Migration Strategies Compared: Traditional System Integrator vs Cloud-native Partner

Post • 6 min read

In the current environment, IT projects need to tick 2 boxes: cost savings and value delivery. Cloud migration ticks both – when you have the right strategy and partner supporting your end-to-end cloud migration approach. Here, we analyse 3 elements driving cloud success:

  • Automation - which is key to achieving cost savings and agility with cloud
  • Operating models and governance - which are key to speeding up time to market and deriving long-term value with cloud
  • Cloud managed services - because your approach to managed services is key to maximise cost savings and innovation delivery post-migration

In this article, we review the cost and value implications of working with a traditional SI vs a cloud-native provider, and how it affects these 3 elements of your cloud migration strategy.

Automation – key to cost savings and agility

Data centre migration to the cloud is often simplified into a binary choice. Either you lift-and-shift everything, retaining existing inefficiencies. Or you go through an expensive transformation initiative to untangle your complex digital and data estate. This is a false choice. It’s possible to achieve a fast data centre exit while future-proofing your architecture and reducing technical debt. But automation is crucial to this, so you must start by qualifying partners based on their ability to automate. 

Traditional SI & automation

A traditional SI typically has less than 10% public cloud workload penetration. This means their processes are optimised for manual, legacy data centre-type delivery (because they’re geared towards delivering for the 90% on-premises). There’s little to no established automation capability, and it can take months to get it in place. As a result, it’s easy to end up with a lengthy transformation consultancy initiative. Migration itself requires time-consuming customisation, and managed services are ticket-based. 

Cloud-native provider & automation

A cloud-native provider has 100% workloads in public cloud. They have established, automation-driven tools and processes to speed up migration, host operations and managed services. This includes everything from mature automated landing zones to patch and back-up automation. 

There’s no need for an expensive planning process because you can do a tool-driven review to develop the business case and roadmap. As a benchmark, we deliver a TCO assessment within 2 weeks and a recommended migration approach within 4 weeks, so there’s no analysis paralysis.

Thanks to automation, you can have a fixed-price migration instead of a budget based on hourly cost (giving you more control and transparency). An experienced infrastructure automation person is 10x more productive than a legacy counterpart. And all this means you see savings and ROI faster.

Operating models and governance – key to fast time-to-market and long-term value

27.5% of companies say their number one modernisation challenge is accelerating development cycle times. And only 15% can push code into production weekly or more frequently.  Migrating to cloud can speed up time to market for new features and capabilities, thanks to flexible architecture and faster development cycles. But it has to be more than just a hosting change. 

Cloud is a foundation for new ways of working (agile/DevOps). Without cloud-enabled operating and governance models in place, you won’t maximise the cost and value benefits from migration.

The traditional SI approach...

Too often, the SI migration approach is focused on a lift and shift, cloud migration strategy, retaining legacy inefficiencies. You end up using cloud primarily for capacity, with teams continuing with old ways of working. This means you’re missing opportunities for cost savings and value creation. As a result:

  • You’re not fully optimising consumption, which drives up TCO
  • Your application and data estate haven’t been optimised for cloud, which can lead to higher ongoing management costs
  • You don’t have the culture and processes in place to speed up development cycles, which means you have the opportunity cost associated with slower times to market

The cloud-native approach

A cloud-native provider helps you migrate to modernise, with the right operating and governance models embedded from the beginning. You exit your data centre in the way that’s right for your business, with an efficient roadmap for refactoring and replatforming to maximise cloud benefits for your infrastructure, application and data estate. 

Knowledge transfer and upskilling are built into the process, so your organisation can quickly prepare for cloud and benefit from a Cloud Centre of Excellence. Teams are engaged with and nurtured through the transformation, creating a bridge for your traditional infra people and giving you a foundation for driving sustainable value. 

Because you have this robust foundation of operating model and governance, you can scale out quickly and cost-effectively, as well as respond flexibly to changing customer requirements.

Cloud managed services – key to cost savings and innovation velocity

Once you’re up and running on cloud, you face 3 different cost types:

  • The cost of use – the cost to run the systems, incorporating capacity, development and support
  • The cost of unavailability – from service instability to security breaches, these are costs of not running systems as desired
  • The cost of inflexibility – the real and opportunity costs incurred when systems can’t keep up with changing needs

Traditional SI managed services approach

An on-premises managed services approach doesn’t translate to the cloud when it comes to managing these costs. The traditional SI managed service model penalises downtime, which effectively disincentivises changes and stifles innovation. It’s ticket-based and generally involves outsourcing, which means teams don’t have enough control to deliver true innovation ongoing. 

A cloud managed services approach

Cloud-native managed services are designed to minimise costs of use, unavailability and inflexibility – and to free teams to focus on delivering customer value. 

  • There’s no vendor lock-in, long contracts, enforced software or minimum requirements beyond the service
  • You benefit from scalability on demand, so your service model reflects the way you use cloud – optimising capacity and performance
  • By maximising use of PaaS and automation, you reduce support costs, increase resilience and boost development
  • There’s partner integration with your internal teams – using DevOps and agile to accelerate innovation velocity.
Fig 1: How do the 2 approaches match up

Be recognised for driving a successful cost saving and value creation initiative

When you have the right approach to automation, operating models, governance and managed services, your cloud migration will maximise savings, future-proof your architecture, reduce ongoing technical debt and drive business value.

The key: having a cloud-native partner that’s the right fit for your objectives, digital maturity and culture. That way, you have a compass guiding you through the migration journey, helping you avoid pitfalls that cause unnecessary cost, delay and risk.

The result: a cloud migration that delivers the cost savings, agility, speed and innovation velocity the business needs - over the short and long term.

What next?

Download our Data Centre Exit strategy guide: Your guide to a smooth DC exit.

Ilja SummalaLinkedInGroup CTO
Ilja’s passion and tech knowledge help customers transform how they manage infrastructure and develop apps in cloud.

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Ilja Summala
Ilja’s passion and tech knowledge help customers transform how they manage infrastructure and develop apps in cloud.
Ilja Summala LinkedIn
Group CTO