6 years ago, a PM asked the author “what is cloud computing?”, his answer at that time was “it is a computer running somewhere else which you can access through the internet.”, the PM then replied, “this sounds full of potential.”
Time flies, in 2014, IDG reported that “70% of CIOs will embrace a cloud-first strategy by 2016“¹. Enterprises are having their systems moving to cloud or transforming them.
|“55% of CIOs indicated they would source all their critical apps in the cloud by 2020.”²||“70% of CIOs will embrace a cloud-first strategy by 2016.”|
This book seeks to provide a picture of the cloud transformation journey based on real-world stories where we supported our customer leveraging the-more-than-20-years-old-system to the cloud (Azure or others), including collaboration and communication platforms like IBM Lotus Notes. This journey includes 4 phase: Identification, Assessment, Transformation and Evaluation.
Focusing in the transformation
Legacy systems transformation often starts with the internal force: How to improve operation efficiency, shorten development time and enable IT innovation within the organization. In most cases, these targets are simplified with 2 E word, “Economic” and “Efficiency”.
The best comparison we found is to give customer a clear image on how cloud computing shift a company investment model from CAPEX (Capital expenditure) to OPEX (Operating Expense). In short,” pay-as-you-go”. In long, no more investment in the expensive data center, electricity, cooling systems, servers, networks, 24×7 staffs, storage, security gate, backup headache, ad hoc expand, cleaning everything, the tax thing and etc…
Still not enough for economic benefits? How about an 80% TCO reduction³?
In a traditional IT house, it usually takes weeks to months for a resource request to be handled, thus leading to low efficiency, and this is one of the main obstacles slowing down enterprise innovation. With cloud on demand resource, this problem no longer exists. Now IT department can shift the workload from maintenance to innovation, utilize cloud resource to make things move faster, enabling new capabilities.
- Quickly provision and retire new environment with templates or a few clicks though management portal.
- Leverage pre-configured templates.
- Pay for what you used.
Hybrid and Global Reach
- Master/slave or CDN deployment models are strongly supported.
- Expand existing resources to the cloud though direct connection.
Deployment and Management ease
- Utilize modern management tool sets.
- Eliminate low productive time waiting for source code building and deployment by applying CI/CD platform without worrying about new infra procurement.
Flexible licensing/payment options
- Wide range of licensing model supported.
Utilizing cloud computing power in system development.
Here is an example of how cloud transformation brings new customer experience to a second hand car dealer. Imagine a customer arrive at a sales office, the camera at the parking slot quickly scan the number plate, matching with customer database. Once the customer information is returned, the system automatically checks history database, including information about customer behaviors, requests and other SNS posts, then automatically assign a suitable salesperson to interact with the customer.
The development of a system this size used to take the customer years before launching. By adopting cloud computing power and agile process in development, the team was able to skip time for building code, integrating module faster, avoiding last-minute error before launching any versions of the product. Furthermore, the system update is scheduled to be delivered automatically every day at 12:00 AM after passing all automation test, also triggered automatically. Once the system is updated, the center controller notify user with an email including URL for sending feedbacks. Those feedbacks are summarized and brought onto the table for discussion once or twice a week, turning into input for the sprint after.
Choosing the right place to move on
An essential part of any migration/transformation project is to have good grief on where you are moving to. With cloud computing, there are multiple destinations: Infra-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Software-as-a-Service. Also notes that you can always choose a mixture design for your systems.
In real-world, most of the time a system transformation involves a mixture selection, like using SharePoint 2013 together with SharePoint Online for better accessibility while keeping your sensitive data right close to you.
Talking about connecting SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online, this is where we encounter the term “hybrid cloud”, having half of the thing here and the rest somewhere else. In fact, hybrid approach is often selected for keeping the old, legacy systems while waiting for new IT budget to move them onto cloud.
We have public cloud, hybrid cloud, and of course, we have the private one, where cost saving is not as important as data privacy and security, while daily efficiencies issues get resolved in some way.
Putting all those public cloud, hybrid cloud and private one together with on premise in one place for comparison, we have below chart.
3. Transformation and Evaluation
“Of the user, for the user, by the user”
After all, the systems are created to serve users, both internal and external ones. This makes changes management becomes the most important success factors in all projects we have done, either it is delivered in the form of closed workshop or though update notification. From more than 10 years doing the transformation project, we have seen that our most successful ones share the same characteristic: all steps are done thanks to close communication between project teams and the users (or customers).
Different users require different contents and communication tactics, in our projects, we often divide users into groups with a common interest in the transformation works.
Thus, the cloud transformation project does not end when the system is delivered. It is crucial to keep the momentum of transformation, pushing innovation further, focus on feedback from users, customers though the official or unofficial channel. One method for this proactive feedback model is by adopting the build-measure-learn principal altogether with Agile development methodology.
This approach ensures that all feedback from the user are processed carefully and would be applied to other release in the future. Based on this proactive feedback activities, enterprises can develop their competitiveness, identifying necessary skills and capabilities while keeping the system renovation momentum rolling.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”. (Charles Darwin).
In a crazy world where everything is going to be connected; every piece of data is going to be analyzed by artificial intelligence, doing business-as-usual is not an option. By leveraging cloud computing, improving flexibilities in the system development process, enterprises can not only reduce the operation cost but also create space for further innovation, bring more value-added service to user in various forms, generating a new revenue stream. Therefore, fully exploit the potential business opportunities to ensure market leadership.
About the author
Mr. Tran Duc Tri Quang is FPT Japan CTO and also works as a technical consultant working at FPT Software, taking responsibilities for cloud adoption and IoT business. He has 11 years of experiences in the transformation project including 5 years working with cloud technologies. Together with the team, more than 30 customers have been supported in the cloud transformation journey, varies from legacy system migration till building a new platform for CI/CD.
Also, as a pioneer in applying artificial intelligent in improving life quality, Mr. Quang is leading a team of 8 SMEs to transform air conditioning (AC) industry, turning existing AC into smart ones that care about owner living rhythm, following human circadian, providing the optimal environment for a different lifestyle. This project is coming online in 2019 Sep.
During his career, Quang has been focusing on applying different technologies for solving enterprise pain points, from online collaboration environment to boosting store sales. Since 2017, aside from external-facing tasks, he has also been focusing in building up the capabilities for FPT to answer Japanese customer request locally.
¹ IDC, CIO webinar, 2014
² Smith, David Mitchell et al. Predicts 2014: Cloud Computing Affects All Aspects of IT. Gartner, Inc. December 4, 2013
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