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Enable Innovation by Migrating Legacy Systems

25 May 2021 | Articles | Marius Pedersen

cloud migration enabling innovation - featured image

It is no secret that cloud migration services have surged in popularity over the last few years, with the race to migrate legacy systems to the cloud being fiercely accelerated by remote working during the pandemic.

In fact, the size of the cloud migration services market is expected to grow to $9.5 billion by 2022, making it three times larger than in 2017. Compounded by the opportunities for innovation cloud-enabled infrastructures provide, enterprise organizations are prioritizing their migration to cloud-based platforms more than ever.

Multiple rationales support cloud migration — yet, many of these are usually driven by a cost-optimization mindset. However, long gone are the days when IT departments were mere pure providers and cost centres. Today, IT must become a business enabler that drives innovation. Cloud migration allows them to transform into innovation centres that accelerate time to market.

Here, we go through how enterprises can benefit from a successful cloud migration by focusing on the innovation it provides as a vehicle for extensive organizational transformation.

CTO and IT Manager discussing cloud migration in a data center

Why is innovation so important to cloud migration projects now?

Migration to the cloud is not an end in itself, but an enabler for more innovative ways of working. When an organization’s IT systems are not based in the cloud, they are simply more vulnerable to suffer the negative effects of disruptive innovation since they cannot innovate or react quickly enough to rapidly changing market trends. Plus, their time-to-market is significantly lengthened.

The cloud is also not just a machine: it allows room for more expansive innovation. Cloud-based organizations have access to new tools and capabilities that aren’t viable in an on-premise setting. Additionally, this allows them to gain new insights derived from data that they wouldn’t be able to access via existing on-premise IT data centres. For example, once legacy systems are moved to the cloud, extracting the data and combining it with data from other sources to derive value becomes a much more manageable task.

This is why we often see start-ups gaining market share without being challenged by the incumbent companies in that industry. Not only are start-ups not tied to legacy systems, but they usually run exclusively on the cloud, allowing them to launch key services quickly and scale their systems in line with their rapid growth.

A recent study found that more than half of CIOs spent 40-60% of their time managing legacy IT systems. This is a huge amount of time spent just on maintaining operations. In contrast, enterprise organizations that make the transition to cloud can use that time to focus on initiatives that drive future business value and innovation.

So why is innovation so important to cloud migration projects now? Here’s the short answer: how an organization defines its original aims and strategic goals associated with migrating legacy systems to the cloud will shape the project’s outcome. Those focusing on cost savings will likely see initial cost savings, but will in most cases not see any effect on their innovative power. Those that see cloud migration as an enabler of innovation are more likely to remain competitive in a world that demands rapid access to innovative digital services.

Why you need to integrate all of your systems — not just add cloud to the current mix

An ongoing challenge for CIOs has been carefully managing the balance between greenfield and brownfield operating strategies. While greenfield migration projects create an entirely new cloud infrastructure for enterprises — using a public, private, or hybrid model, with zero dependencies on the legacy on-premise systems — brownfield migration projects involve moving only certain functions from legacy systems to the cloud.

However, when enterprises keep their core systems on-premises with a slow development pace, focusing only on new applications and development projects in the cloud, this undoubtedly creates a technical gap between those who are able to build on the side of existing systems and those who don’t have the same flexibility.

Recognizing that your existing systems, even if they are depreciating assets, already provide a lot of value and form a crucial part of the enterprise is key. They too need to be migrated so that you can capitalize on using new technology that has only been developed for the cloud, in the cloud. By not preparing the entire portfolio of systems in the cloud, there are limits on the number of ways you can accelerate and respond to competitive initiatives in the market.

cloud and devops journey - devoteam infographic
Full end-to-end transformation allows companies to be truly agile, and innovate at scale.

For enterprises who view innovation as the driving force behind migrating legacy systems, there is no room for a legacy and greenfield ditch. In fact, a huge amount of innovation and value can be created building around the legacy systems, which can also even the playing field.

Modernizing existing business processes becomes much easier when all systems exist on the same platform and locations. For example, an enterprise can attach a Machine Learning process to an existing customer process by looping in modelling and data analytics from the cloud platform — without introducing high network costs, while providing better usability and performance.

How can you enable innovation by migrating legacy systems to the cloud?

Simply copying workloads to the cloud will not help enterprises achieve business value, nor will it help them become truly innovative.

Successfully preparing and moving legacy systems for innovation involves respecting both the value and the inherent complexity of the existing systems, and bringing those into the planning and execution stages of the transition project.

To maximize value and reach the business objective of enabling innovation, every enterprise needs a plan that includes reviewing the existing infrastructure. This includes a comprehensive pre-study and transformation plan on what needs to be moved, integrated, and replaced in order to optimize the outcome of the migration project.

Then, using new cloud mechanics, you can still achieve modernization with limited updates to the legacy systems by introducing Infrastructure as Code (IaC), automated deployments and updates, and scheduling.

When the legacy applications have been moved to the cloud you can easily develop new interfaces and introduce enrichment capabilities to the system based on data, Artificial Intelligence, and low code frameworks to cater for faster delivery of business value.

Here’s why Devoteam focuses on the innovative capabilities of the cloud — and how we can help

Devoteam Cloudify is a cloud native company that understands the complexity of legacy systems. We help enterprises bridge the gap between legacy and cloud systems by using modern techniques such as Infrastructure as Code, Containerization, and Platform Services.

We have a proven record of moving business-critical systems to the cloud while respecting the importance and complexity of the systems and interfaces towards the rest of the IT landscape. Our process of analyzing and planning the agile project execution provides enterprises with the ability to gradually migrate systems to the cloud without the risk of a “big bang” move.

We are committed to helping enterprises use cloud infrastructure to become more agile. Using our vast experience in cloud migration projects, we help enterprises realize the best approach to cloud migration for their business by working in synergy and partnership with them.

Are you looking at how you can transform your enterprise by moving operations to the cloud? Contact us now to find out more about how we can support you on your cloud journey.