Brett Stineman, director at Dell Boomi, discusses the key considerations when migrating your business’s processes to an application cloud environment

Cloud adoption saw impressive growth last year – and 2017 is certainly geared up to follow in its footsteps. In fact, Gartner expects overall demand for cloud computing to grow by 18% this year. With this trend becoming increasingly popular with enterprises around the globe, it is indeed plausible to believe that in 15 months, 80% of all IT budgets will be committed to cloud applications and solutions.

There has been a significant uptick in the amount of enterprises moving applications to the cloud, but it’s also important to note that the cloud means different things to different people. For example, it can be shared or rented IT infrastructure, or data or document storage, and it can be a development and deployment platform for custom applications. It can also be used for the automation of business functions using a shared, configurable application that includes all infrastructure, maintenance and platform development services.

While cloud adoption is undoubtedly on the rise, there are still a considerable amount of organisations with on premise applications. In fact, 65% of enterprise workloads currently reside in enterprise owned and operated data centres.

There is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ approach in the world of application cloud, and there are a few things to consider before your business moves its process into a cloud application suite.

Businesses should expect nothing less than to be in full control when it comes to their data and applications

Firstly, expect big things. The new class of cloud apps have an abundance of functions and are easy to configure and change. Enhanced software engineering processes and tools, combined with quicker release cycles and high levels of competition, are producing better and richer applications than previously available on premise.

Secondly, you can expect a fully formed application. Your organisation needs more than just a web-based user interface to collect, store and access your data. It needs something that supports business processes via workflow and best practices. It is likely that your business has hundreds of applications running on a platform and the accumulated wisdom about best practices has been installed into these applications from the outset. Make use of this knowledge.

Make a choice  

With numerous cloud application platforms spanning across all areas of the business, from sales and marketing to HR and finance, there is no single area short of competition. To ensure you are getting a true cloud application, consider all of your options and shop around to find the one platform that suits your business that best.

A further consideration needs to be made around flexibility. The dark days of new releases causing downtime and breaking unique customisations are a distant memory. In fact, fast update cycles are now considered the norm. Application platforms have undergone a huge transformation and are now built to be flexible and customised. Tomorrow’s cloud suites enable rich data models that allow apps to be configured and changed all from the same platform.

subregion_11That said, just because you can, doesn’t mean you always should. It’s important to concentrate on 20% of the customisations that provide 80% of the business value to achieve success.

Faultless security

Considering there has been an abundance of high-profile cyber-attacks recently, it’s no wonder that Forrester has predicted cloud security spend will reach £2.75 billion by 2021. With the GDPR coming into effect next year, security and access control have never been more important for a business. Security is now embedded in most cloud application suites right from the outset. Today, businesses should expect nothing less than to be in full control when it comes to their data and applications.

A steep learning curve 

All the configurability, richness and role-based security and visibility requires you and your team to acquire a new set of skills. This is a daunting yet necessary task when moving applications to the cloud. Investment in training and advice from experienced implementation partners will be hugely valuable on your journey.

Despite its challenges, the business case for migrating to a cloud application suite is compelling

There is no denying that automated integrations will play a significant role in the future of the business. Reducing the manual maintenance to operate and maintain applications will help IT teams work more efficiently. Rich integrations centralise the creation, maintenance and updating of integrations through simple drag-and-drop interfaces – without the need for coding – bringing data, apps and systems together to provide a fast and flexible user experience.

There is no time like the present to start envisioning your business processes in the cloud. Despite its challenges, the business case for migrating to a cloud application suite is compelling. These considerations should give you an idea of the steps your business needs to take to unlock its full potential.