Cloud Migration vs Digital Transformation, what’s the difference and what do you choose for your business? Well, let’s answer a few questions to clear things up.
It seems a reasonable question, however, I would argue that the two are quite distinct. To get us started, let’s begin with how I define the two.
What is cloud migration?
Cloud Migration is simply the process of changing your underlying IT infrastructure from one IT platform to another. It can be seen as a largely linear process (albeit at an ‘individual’ IT system level), with a clear end goal: to move from on-premises (or co-located) infrastructure, to a cloud-based infrastructure.
What is digital transformation?
Digital Transformation is an organisational strategy that looks to leverage technology to improve the service it provides to both its clients and its employees. More importantly, Digital Transformation can be seen as a mindset that continues to drive improvements in a way that could be described as ‘Business as Usual’. It is best to think of it as an ongoing process utilising IT to transform and improve the way a business works now and into the future. Giving the business the digital tools and capabilities to thrive.
So when considering Cloud Migration vs Digital Transformation, how are the two linked?
Cloud migration can be seen as an enabler for Digital Transformation. Why? Well, the clue’s in the name, i.e. ‘Digital’ Transformation. Prior to today’s modern cloud landscape, IT strategies were constrained by ‘traditional’, three to five-year IT budget cycles. In a world where the total worldwide technical knowledge is doubling every two years; this traditional approach simply doesn’t lend itself to an innovation culture.
By migrating to, and wholeheartedly adopting a cloud infrastructure from the rich variety of cloud technologies available today; organisations can leverage these technologies to help drive innovation (i.e. Digital Transformation) throughout their organisation. How? Well, here are a few examples of how cloud migration can help to drive Digital Transformation within their organisations:
Cloud Enabling Agile Working
Events over the last two years have made agile (i.e. Home) working something of a norm. Arguably, this was less about Digital Transformation, and more about organisational survival; however a well-executed, cloud-based agile working strategy provides a distinct advantage to a Digital Transformation strategy, beyond the obvious benefits of an improved work-life balance for employees with the likes of the ability for digital workplaces through platforms such as Microsoft 365.
The UK Government recently announced a £2bn investment in Information Technology for the UK’s NHS. The principle aim of this is to ensure that frontline NHS staff will have access to the latest information at the point of service delivery; improving the quality of service delivered; whilst reducing waiting times. To be effective, this £2bn investment will have to leverage cloud technologies if it is to avoid becoming another failed government IT initiative. If successful, I can think of no better definition of Digital Transformation than this.
Cloud-based Automation Features
Process automation sits at the very heart of a Digital Transformation strategy. Whether it be used to improve how an organisation interacts with its clients, or its employees; automation represents a win/win in terms of improving service, whilst reducing the operational costs typically associated with doing so.
We’ve supported many clients and their digital transformation initiatives. Following a move to the Microsoft Azure Cloud; our cloud experts help them to exploit the wide range of automation technologies available to them via the Dynamics/Power Platform product set. Examples of this include the use of Microsoft’s Power Automate which allows our client, One Fylde, to have documents automatically filed in the correct places. Power Automate is able to recognise that any documents with sensitive information need to be filed in a secure folder. It also recognises when specific documents need reviewing by a certain date and will notify the suitable staff member. You can read about their digital transformation in their case study here. This can be applied across all business types and processes. Whether that’s automatically sending quotes for approval, reminding managers of pending personal development reviews, or even notifying customers where parking spaces are free in a car park, the possibilities are endless.
Technological Artificial Intelligence
Speaking of improving how organisations interact with their clients and employees. The increasing availability, and sophistication, of cloud-based Artificial Intelligence, means that organisations can now bake AI into many of their automated processes. Whether the AI is working behind the scenes (for example monitoring CCTV for specific events), or interacting directly with end-users via Bots; AI is set to play an increasingly important role in any organisation’s Digital Transformation strategy.
It is the likes of which that would allow systems to know when a parking space is free in a car park. Not only this, but AI allows businesses to have data gathered, interpreted, and presented on their behalf in real-time. This is beneficial for understanding customer trends or specific buying cycles. Sales figures can be displayed as they come in, making reporting simple.
IT System Integration
Cloud technologies from the likes of Microsoft Azure, are inherently ‘connecty’. I know that’s not a real word, but I struggled to find a better one. By ‘connecty’, I mean that cloud-based technologies will generally be accessible via standard APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), such as the REST API. These allow differing cloud-based services to communicate in a secure, yet highly standardised way; enabling a level of system integration to be achieved in a manner that would have previously been unheard of, or at best, be cost-prohibitive, with security and compliance required to meet business needs.
If Cloud Migration vs Digital Transformation has found its way onto your organisation’s strategic agenda (and it probably has), and you’re not yet embracing cloud technologies wherever possible; then you could do no better than reviewing your Cloud Migration strategy. Whilst the two are distinctly separate; they are intimately entwined; and it is the Cloud that will provide the overwhelming majority of technical innovation in the years ahead. If you’re still considering whether cloud is for your business, here’s a Forbe’s article that oulines why you should migrate to the cloud, as well as the benefits, or you can read our blog that outlines 10 real business benefits of migrating to the cloud. Alternatively, if you need more information on cloud migration planning, data migration, cloud transformation best practices, and more, we are available to answer any of your questions.
We’re always happy to help!
Sales & Marketing Director