Is Moving to the Cloud the Right Strategy for Your Business?

November 13, 2020

To cloud or not to cloud? If you are a growing technology company, moving to the cloud is an increasingly relevant consideration as your business grows and you need to scale your technical infrastructure, meet compliance regulations or reduce risk. It’s important to factor whether moving critical applications and data to a cloud environment is the right decision for your business, both technologically and financially.

Amidst the economic impact of the ongoing pandemic, companies moving to a remote workplace environment are looking for new ways to access data and increase cybersecurity while improving their bottom line. Can a migration to the cloud help achieve data security standards, exceed compliance mandates and increase application performance all while lowering OpEx costs? Or will it fall short of meeting business requirements while increasing allocation to future IT budgets?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when moving critical applications and data to a cloud provider. Keeping the end goals in mind alongside a comprehensive assessment and business plan will result in obtaining multiple options for improving performance, increasing security, achieving compliance and managing costs.

Assess your business needs and your goals

Cloud providers will often promote and lead with low fees in the initial contracts, but then add fees for optional features, API integration, and/or enhanced security solutions that were not negotiated upfront. A thorough understanding of your business requirements, technology strategy, and IT budget forecast for the next five to ten years is necessary to plan and manage excessive charges. This insight allows your transition to a cloud environment to be better aligned with managing your technology ROI.

More specifically, documenting a comprehensive migration strategy with the following considerations is essential for contract negotiations:

  • Infrastructure demands
  • Business requirements
  • Sustainability planning
  • Flexibility for technology expansion

Considering these factors will provide your team the basis to assess multiple contract choices before migrating your environment to the cloud. Attempting to shortcut or bypass the assessment analysis and documentation of a Cloud Migration Findings Strategy will add 10% to 50% monthly costs to your multi-year contract.

Four assessments to make the business case for a cloud migration

Wondering what exactly you need to make a solid business case for a migration? When clients come to Aprio with this question, we often point them to four main assessment types:

  1. ERP and Financial Reporting Assessments focus on analyzing your company’s technological challenges related to compiling financial and general ledger data from currently siloed systems. The ultimate goal should be to understand how technology alignment complements the financial systems to provide greater transparency into the business applications while simplifying reporting, planning and analytics.
  2. Infrastructure and Operations Assessments use knowledge about your current infrastructure and help establish the future needs that will drive technological innovation, enhance system connectivity, improve workforce collaboration and automate process modeling.
  3. Application and Data Migration Assessments focus on the practicalities and implications of a migration strategy, highlighting ways to simplify the process and identify a sophisticated move-group approach. Using our discovery process, five-phase framework and T-14 migration best practice methodology, we define application and database dependencies, identify application complexity and document future-state capacity requirements.
  4. IT Financial Management Assessments aim to generate cost savings by gathering insights on your company’s technology spend and monitor your cloud OpEx activities and usage costs. Our team has over 30 years of experience planning, designing, implementing and scenario modelling using ITFM application solutions. Build an allocation model, five pillar taxonomy and zero-based budgeting model to provide demand management monitoring, technology spend predictability analysis, and showback or chargeback business metrics.

Building an accurate inventory, establishing a 14-day due-diligence Go/No-Go approach, and prioritizing move groups are essential steps for a successful migration. These assessments can help you clarify how your current infrastructure aligns with your future-state cloud requirements while providing insights on how to migrate to the cloud with zero downtime and increase business application performance.

Evaluate short-term costs and long-term outcomes

Driving long-term profitability is often more complex than simply reducing costs. Technological advancements of the cloud could create efficiencies and opportunities to grow your business, offsetting the initial cost. However, this isn’t a guaranteed outcome for every business. There are many factors beyond the initial cost that influence whether the cloud is right for your company, and it is crucial that you assess the ROI and benefits equally.

It can be difficult to predict these factors and even more challenging to anticipate changes as your business evolves or expands. When we work with clients on cloud migration plans, our goal is to help them focus on four simple, key strategies that maximize the value of a cloud migration.

  1. Evaluate the landscape. Assessing your company’s strategies and operations before deployment to the cloud can help you quantify the true potential costs and benefits.
  2. State your case. Developing the right business case for the migration will help ease the transition, reducing unexpected challenges that may bring additional costs.
  3. Control costs. Cost transparency is crucial to ensuring a move to the cloud won’t result in unexpected financial implications. Transparency is easier to achieve when you can align your technology spend, service plans, vendor contracts and cloud contracts with your business activities or outputs.
  4. Define migration targets. Creating a detailed migration roadmap with defined targets will prioritize your business needs and help you capture the real potential costs of a migration.

These complex initiatives require specialized expertise, and many companies choose to work with Aprio advisors and senior consultants to help develop a unique cloud migration strategy that aligns with their business goals and objectives. Migration to the cloud goals must exceed the business goals! This is our #1 priority.

The bottom line

Deciding whether to move to the cloud is no simple matter, as it requires consideration of many technical, financial, cultural and operational factors. Additionally, negotiating cloud contracts improperly could result in a more costly transition than anticipated.
If a move to the cloud has the potential to improve speed, accessibility, security, compliance, and sustainability, partnering with Aprio can help you manage costs, reduce risk, meet compliance standards and maximize your cloud ROI.
Aprio’s objective advisors have over 20 years of migration experience that can bring new insights to the unforeseen opportunities and challenges of a cloud migration.

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