CFOs Weigh In: 5 Reasons You Should Consider Migrating to the Cloud

By Sam Wood

Cisco recently predicted that more than 80% of all data center traffic will become cloud-based within the next three years. In 2Q17, all major cloud vendors performed well. In fact, Amazon Web Services posted an impressive 42 percent increase in revenue during the first fiscal quarter of 2017. These numbers alone suggest it isn’t a stretch to call the approaching cloud migration wave a tsunami. It’s also safe to assume that when that much data, software and storage moves to the cloud, it will sweep your business right along with it – whether or not you’re prepared for the change.

That’s why it’s a good idea to start talking now about how your business can leverage cloud technology to meet its long-term goals. That conversation can help you work through both the reasoning and the timing for a larger move to the cloud.

Here are five common corporate situations that have prompted many of our clients to embark on a full cloud migration, and that might prompt you to consider one as well.

1. You’re looking for ways to get more value from your IT department

A smaller system cloud migration can often lead CEOs and CFOs to realize that their on-premises infrastructure and IT department are not only too expensive, but are no longer doing enough to grow the overall business.

The need to extract maximum value from IT can prompt executives to “push the river,” by trying to embed their infrastructure into their products and services – a requirement that can limit innovation. Moving to the cloud, on the other hand, frees up IT teams from maintenance and support tasks, so they can focus on building the business in more effective and forward-thinking ways.

To make the most of that benefit, we usually recommend reorganizing your IT department into both a core team and a strategy team, each of which will have different metrics, goals and management. Part of succeeding with this approach, is making sure everyone is “on the right bus.” In other words, employees who have flourished in a run-and-maintain environment will move to the core team, while your most creative thinkers will focus on driving corporate strategy. Thinking through these changes will help your staff succeed and better understand how to fund your larger IT strategy.

2. You’re moving ERP and email into the cloud already. Why stop?

Most of the ERP systems that integrate your core business functions are moving to Software as a Service (SaaS) licenses, as is email. Most traditional on-premises ERP companies are now offering cloud solutions. This can be a great change for companies because cloud-based software updates automatically, ending the need for IT to schedule and tackle potentially disruptive upgrades themselves.  When these big pieces change over, it creates the perfect moment for a larger cloud assessment.

Ask yourself the following questions to help assess your cloud needs:

  • How can you use your infrastructure team better, now that they no longer have to focus on supporting ERP and email?
  • What else would benefit from being in the cloud, and when would it make sense to move those systems over? 

Related: 5 Cloud Questions Every CFO Should Ask

3. You’re looking at a large hardware refresh (and ways to avoid it)

Before you consider a large capital expenditure, take the opportunity to evaluate whether a cloud migration might be in order. First, consider the limitations of on-premises hardware. Such equipment often goes on the books as a depreciating asset, which can affect your ability to borrow. You’ll also be locked into that technology for three to five years, so you’ll have to invest in something that can handle your biggest possible workload during that time. The result of having to provision for your “single worst day,” is that you end up with more compute resources than you need.  Moving to the cloud enables you to use a pay-as-you-go, where you purchase only the compute power you actually need and automatically add resources during a system spike.  

4. Your company’s growth is outpacing your infrastructure

We often hear from clients whose businesses are growing quickly, that IT has become a bottle-neck. Cloud technology gives IT the ability to create reliable new systems, that can scale on demand – and at lightning speed. Therefore, your network speed or infrastructure limitations no longer factor into your strategic goals.  For example:

  • Rapid prototyping. Cloud technology creates an environment in which an idea you kick around over coffee, can be a working prototype by your 2pm break.
  • Simplicity. Spinning up a new development server once took two months, but with cloud technology, you can break out a credit card and spin up two new instances in minutes.
  • Scalability. If one of your products wildly exceeds expectations, you can easily add the memory, bandwidth, CPU, redundancy or additional security you need to ensure its continuing success. 

5. You plan to sell or buy in the next 3-5 years

The need to untangle and move physical infrastructure to a new location can be an unwelcome obstacle to buying or selling a business. When you’re selling, migrating systems and data usually involves signing a six-to-eight-month severance agreement with IT staff, so they can stay on and handle the project. If you purchase a company that has on-premises infrastructure, you’re looking at the same scenario from the other direction.  If, on the other hand, your data is already in the cloud, the process is as simple as handing over the relevant passwords. The new owners can then easily access the company’s applications and data portfolio—anywhere and anytime. Ideally, you can migrate your data to the cloud before this kind of challenge is on the horizon. A cloud assessment can help you determine how a cloud migration can make the future sale or purchase of a company as smooth and streamlined as possible. 

 

Bringing It All Together

More and more companies are moving their data to the cloud and starting to experience the value it can bring to their organizations. Rather than worrying about being left behind, start discussing how the cloud could help solve your IT challenges, meet your business goals and offer your customers a more personal experience. If you have questions, contact us! Bridgepoint Consulting’s Cloud Migration experts can help you assess your needs and determine how and when to start shifting your applications, systems and data to the cloud.

About Sam Wood

Sam Wood is Director of Technology Consulting for Bridgepoint Consulting. He supports Bridgepoint clients in a broad range of IT transformation initiatives, including IT planning, systems integration, cloud migration and cyber security. With more than two decades of experience, Wood has broad corporate experience providing IT strategy and execution to companies that are experiencing rapid organizational change.

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