In the previous cloud migration planning and cost optimization series post, we described how to build a picture of the as-is IT estate, and of how it is used and performs. However, as you prepare to migrate, it would be wrong to assume that you need to reproduce this picture. Instead, look for opportunities to rationalize and modernize the IT estate, and include cloud cost management into your process. Remember, the aim is to move just what you need, rather than everything you have.
Before considering what to move, double-check the accuracy of your picture of the current IT estate. The picture should be built up from high-quality data collected on an ongoing basis by a reliable Asset Intelligence platform. This platform must both normalize a high proportion of data using its own out-of-the-box capabilities and be easily customizable to handle your own unique applications, including those that are customized versions of off-the-shelf products.
Once you’re confident you know what you currently have, ask yourself if you can take advantage of cloud cost management and reduce costs by replacing conventional applications with SaaS solutions, and workstations with Chromebooks or a “bring your own device” (BYOD) arrangement.
To identify users who are good candidates for Chromebooks, you need not only to know which applications have SaaS alternatives available, but also to carry out granular usage metering of conventional application usage. Once again, a modern Asset Intelligence platform will be invaluable here. Whereas traditional asset management tools just give you crude information about whether an individual has started a particular application, a modern platform will also report details of how the individual is using the application, when and how often.
This line of investigation can pay rich dividends. In a recent study carried out by Scalable for a large US real estate firm, we found that for more than 40% of staff, every one of the applications in use could be provisioned via SaaS versions or alternatives. This finding supported the cloud cost management claims and justified a subsequent program to replace expensive legacy devices with thinner and cheaper options.
Another option is to retire applications if they are no longer used or if a better and/or cheaper alternative is already in use elsewhere in the organization.
In making decisions like these, it’s important to understand the cost of rationalization (in terms of training or extra licenses, for example) and to quantify any impact on user productivity. Once again, understanding your workforce’s use patterns and intensity is key for minimizing disruption – as is being able to analyze use by role or location.
Remember, too, that there may be constraints on what can be moved to the cloud. For regulatory or organizational reasons, there may be sensitive systems that the management feels must remain on-premise. It’s important to talk to key stakeholders to get this information, then adjust your statement of requirements to reflect this.
Some older applications may not be suitable for cloud migration, for example because they do not scale well. Performance considerations may also dictate keeping certain applications or services on-premise.
You’ll also need to consider whether keeping some applications on-premise while migrating others to the cloud requires development of new interfaces or other integration measures, and if so work out who is going to do this work – whether an in-house team, application vendor, or systems integrator.
When you’ve answered the “What should I move?” question thoroughly, you’ll have an accurate, “deep dive” understanding of your organization’s existing IT estate and usage data – a vital basis for the subsequent migration process.
Next in this series, I’ll consider the question of vendor selection and explain why the main cloud vendors are not as similar as they may seem. In the meantime, you can find out more by downloading our Smart Guide: Essential considerations for cloud migration planning and cost optimization.
Read the other posts in the Cloud Migration and Cost Optimization series: