Cigref has published a report on the work of its working group on « Cloud migration strategies », led by Jean-Christophe Lalanne, EVP IT at Air France KLM, and Stéphane Rousseau, CIO at Eiffage. The migration paths to the cloud are multiple, with many starting and ending lines. This report proposes to review the major questions that Cigref member organisations are currently asking themselves about the migration of existing IT to the cloud.
The cloud, the domain that drives all others
Cloud computing is no longer just a subdomain among others in the digital sector, it is now the one that controls all the others. The cloud offers advantages in terms of flexibility, efficiency, security and scalability. All fields of digital innovation—artificial intelligence, IoT, edge computing, industry 4.0, to name but a few—are now being shaped in cloud computing environments. The latter will become the essential foundation for the information systems of companies and public administrations in the coming years.
So, large companies and public administrations are currently in a period of transition. The Cigref working group estimates that most companies will have moved to the cloud in five years’ time. Several aspects encourage this take-up, such as speed of innovation, cybersecurity, globalisation, technical obsolescence, scaling up, and environmental demands.
Business and technological stakes
Most companies say that the transition to cloud computing is considered for business issues first, such as agility, time-to-market, technology, and method. Migrating to the cloud is also an opportunity for companies to tackle technological challenges, map their software bases, process some of their technical debt, better secure their information systems and optimise their networks.
Nevertheless, there is a real difficulty in estimating, evaluating and monitoring the cloud transition programme in a financial sense and then monitoring cloud services’ consumption. Cloud computing presupposes a radically different financial model from the traditional investment in a data centre, which is a model that is not managed in the same way. Finalising the business case to switch to the cloud is a real challenge. Cloud computing’s contributions to responsiveness and time-to-market are difficult to measure financially. In addition, service consumption can quickly become very significant and complex to understand, making a FinOps approach necessary. Globally, the ecosystem collectively still lacks perspective on the success and economic gains that can be achieved by migration.
The importance of understanding cloud migration
The transformation brought about by cloud migration is also shaking up organisations. This requires a reflection on how the teams can progressively take ownership of the issues, opportunities and challenges and how digital departments can reorganise their activities. Cigref member companies see the need for new business units and skills. They can foresee a profound change in how IT teams will function in the medium term.
In addition, the choice to migrate to cloud computing and the methods for doing so are structural for IT. Knowing the technology partners and suppliers is necessary in order to be able to make informed choices. A balance must be found between the economic, legal and technological advantages, gains, risks and impacts that these choices, particularly the choice of partner, can have for organisations.
Finally, this transformation is accompanied by the development of new ways of working, based in particular on a test & learn approach. Companies must undergo a change of mindset and overcome a long learning curve to address all the questions and aspects of cloud computing. This is why they especially need to learn from each other’s experiences.
This working group demonstrates that there are many migration paths to cloud computing, with many starting and end points. This report offers a review of the major questions that Cigref member organisations are currently asking themselves about migrating the existing IT to the cloud.