Cloud migration - what customers really want

All signposts on the business IT road ahead point to the cloud. And it’s your job to make it happen.

A recent study has suggested that by the end of the decade, 92 per cent of all workloads will be processed by cloud data centres – that’s an increase of 370 per cent in global workload size compared to 2015 figures. So it stands to reason that more or less any business that isn’t already operating in the cloud is going to be moving in that direction pretty soon.

This means that there is huge business to be had for independent software vendors, service providers or system integrators that can assist these movers with making a successful cloud migration.

But what are these companies looking for when they’re searching for a partner in their migration journey? In this blog, you’ll get an insight on five of the key areas you can focus on when you’re delivering migrations, and the steps you can take to enhance your service and satisfy your customers.


A comprehensive and speedy approach

Companies looking at a cloud migration are preparing for one of the biggest shifts in their IT set-up since they started using computers. Therefore, a provider guiding a change this comprehensive will need to demonstrate that they’re considering every area of a client’s business.

On top of this, it’s important to show a client that you can get them up to speed in the cloud as quickly as possible. Nothing will frustrate them more than sitting around waiting for weeks and months on end, especially if they can see competitors making market gains through cloud innovation in the meantime.

As Kamran Ikram, Accenture’s managing director of financial services technology, told potential migrators at a recent event: “Cloud is one of those things where if you really believe in the business case, you need to move quickly. Going slowly in baby steps does not give you the value you need.”


A sharp focus on security

Migrating entire infrastructures to the cloud means that providers could be dealing with a potentially huge number of different applications that a client uses. Inevitably, all of these will come with different use cases, user demographics and therefore different security permissions and requirements.

This is where a providing organisation like you can help by implementing clear mapping of security rules for each application. This gives the client assurance that the security measures that are already in place in an on-premise environment will seamlessly transfer to the cloud environment.

Putting that mapping in place can be a laborious and time-heavy task for your workforce, but technical help is at hand. A variety of automation facilities, such as IBM Cloud Deployment Services, are available to smooth out and speed up the whole process through every phase, from design through to testing.


Stress-free Big Data migration

Every organisation has a mass of accumulated data that it may not need ready access to, but still needs to keep hold of. With some major regulatory changes on the horizon, ensuring a new cloud infrastructure complies with all relevant legal requirements is an absolute must.

This data can’t just be swept under the carpet, even if the sheer scale of what needs migrating makes the job a pain in the backside. However, this is another area where support services can be leveraged effectively.

Take IBM Cloud Mass Data Migration as an example of what can be done. The recently-launched service involves huge amounts of data – up to 120TB at a time – being loaded onto a secure suitcase-sized device and sent to IBM. There the data is loaded into the appropriate cloud environment before the device is wiped, ready for re-use.

This whole process, including the shipping, can be done in days. Not only can this make the whole migration process faster, it also removes any potential strain on a company’s internet connection that would come from trying to transfer that much data by online means.


Readiness to rely on the internet

It may be hard to believe in a business world that’s now so technologically advanced, but some companies – especially smaller ones – still suffer from web connections that are unreliable or slow.

When infrastructures are still on-premise, then the effects of a slow connection or downtime are limited to difficulties in getting day-to-day work done. But when everything has been migrated to the cloud, an outage basically means that a company has been locked out of all its data.

So as much as it sounds like an overly simple thing that should be taken for granted, the capabilities and limitations of a firm’s internet connection are important factors to consider at the migration planning stage.


Delivering the best value for money possible

A major undertaking the size of a cloud migration isn’t the cheapest thing to do, and all clients will want to keep their costs firmly under control.

It can be easy for some clients to get carried away and insist on moving absolutely everything into the cloud, but that isn’t always the best option for them, or for you. They’ll be looking for a partner who can help them assess which elements of their infrastructure make sense to be in the cloud – either financially or practically – and which ones don’t.

This is where you could help by advocating a hybrid cloud infrastructure, so that the data and applications which just wouldn’t be viable in the cloud can be kept in a physical on-premise environment. That way, clients can get all the benefits they want without any unnecessary expenditure.

And although it might not be the most profitable deal for you at face value, you could potentially earn yourself a client with whom you’ve gained trust and a mutually beneficial business relationship in the long term.


The key takeaway

Ultimately, any client will want to feel confident that their cloud migration will be secure, efficient and worth doing, not only from a financial standpoint but from a logistical one, too. And as well as providing the technical means to do it, there’s the human side of reassurance and practicality for you to consider, too.

Cloud migrations can positively transform businesses’ operations from top to bottom. So with cloud business continuing to be brisk for ISVs, integrators and providers alike, the rewards of getting migrations right in the weeks, months and years to come could be enormous.

You can help your migrated clients build advanced cloud solutions and start driving profits straight away when you partner with IBM. 

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