Gartner Report: Treating Migration as Transformation Is Essential to Success

A recent Gartner study shows that while cloud maturation is increasing across industries, many organisations are falling into a trap of their own making. They are treating cloud migration as a technical project, not a business transformation. This creates an expectation of modernisation gains while processes and capabilities remain stagnant.

As organisations grapple with Web 3.0, observe enormous shifts in the world of work, and contemplate their next moves in the pandemic era, one thing is clear: Adaptation is no longer optional.

For many, and certainly for most who have ambitions of leading their industry, that adaptation comes in the form of a digital transformation. A reimagining and reconfiguration of the way their business operates from concept to delivery, to modernise and optimise at a wholesale level.

This disconnect of expectation will be a point of frustration for many. The trend suggests that too often, leaders migrate apps under the assumption that on-prem and cloud will offer the same functionality to deliver in isolation. This occurs without altering the operational strategy of the business to complement new infrastructure with vastly more potential.

A Planned Contemplation of Cloud

Paul Delory, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, predicts that cloud adoption “will accelerate still further in the years to come,” and explains the major benefit as allowing smart business leaders to “respond quickly to opportunities — or threats.”

While aspiring to cloud maturity is pulling you in the right direction, you’re unlikely to reach your destination without a map, regardless of how much gas you have in the tank. Transformation is widely accepted as a “notoriously tough and organisationally complex” journey.

Transformation requires careful planning across the entirety of the organisation. You have vendors to consider that align with your strategic vision, decisions to make about hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructure, and talent gaps to plug with targeted hiring or internal up-skilling.

The Boston Consultancy Group’s (BCG) report on digital transformation success cites six steps as the differentiators between failure (70% at the time of publishing) and success, each as important and exhaustive as the next. In fact, BCG described it as “crucial to address all six factors… Companies that adequately addressed only three or four failed.”

The Promised Land of Complete Cloud Solutions

While companies want to achieve functional cloud adoption, they may also be doing themselves a disservice by going 50% of the way and assuming it’s far enough. Migrating apps to the cloud alone may feel like progress, but that progress will only drive outcomes if it’s a component of your overall transformation.

When you begin, the end should already be in sight, much like an author who is building up to a predetermined ending to a sprawling novel. A succinct plan is always step one of a successful transformation.

Multi-cloud infrastructures and modernised data capability have been adopted by market leaders, many with great haste in response to the pandemic, because they offer scale, speed, and flexibility far beyond on-premise solutions. What every transformation winner has common is an understanding of what they need to accomplish. They set out to do so with trusted partners in their vendors of choice and by understanding the limitations and opportunities inherent in their chosen infrastructure.

This is all in lockstep with understanding the unique business requirements to successfully manage this transition. While some may look to big name consultancies, others may choose a vendor with multiple resonant solutions and applicable use cases to partner with them. Creating a future for your business that creates a ‘best of all worlds’ stack of capabilities is essential to crafting your competitive edge.

If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.

Jack Welch
Former CEO of General Electric

Jack Welch, General Electric

A Technological Shift Proceeds Cultural Change

From the outset, there is a requirement to allow for and embrace an element of risk, not simply for it’s own sake, but because you’re heading in a new direction. The unknown is fraught with anxiety. Investment, trust, an element of boldness, these are steps that all ambitious organisations must take.

And that ambition must permeate. It’s not enough for you as a senior tech leader to hold your conviction for transformation on your own. Transformation requires planning and buy in on an organisational level because without it, you will be pushing against an insurmountable wall of stasis.

With an organisation pulling in the same direction, you begin to address skills shortages, develop strategies for data modernisation, execute objectives that drive your ideal outcomes, and create the environment for a successful transformation to take place.

The Industry Is Always Right

While some dither, others push through that uncertainty. Former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, famously observed that “if the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”.

That sentiment may never have more resonance than it does right now. In an era of hyper innovation and breakneck accelerations, it’s the responsibility of organisations to keep pace.

As far back as two years ago, a study by Ernst & Young reported that 53% of C-level respondents said their transformation efforts were accelerated by the pandemic by as many as three years. With the gathered evidence, the risks of foregoing a transformation in progressive industries far outweighing the ease of staying put.

Organisations that transform successfully can attract the best talent, optimise spending, and unlock greater capabilities long into the future. It all starts with understanding what’s ahead of you and aligning yourself to the challenge before you begin.