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Consider These Points to Determine Your Direction and Strategy Before Migrating to a Public Cloud

Ernst Veen
November 18 2019

If you type the word ‘Cloud’ into Google, there are more than 5 billion results. In short, it is a theme which definitely lives. According to Gartner, from 2020 onwards, every new software vendor will start in the cloud. Nevertheless, we are all frequently asking questions about safety, compliance and how to shape a strategy. It’s important to think about what you want to achieve. Why should you migrate to the cloud? What is your cloud strategy? How do you make the cloud work for you? And with what steps will you embrace the cloud to keep your application available? In short: how can you leverage the latest cloud technologies to achieve your business goals?

The cloud is a buzz word and is interpretable in many contexts. Well-known vendors of that public cloud are Amazon, Google and Microsoft. It basically means that you no longer have your applications and traditional servers on-premise in the office or in a co-located datacenter. These public cloud suppliers have all sorts of solutions that you can utilize to efficiently leverage the huge storage capacity and computing power they have available in global datacenters. But to jump blindly into the cloud because everyone is doing it is not the best strategy.

Migrating to that public cloud can provide many benefits, such as the ability to add new functionality faster or easier connect new customers. It may also better your night’s rest with regard to unpredictable growth. After all, the Dutch nitrogen discussion is already causing enough distraction. Let’s begin with shaping a cloud strategy.

Different Scenarios Relevant to the Cloud

Forming a cloud strategy has little to do with the technological side and what technical solutions you will eventually need. First, it is important to answer the questions: where do you want to go? What exactly is your ambition? How do you continuously improve and optimize your application? Decide what innovation means for you and how you can continue to add value to stay ahead of competition.

Developments are fast and follow each other at a high pace, making it difficult to keep track of everything yourself. I like to use the strategy of "pruning, blooming, and growing”. Sometimes you have to first enumerate what you have and return it. We also like to call this consolidation. Then you have to optimize so you can bloom again with a new start.

Only after that will the technological side begin to take shape. Then you will see how you can make the technology that is available today work for your specific situation. An example of the possibilities is automation. Will you continue to perform recurring tasks and processes manually, or will you think about automating them?

Here are three process examples where the public cloud can be relevant:

Periodic Processes (On and Off)

The first relevant example is the periodic processes. Think of processes which occasionally occur, and the rest of the time are inactive, such as the processing of pay slips or monthly invoicing. These processes cannot be ignored, but you can save real money here if you are not constantly using compute power to keep them running for when they need to be used. In the public cloud, this is easier to achieve than in your own cloud. For instance, a task can be created that makes the computing power available monthly and then automatically turns off again.

Growing Fast in the Construction Industry; a Few Examples

The ACRE industry is responsible for 13% of the world economy with massive challenges of waste and productivity. Collaboration with chain partners through Building Information Modeling (BIM) solutions is, therefore, becoming a relevant aspect in various projects and growing fast. The availability of applications and data is crucial. As a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider (MSP) we are the managed service provider behind MTWO. MTWO, developed by RIB and Microsoft, is an AI-empowered 5D BIM construction management solution for contractors, developers, and owners – one centralized platform for all stakeholders to collaborate at every phase of the building process. Traditionally, you would buy this compute power in advance. But what if you grow faster than you predicted, or need to add more users on the fly? Run faster with MTWO on Azure and leverage all aspects like scaling and adding new users or partners without compromising on availability and performance- all from one compliant uniform solution. And make the cloud work for you!

As another example, think of these fast-growing E-startups that contribute to the future of the construction industry. Klarx offers an online platform for renting construction equipment with customers such as Strabag, Max Bögl, and Deutsche Bahn. And Qualis Flow who provides cloud-based software for monitoring and predicting environmental risks in construction. Finally, XYZ Reality delivers an augmented reality solution. Often you do not buy this kind of growth beforehand, because what if you do not have this level of growth again? Your budget may evaporate like snow in the sun without any income coming from it.

Unpredictable Bursting

This last example might be the most common scenario. For example, we see that construction sites are increasingly equipped with camera surveillance, which automatically shows unpredictable growth in video and photo data. Depending on the situation and legislation, it is important that these are capable of being stored and analyzed. Or how about the building management systems which are processing more and more data? Data about how much electricity, for example, solar panels generate. Or what the CO2 emissions or CO2 neutrality of a building is. These factors are becoming increasingly important. It’s difficult to know in advance what kind of impact that might have on your burst.

In all these scenarios, the public cloud can elastically adjust with demand.

Use the Cloud Only When Needed

The strategic choice can therefore be that you only use the capacity of cloud technology when you need it. In fact, it is like how we buy gas, water and electricity. Paying for what you use after the fact. This also allows for the intelligent handling of terminal server environments. Are the users who simultaneously use such an environment always equal? Usually not. However, this environment is often available to all users with unnecessary licensing costs as a result. This is where the cloud can work for you by allowing you to set up only the computing power and systems that are needed and get you on the path to optimization.

So, with the public cloud you can use only what you need at any time of day, but what happens during a calamity? Can you continue working? A solution to your continuity can also be a first step to the cloud. By setting up a redundant infrastructure environment in a public cloud, you minimize downtime, for example.

Which Arguments Are Relevant to Such a Strategy?

The fact remains that the cloud has dramatically changed our software landscape and the way it works over the past few years. This trend certainly yielded the necessary extra gray hairs in the beginning. As always, we ask ourselves many questions when it comes to change: should we participate, or can we still stand back? And not insignificantly: what do your customers really want? What possibilities are there to continue your application in the cloud? And finally: where do you start?

There are many drivers to come to a migration decision. The expiration of data center contracts and security threats, to compliance and end of support, are all relevant arguments with suitable solutions.

Choosing the strategic roadmap with the relevant scenario will contribute greatly to your success. Do you choose a short-term solution for now and develop a new version later? Or are you going to invest in that new version right now? As always, which applies to all scenarios, you have to start somewhere. I myself believe in the fail fast, fail cheap method. Sometimes, for example, a short-term solution or starting with a small project is a great strategic choice to understand the impact your strategy will have on your customer or your product. Then you can modernize it step by step.

I believe that forming a cloud migration strategy starts with internal alignment. It is important that there is a support network that speaks the same language you do. Your expectations, your wants, and what the risks are should all be well communicated. Which innovative solutions are you going to adopt when adopting and once it is in that cloud, how do you manage and maintain it?

What’s next?

There are many questions you may be asking when it comes to creating your cloud strategy or modernizing your application(s). Don’t worry, we are here to help and can answer your questions by using our proven CloudSCAN methodology. Get into contact with our cloud experts for a free 4-hour CloudSCAN session.

Contact us!

 
*This blog was originally written in Dutch. It has been translated and modified especially for the construction industry.
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