The great migration: how businesses are moving to the cloud

Michel Robert, managing director of Claranet UKTwo thirds of the largest organisations in the world have digital transformation spearheading their corporate strategy in 2018, according to the International Data Corporation. For companies large and small, it’s a business-critical issue and the great migration to cloud computing is at the heart of this transformation.

Research from the Cloud Industry Forum, published last February, shows that 88 per cent of 250 IT and business leaders who responded have adopted cloud for some of their applications; crucially very few have migrated them all. The top three reasons for adopting cloud services are flexibility of delivery (74 per cent), operational cost-savings (72 per cent) and scalability (65 per cent).

Little wonder we have reached a tipping point where it is the business leaders rather than just the development teams who are pushing for this change. It is the C-suiters who are now determined to move more of their applications to the cloud, realising the game-changing benefits which will boost competitiveness and growth.

However, in our experience many organisations think that replicating what they have in the cloud is their end-game. This couldn’t be more wrong. In most cases, if you want to take advantage of the automation, scalability, rapid development and other features, changes will need to be made to your applications. In addition, the right strategy will vary, sometimes considerably, by application.

It is time for business leaders across all industries to seize this opportunity and revolutionise the way their organisation operates

Without previous experience, it is perhaps no surprise that organisations often lack the skills or understanding to achieve this. For example, one customer we now support tried to move their applications and data out of a datacentre to a major cloud platform on their own, but quickly discovered it was more expensive to run and they were not able to maximise benefits. Their hasty retreat from the cloud and back to their old datacentre was certainly no surprise.

Two years on, the organisation revisited the idea and got in touch. We talked to them about doing more planning before any migrations started and assessed their applications to check whether they were cloud ready or needed to be re-engineered. The result is that the business is expected to make a whopping 30 per cent saving on their current datacentre costs.

Our just-published research report, Beyond Digital Transformation, highlights how forward-thinking organisations recognise the value of IT partnerships to help them structure their move to the cloud. Surveying 750 IT and digital leaders across Europe, responses show the impact that cloud adoption has on business performance.

Organisations identified as cloud leaders in the survey also demonstrated a wide range of additional strengths, including the ability to deliver the best digital customer experiences, to stay agile and move at speed, and to link IT spend to tangible business improvement.

No two migrations to the cloud are the same, but focusing on applications and how they deliver value to the business, is essential to consider before making the move, answering the question “why am I doing this and what impact will it have?” Once it is clear there will be a business benefit and that the application is suitable to migrate, then businesses should consider what additional services, such as automation, robust security tools, data management, analytics and machine-learning, they may need further down the line, as this is how some of the really transformational benefits are achieved.

As the evidence shows, it is time for business leaders across all industries to seize this opportunity and revolutionise the way their organisation operates. But first, they need to appreciate it can be a complex process and, to make the cloud work for their business, the solution is very rarely off the shelf.

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