If you’ve read virtually any marketing collateral about moving to the cloud, you might get the impression that it was as simple as flipping a switch that converts all of your capital expenditures (CAPEX) into more manageable operating expenditures (OPEX), making business-critical IT resources available on-demand.
It’s true that transitioning your supply chain management, logistics and enterprise resource planning operations to the cloud can provide a major upgrade in convenience, but the process can take time. Plus, planning is essential: As we’ve documented in our piece on famous ERP disasters, a lot can go wrong when a pivotal system is upgraded or modified.
With cloud deployments becoming more complex thanks to the rise of hybrid and multi-cloud environments, the stakes are being raised for acing the cloud transition. In this guide, we’ll look at some of the biggest pain points when shifting to the cloud and how you can address them with a combination of the right technologies and processes.
A step-by-step process for taking on the biggest challenges in cloud migration
Most companies already have some presence in the cloud. According to RightScale, the average enterprise uses almost five public and/or private clouds, and 86% of them have a multi-cloud strategy.
Working backward from these numbers, we can already identify one fundamental challenge, namely dealing with the complexity of selecting, setting up and running the right cloud services – among a huge range of options – for your particular requirements. Other major challenges include ensuring adequate security and keeping costs under control after switching from CAPEX to OPEX.
Fortunately, there’s a reliable phased process for identifying navigating these obstacles.
1. Application selection, baselining and roadmapping
Some applications are better suited to the cloud than others. Plus, it’s likely that you won’t be moving everything into the cloud (at least not at once), but instead targeting a select few platforms, such as a transportation management solution.
Usually, the easiest applications are the best candidates to migrate first, although circumstances vary and sometimes a more complex asset such as an ERP system will be your priority. According to a 2017 IDC survey, the top criteria for moving apps to the cloud were security and regulatory compliance (65% of respondents), infrastructure scalability and flexibility (57%) and app performance (56%). With that in mind, some questions to answer at this early stage include:
- How much would it cost to move the app in question?
- What security measures will be in place once the app is migrated?
- What are the app’s current availability and performance levels?
- What other services and programs does it need to be integrated with?
- Which cloud deployment model – public, private or hybrid – is best suited to it?
- Which cloud provider offers the services to meet my requirements?
Sometimes, there’s low-hanging fruit to pick when planning your migration, such as legacy IT infrastructure that was going to be retired or replaced soon anyway and as such is a natural candidate for a cloud upgrade. In other cases, the project will be more complex and require the expertise of an experienced integrator like Inspirage, which can help with projects such as implementing Oracle applications for supply chain management.
2. Migration, KPI verification and acceptance testing
When you move to the cloud, you expect results in the form of demonstrable ROI and improvement across specific key performance indicators (KPIs). Software such as dashboards and data analytics tools can help you track your progress and see what is and isn’t working so that you can continuously improve your implementation.
Whereas the initial migration stage involves paying a lot of attention to application security requirements and performance characteristics, this one entails taking the more concrete steps of actually migrating your apps and evaluating their performance via KPIs. Doing so provides the opportunity to:
- Flag issues with the migration, such as security loopholes or issues with moving databases.
- Compare pre- and post-migration metrics such as transaction time and CPU utilization.
- Performance acceptance testing to determine if all business requirements are being met.
Taking these steps ensures that your migration is on track. An integrator can provide vital guidance along the way, both in helping you select and use the right technical tools and perform any necessary course corrections.
3. Ongoing monitoring and optimization
One of the most appealing aspects of the cloud is being able to worry less about IT infrastructure upkeep, since the cloud service provider (and/or) managed/hosted services provider) takes care of that. However, that doesn’t mean that the cloud deployment should be left completely alone after it’s set up.
You’ll want to continuously monitor it and possibly consult with your partners on how to optimize it for cost and performance. As experts in integrated supply chains and the digital technologies that support them – including cloud tools from vendors like Oracle – Inspirage can help you at this stage and throughout the entire migration process. As Gartner states in their 2019 Critical Capabilities for Oracle Cloud Applications Services, Worldwide: “[Inspirage’s] In2Cloud offering provides an end-to-end solution focused on accelerating Oracle Cloud adoption and focuses efforts and IP to make implementations faster, minimize risk and lower integration costs.”
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