December marked the opening of the much-anticipated fourth instalment of The Matrix franchise, which transports viewers across the world to a computer-generated dream world in which they will effectively live a virtual life.
Famously, computer hacker Neo is faced with the decision between a red and a blue pill, in the original movie. This results in a life-changing choice between the willingness to learn a potentially unsettling or life-changing truth by taking the red pill, or remaining in contented ignorance with the blue pill.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the nation to work remotely, it also forced businesses to mirror Neo’s decision regarding their cloud automation venture, putting their own judgement towards the “red pill or blue pill” at the forefront. So, what does this mean for businesses? If they choose the blue pill, they will migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud while leaving their current IT architecture relatively unchanged. This does solve some practical problems, but also leaves huge amount of untapped potential. If businesses choose the blue pill, it’s quite the opposite – they admit that the expansive benefits of the cloud can only be achieved by taking a risk and noticeably changing their business tactics.
Ultimately, the question is, which pill should businesses take to escape the matrix and successfully utilise cloud technology?
Consciously Rehost with the Blue Pill
Cloud platforms have proven for over a decade how organisations can completely transform their business, simplify complexity, and stay prepared for the future. By choosing the blue pill, businesses understand that the option to fully migrate to the cloud — the red pill — exists but have still chosen the alternative. Making this conscious decision means businesses have chosen not to make significant changes to their IT infrastructure and instead kept the shift to the cloud to the bare minimum. But, if migrating to the cloud is so great, why choose the blue pill?
It’s true that during the pandemic, more enterprises realised how constrained they are with an on-premises IT infrastructure that can’t accommodate a remote workforce. However, the pandemic also caused leaders to think about where to cut costs and limit investments; this meant many businesses could only rehost (lift and shift) their infrastructure. One thing is clear: For those relying on in-house server platforms, embracing the cloud is a lot easier said than done.
That’s not to say that choosing the blue pill is the wrong option. “Blue pill” businesses will often choose to save money and time now to “get to the cloud” quicker and plan to deal with application modernisation once they have migrated. The benefits of this rehosting strategy includes limited project cost, effort and complexity compared to re-platforming and refactoring. However, businesses shouldn’t forget that this may lead to the migration of brittle processes to the cloud. Furthermore, existing applications outside the cloud can be inefficient and expensive; and if the application has an existing problem, known or unknown, it will likely bring that problem to the cloud.
Choosing to rehost infrastructure seems like the safer option, but just like in the Matrix, businesses will fail to realise the true benefits unless they choose complete cloud migration.
Reassemble with the Red pill
The pandemic highlighted the need for cloud migration. But cloud migration isn’t just about moving to the cloud; it involves a state of continuous reinvention if the cloud strategy is to reduce costs and create new opportunities — it’s no wonder this option appears to be a hard pill to swallow. The red pill approach is about disrupting your market, without disrupting your business during cloud migration. This means eliminating silos between infrastructure and application and architect cloud-native solutions that address key business problems.
Different organisations have different reasons for choosing the red pill option. Some businesses are moving to the cloud to keep up with latest technology trends like IoT, video, chat solutions, and exponential growth in data associated with these technologies. Other organisations that aren’t in technology-focused industries are seeing an increase in technology needs. But rather than hiring more technology-specific staff, they need to rely on cloud vendors to maintain their systems so that the organisation can focus on the work that matters — whether that’s customer service or manufacturing the highest quality product.
The operational benefits of the cloud have been clear during the COVID-19 pandemic —helping staff transition to working remotely and contributing to business resilience during an ongoing, major disruption. With all great things there will be a number of challenges. According to Deloitte’s Cloud Survey 2021 the complexity of migration and clarity of ambition were the most common barriers to cloud adoption indicating the need for careful consideration and planning.
However, this hasn’t deterred organisations away as nearly 90% of organisations are using cloud infrastructure or are planning to do so in the next three years. By choosing this cloud-only or red pill approach, businesses will need to rethink their way of working and use this as an opportunity to modernise legacy processes to achieve the best outcome.
Migration to the cloud
The benefits of migrating to the cloud range from reduced costs, increased flexibility, and enabling collaboration with the current distributed workforce. In order for these to be advantageous, it depends on the approach a business takes. It’s imperative that businesses make the decision that aligns best with their future goals, so that the transition to the cloud reaps the benefits they desire.
Leaders must ensure that their technology investment is the right decision, as ways of conducting business are constantly evolving. However, businesses have the freedom of choice, and unlike the movies, they can transition between the red pill and the blue pill.
About the Author
Attar Naderi is UK Business Manager at Laserfiche. Laserfiche is the leading SaaS provider of intelligent content management and business process automation. Through powerful workflows, electronic forms, document management and analytics, the Laserfiche® platform eliminates manual processes and automates repetitive tasks, accelerating how business gets done.
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