Building the right justification for modernising your IT environment with cloud

Around the world, businesses are modernising their IT environment by using the cloud to enhance digital capabilities and meet growing customer demands. Many have already either deployed select systems in the cloud, or completed pilot projects, leveraging the cloud to power their digital transformation initiatives and pull ahead of the competition.

A research by Rackspace Technology and Google cloud indicates more than half of the local enterprises surveyed have already moved their entire applicable infrastructure to the cloud, with the remaining respondents expressing intention for cloud adoption as well. The top three factors driving these businesses to do so are business growth, efficiency, and improved security.

Yet this is not without its challenges. As businesses move to the next phase of modernisation by migrating core systems to the cloud and scaling up existing cloud deployments, they can expect to run into inherent obstacles posed by the cloud.

Overcome cloud challenges

While cloud initiatives remove the need for hefty upfront hardware investments, which shifts traditional IT and data centre costs from capital expenditure (CAPEX) to operating expenditure (OPEX), estimating the actual costs of operating in the cloud isn't as straightforward given the inherent mismatch between on-premises computing and network infrastructure and cloud offerings.

This means that infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders often do not have a clear understanding of the OPEX costs, which could lead to inaccurate estimates or cost comparisons. The onus will be on them to do a more detailed assessment of shifting to the cloud.

Moreover, not all workloads are suited for or can be migrated to the public cloud. Considerations such as regulatory compliance, cost optimisation, and performance limitations might prevent the cloudification of existing systems, hence workloads must be individually evaluated to determine which will benefit from public cloud capabilities. 

Finally, disputes on the success of cloud initiatives may arise. Key performance indicators (KPIs) on areas such as user experience, application or service performance, and infrastructure capacity, should be established at the onset for each application or service. Suitable metrics and baselines should also be identified and measured before migration to the cloud.

Charting a course forward

Depending on the scale, the cloud modernisation could take weeks, months, or even years. To stay on track, businesses are adopting a holistic approach in their journey to the cloud, which takes into consideration not only technology, but also employees and processes. This involves:

  1. Defining and documenting motivations for moving to the cloud, aligning specific cloud goals with the business's goals. For instance, decommissioning an existing data centre to shift it to the cloud so that new services or capabilities to be deployed much quicker; migrating to the cloud sets the foundation for greater IT agility, while at the same time optimising services and reducing operating costs.
  2. Identifying the workloads suited for the cloud, and prioritise them based on those crucial to the business and those that deliver maximum benefits with minimal efforts and costs.
  3. Deciding on either a multi-cloud or a single cloud platform. The former allows businesses to address over-reliance on a single cloud and vendor lock-in, though developing cloud-agnostic services greatly increases complexity. On the other hand, focusing on one cloud platform can significantly increase the speed of deployment, and enable businesses to take full advantage of everything it has to offer such as better security management and ease of workload orchestration and administration.
Making it work

Modernising the IT environment with the cloud is much more than moving on-premises services and systems into the cloud. Taking full advantage of it calls for a cloud-native approach, which includes the development of microservices, adopting an infrastructure-as-code (IaC) paradigm, or using an event-based architecture, to securely move existing data into the cloud and harness next-gen data analytics and processing.

Another key advantage of the cloud is its capability for dynamic resource allocation – the ability to scale up or down computing resources based on changing business needs. Reviewing resource allocations whilst setting up dynamic scaling ensures that cloud deployment is fine-tuned yet designed with the flexibility to support seasonal spikes and unexpected surges in demand.

A local agency in Singapore, whose business deals in conducting annual syndicated surveys, launched their digital survey platform on the cloud to collect responses during the COVID-19 pandemic without face-to-face contact. As data was tracked in real-time, the team was able to adjust and tweak their marketing approaches quickly to achieve a response rate that was seven times higher than manual surveys. With this, not only was the quality of the data collated improved, but compared to traditional survey methods, this agency also managed to reduce their execution cost by 57%.

Ultimately, modernisation is a continuous process that involves significant organisational change and management that spans people, processes, and technology. The holistic approach will not only help businesses navigate the journey successfully but also ensure that they reap benefits – including efficiency, agility, and ease of scalability – once workloads are running in the cloud.


Contact StarHub today to start your cloud modernisation journey.

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