaS solutions is the ongoing upgrades undertaken by the provider. Upgrading and updating applications and the software stack beneath them are yesterday’s sorrows, with little or no service interruption to the customer. Systems and application software are upgraded, bugs are fixed in the background and new features are added on the fly and made available next time you log on.
This ability for updates and upgrades to be made by the provider remotely in the background, will shift the way channel partners operate. Focus will be on value-added services as less operational capacity is taken up with providing on-site engineers and manual updating.
Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond
Migrating to the cloud provides a substantial opportunity for those businesses making the switch. Many MSP’s already operate solely on the cloud, but those with substantial on-premise operations need to plan the migration carefully so as to not suffer in any short-term losses.
My prediction is a need for dedicated migration service providers to help support the growing demand for cloud hosting. This will help take the strain away from end-users who have all complications involved with migrations taken off their shoulders, but also for providers who are able to outsource the complex technicalities of migration and focus on developing better business outcomes for their customers.