Why not move your application to the cloud?

It never takes long, when I talk with people about cloud computing, before the question comes up. “How do I move my application to the cloud?”

Oftentimes, the resistance that lurks in that question points to the hidden question that should be answered first: “Why should I move my application to the cloud?”.

And the answer then becomes simple: if there is no business reason to move your application to the cloud, then don’t do it. I cannot state it more simple. If you see no benefit, don’t touch it. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

In my professional career as an IT strategy consultant I have never seen a positive business case for moving an application unchanged to a new platform. There has to be a business driver, the most minimal one being a forced platform or version upgrade.

Businesses (or consultants and vendors!) seeking opportunities for moving applications to the cloud should look for the change imperative. Which compelling reason is there to move?

Examples of such reasons are: severe shortage of modern functionality, serious growth in user base, demand for deploying it to more, and more mobile users, or risky/nonexistent disaster recovery capability. Such situations merit investment in a new application deployment.

But the most interesting application opportunities to focus on are the ones that are ‘cloud-native’: they exist preferably in the cloud. Examples would be analytics on data that is already in the cloud, such as customer behavior statistics, or fundamentally changing the customer experience by complementing it with an online service, such as Xerox’s CloudPrint.


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