Partnerships are crucial for successful cloud migration

Moving to the cloud can be a big decision, but with the right partners on board, IT teams are not only able to mitigate risks, but ultimately spend more time on innovation and strategy

Migrating to the cloud is a powerful solution with many recognised rewards, but there is still a great deal of inertia because it can be a meteoric change for many businesses. Shifting precious intellectual property, customer databases and operating systems to a computing infrastructure that a corporation doesn’t own and is off its premises can be a challenge.

The cloud also alters the way IT teams have functioned for over a decade. It is that profound. Yet shifting to the cloud is no longer a question of ‘if’, it’s ‘when,’ and ‘how much of your business.’ A vast number of organisations have embraced the cloud and are quickly reaping its benefits, whether that is agility in deploying new applications, supply chain visibility or better customer relationship management.

“Moving to the cloud is a big decision. Business leaders need to show that they understand the magnitude of the change and the impact it will have, not just on their IT department, but all employees,” says Steve Murphy, CEO of Epicor, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software, which has over 120,000 cloud users and 27,000 customers in 150 countries.

“The cloud is now table stakes. The value is in finding growth opportunities tied to cloud efficiencies. Switching to cloud offers organisations flexibility and resilience that keeps them ahead of the competition. It also clears the way for future growth because businesses can access the latest innovations at speed, as well as scale operations,” Murphy adds.

Yet there are still many perceived obstacles to cloud adoption. In a recent survey, security and risk were cited as the biggest concern by 33% of businesses, total cost of ownership was a worry for 27%, and the time to implement and the ability to customise to specific business needs was cited by 26%.

“The concern that cloud is a bigger security risk than on-premise solutions are is still out there in some circles. That’s why it’s important for folks to know that, due to its scale, cloud technology leverages far greater financial and expert resources than a single organisation could feasibly provide alone. Take Microsoft Azure – more than $1bn is spent on cybersecurity annually, and its data centre security is so strict that it would be cost prohibitive for a single business to try to replicate this on their own premises,” says Rich Murr, CIO of Epicor.

He adds, “Weighing up the business value of a cloud investment is also of concern. While there is an upfront cost with any new system, cloud can help save businesses money in the long run. The burden of deploying, running, and upgrading IT systems shifts to the cloud vendor. This allows IT personnel to become strategic shareholders. They can then focus on driving innovation.”

For cloud migration to be successful, partnerships are crucial. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to adoption. It is not all or nothing, where everything is migrated off the premises in one go. For example, an application’s back-end database can continue to run on the premises, while its front-end web servers run in the cloud.

“Successful migration requires dedicated support to negotiate myriad options. That’s why organisations need a partner with deep industry experience who understands their business needs, offers customer-driven products and innovation, and can curate the right solution. Each business has nuance and specialties, and so should their technology,” says Murphy.

Many industries have specific challenges associated with their particular sector. Each industry uses the cloud to maximise its potential. At the same time, there can be choice paralysis. There are too many options when it comes to configuring business operations in the cloud, what to migrate and when. A lot of decisions are tied up in the strategic direction of the company and where it wants to be in the future.

Understanding a business is vital when it comes to cloud migration. That’s why Epicor teams tour facilities, visit clients’ retail locations, warehouses and offices. By engaging and collaborating with customers, Epicor is able to help them evolve and grow their businesses.

“At Epicor, we take our partnerships with customers seriously well beyond their purchase of a solution,” Murphy says. “We stand side-by-side with our customers on the shop floor where many of us, including myself, have also spent time working. We engage, challenge, and collaborate with customers at a deep level to help them reimagine their business and reach their goals.”

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