The latest insights from 50 techies who love what they do.
In my first post of this series, I introduced the idea of Migration Resistant applications.
Migration Resistant applications are legacy applications currently hosted on dedicated in-house or private data center servers that have one or more attributes that make them difficult to migrate to the cloud. These are the applications that are always dropping to the bottom of the list when prioritizing applications to be moved to the cloud.
In part 2 I took a deeper dive to explore the five technical characteristics that make applications migration resistant and lead to an accumulation of technical debt over time.
In this post I’ll look at three business characteristics that contribute to making an application more migration resistant.
Internal Accounting Complexity - Because your applications serve numerous business functions and departments, any chargeback policy for those applications makes them migration resistant. They likely required significant negotiation and complex cost accounting schemes to implement. Any changes to the application’s functionality and/or business processes, including moving the application to the cloud, put those budgetary negotiations back in play while also changing the underlying cost structure.
Nevertheless, migrating an application to the cloud can provide increased granularity of usage statistics enabling a higher level of cost accounting transparency, significantly easing chargeback complexity.
If accounting complexity is a primary barrier to moving an application to the cloud in your organization, I suggest taking these three steps:
Critical for Regulatory Compliance - When an application processes and stores data that is highly regulated and critical from a risk management perspective, you likely have a migration resistant application.
Early in the cloud era, regulatory compliance requirements such as HIPAA or HITRUST in health care, SOX, GLB and KYC in financial or PCI-DSS in retail were often insurmountable barriers to moving key legacy applications to the cloud. Today major cloud providers have regulatory experience, standard operating processes and security safeguards that enable compliance constrained applications to be successfully hosted on cloud infrastructures. In fact, major cloud providers are now striking deals to host classified data from various government agencies.
If your application is critical for regulatory compliance, here are four suggestions for evaluating the migration readiness of your compliance constrained application:.
Business Critical - Applications that are absolutely integral to delivering a core capability/function of your organization, are nearly, by definition, migration resistant.
If the thought of a particular application going through a major outage makes you break out in a cold sweat, it’s business critical. When these types of applications fail, production stops, stores cannot receive money, and/or nothing gets shipped out the back door. Because they are so critical to the organization’s ability to function these applications are often on the bottom of the list to migrate to the cloud.
Four suggestions for migrating these business critical applications:
Technical Executives Beware
It is tempting for CIOs, CTOs and VPs of infrastructure who rose to leadership through technical competence to think of cloud migration as primarily a technical challenge. For applications like the ones I have explored in this series of posts the biggest challenges are organizational not technical.
Be wary of relying too much on your team’s technical prowess. Rather, pay attention to risk, regulation, compliance and non-technical stakeholders with their concerns. Get the accounting right. Then you and your team can be the hero for getting the organization migrated to a more flexible and scalable infrastructure that’s fit for the future.