Migrating Business Applications to the Cloud – White Paper

The world of IT has come a long way since the birth of modern computer technology in the 1940s.

Back in the days of punched tapes, Williams tubes and magnetic drums, no-one had any idea where the technology would take us – hence the oft-quoted comment from IBM’s then president, Thomas Watson in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

We can smile at his words with the benefit of hindsight, but they are also a graphic illustration of the incredible pace of change in our industry. Who would have thought in 2006, for example, when Amazon launched its Elastic Compute Cloud, that within ten years, Cloud Computing would have become such a powerful force in the IT industry? So much so, that we are now seeing non-Cloud system upgrades referred to as “traditional,” which for such a young industry, is an extraordinary concept in itself.

At Searchlight, we are firm believers that the alignment of business and IT strategies, and the consequent enhancement of IT capabilities must be driven by business, rather than technological imperatives. In other words, the solution you chose should be the one that’s right for your unique circumstance, whatever platform that may entail. Having said that, many of our clients are expressing a desire to move at least part of their IT capability to the Cloud, and it’s with this in mind that we have authored a new White Paper; Migrating to the Cloud, The Transition to Cloud-based Business Applications.

In it, we take a look at the factors involved in the decision to move to a commercial off the shelf (COTS) platform and cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, and changes such a move will bring to business users. We also examine the different commercial considerations that need to be taken into account when selecting a cloud-based solution as opposed to a more traditional solution, and look at ways in which the process can be smoothed and safeguarded.

Much of this revolves around the paradigm shift of moving from internal to external responsibility for application support and management of infrastructure. The nature of SaaS means that vendors automatically have more responsibility, accountability and control in the application management process, as well as the management of technical support services. When you select your product vendor, you also select the organisation that will provide a significant part of your ongoing service management capability. It’s important, therefore, to ensure your vendor has both the capabilities to implement and manage your chosen solution.

Clear lines of responsibility need to be drawn. And attention needs to be given to issues of redress, recovery and, in the last resort, exit.

As with any emerging sector, it’s important to promote industry standards and best practice adoption of services and technologies. The Cloud Industry Forum has developed a Code of Practice for Cloud service providers which covers a broad range of areas and disciplines, focusing on transparency, capability and accountability, and we are delighted to have recently become a member.

One of the key benefits for us is being able to collaborate with leading Cloud industry providers and to be able to contribute to the promotion of best practice adoption approaches and industry standards. It also provides a platform for us to share our experience and that of our clients, both businesses and individuals, as well as giving us access to the latest research and information.

We’re looking forward to working with them in the coming months and years to contribute to this new and emerging industry, offering different perspectives and points of view. Our White Paper, we hope, is only the start.

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Bryan OakMigrating Business Applications to the Cloud – White Paper