Cloud migration: 3 top business advantages

Cloud skeptics looking for a quick ROI are missing the point. Here are three ways the cloud can position your business for exponential growth
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Despite the global trend toward cloud migration, some businesses are pushing back, claiming the productivity and cost savings aren’t living up to their expectations. In fact, a recent McKinsey survey found that 75 percent of respondents went over budget on their cloud migration process and 38 percent were behind schedule.

The real issue here is likely about expectations. While it’s generally true that cloud migration isn’t going to save money compared to your datacenter spend, it does provide the opportunity to exponentially boost your business’ potential.

Those who claim cloud migration isn’t worth the cost are the same ones who view the cloud as just another datacenter rather than an investment in a whole new set of tools and opportunities. The real beauty of the cloud lies in its extreme scalability and elasticity, the ability to get more innovative with your deployments, and potential improvements to the user experience.

1. Rapidly handle changes in workload

The cloud allows for rapid scalability – both up and down – to meet your business’ changing needs. To increase your footprint in a traditional datacenter requires adding more machines and onboarding new equipment to increase your capabilities, and in many cases changes to contracts. Scaling down in a traditional datacenter typically just means wasting resources as you have unused space and equipment.

[ Also read Moving cloud workloads: 4 essential strategies. ]

The cloud, on the other hand, can be quickly scaled to allow for changes in workload overtime, letting you handle change more efficiently as your needs grow or contract. Additionally, the elasticity of the cloud allows you to easily manage dynamic workload changes – for example, Black Friday sales spikes.

With datacenters, not much happens “rapidly.” While you can certainly adjust and adapt in these traditional environments, the agility of the cloud is a significant benefit that goes beyond a budget line. Improving change management in today’s fluctuating economy is a huge boon to any business that wants the freedom to innovate.

2. Opening the door to creative deployment

With the cloud’s ability to replicate entire environments in seconds and allow for iterations at scale, businesses can innovate their platforms in new ways, such as with progressive delivery. The agility of the cloud allows businesses to deploy new iterations of software repeatedly at the enterprise. With progressive delivery, businesses roll out features gradually or to select audiences, negating the need – and the risk – of a “big bang” software launch to all users.

With the cloud’s self-service nature powered by progressive delivery, businesses enjoy freedom to innovate and deploy new features on a much more fluid timeline. Rather than focusing on avoiding failure, the mindset becomes one of “fail-fast,” in which failure is expected and easily corrected by simply toggling a feature off if a problem arises.

Progressive delivery techniques allow business to roll out new features that are incremental improvements more frequently – effectively mitigating risk and limiting user exposure to problematic features. This fail-fast mindset breeds innovation and frees developers to build and test new features instead of spending the lion’s share of their time refining code for large-scale releases.

[ Accelerate application development while reducing cost and complexity. Download the eBook: Modernize your IT with managed cloud services ]

With unmatched responsiveness and agility, the cloud goes much further than a traditional datacenter. Cloud migration enables new development, revolutionizes delivery, and speeds up the entire process end-to-end – which really shines when it comes to user experience.

Cloud migration enables new development, revolutionizes delivery, and speeds up the entire process end-to-end – which really shines when it comes to user experience.

3. A seamless, more responsive user experience

With the focus on immediate cost savings and productivity gains, cloud-wary businesses aren’t considering the benefits a cloud migration provides for their users. A hallmark of progressive delivery is feature flags – the ability to create multiple micro-iterations and toggle features on and off for certain subsets of your user population. This allows you to test new features with a controlled audience and deploy at scale the ones that prove most effective.

Feature flags also help your users by preventing too many of them from interfacing with problem code before you can resolve it. Also, using progressive delivery enables companies to update their platform incrementally without interrupting users or forcing them to relearn a whole new interface or system.

Besides enabling seamless, rolling updates, the cloud also bests datacenters by taking edge computing all the way to the finish line. The cloud reduces latency and lag time, resulting in a faster experience for users, no matter their location – or yours.

Investing in business growth

Cloud migration is a monumental step for any business, and they are right to expect a solid return on investment (ROI) from the change. However, expecting the value of the cloud to come in immediate cost savings and production increases is ignoring the true value the cloud can bring to a business. Treating the cloud like just another datacenter deployment isn’t going to bring the promised benefits, but when businesses utilize the cloud’s full potential, the ROI can be unbelievable.

Done right, a cloud migration allows businesses to scale operations, get more creative in development, and interact with their users in a safer, faster, more effective way. So, if you’re still a cloud-doubter, stop getting caught up in the “bits and bytes” and start focusing on the overall transformation a cloud migration can enable.

[ Ready to deploy a hybrid cloud strategy? Get the free eBook, Hybrid Cloud Strategy for Dummies. ]

Sacha Labourey is Co-Founder and Interim Chief Executive Officer at CloudBees, the enterprise software delivery company. Sacha has been an active leader in open source software for twenty years. He was a core contributor to Marc Fleury’s JBoss project, implementing its original clustering features.