How not to fail when migrating your data to the cloud

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The push to cloud over the last few years has generated a high number of failures when it comes to transformation initiatives. A number of industry watch-dogs and research survey houses report anywhere from 45% to 54% of these initiative fail to meet the expectations.

This is according to Paul Morley, executive - Group Data Services at Nedbank, who will be presenting on ‘Strategies for migrating your data to the cloud’, at ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit, to be held from 9 to 11 March as a virtual event.

“If you unpack these failed initiatives, there are a few common threads that surface. Firstly, most organisational implementations get confused between marketing strategies and technology strategies. The current positioning of 'cloud' from the industry is all based on high penetration marketing, which we try and mirror in our cloud approaches and architectures.”

There are two scenarios, he explains. “We talk about 'lift and shift' as one example, and IaaS, PaaS and SaaS as the other. 'Lift and shift' was one of the earliest approaches when commercial cloud-based solutions and platforms were in their infancy. This approach was an easy marketing strategy that over simplified solutions to deliver high levels of sales. In reality, adopting this approach in a modern medium-sized enterprise is suicide, due to the complex legacy technology landscape that has evolved over time.

“Components cannot be lifted out of ageing enterprise and deployed to the cloud without some serious challenges. These challenges in most cases have not been factored into the value proposition or business case,” Morley explains.

Adopting [the 'lift and shift'] approach in a modern medium-sized enterprise is suicide.

Paul Morley, Nedbank.

Similarly, he says with the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services, most enterprises built services in that order - first IaaS then PaaS and then SaaS. “Again, this is an over simplified approach based on marketing strategies, and aimed at better engaging sales.”

He says adopting a staged approach such as this, over time, does not generate value. The secret is that value lies in the sum of the whole, not within the parts. “This approach takes longer and generally the investment case runs out of road long before commercial value is seen.”

Morley advises to always adopt a holistic approach when developing a cloud strategy and technology architecture. Cloud solutions are multi-dimensional. However, most companies design it in a way they would for an on-premises environment - this is perhaps the biggest problem, when it comes to cloud initiatives, he says.

“Avoid falling for hype-based strategies. Always have a data strategy, and in fact, don’t event attempt a cloud initiative unless you have a mature integrated data strategy,” he adds.

Many of the big variable costs and challenges lie in the data dimension, Morley adds. “The last big issue, is there is still too much focus on infrastructure and application design and approaches. This must change to data-centric discussion to improve success rate.”

During his talk, delegates can expect to see a different view and way of thinking about cloud, a fresh approach on design, and realistic view that is grounded on pragmatism and logic, and not based on marketing as a foundation.

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