‘Slowly, and then all at once’. This eloquent line from author John Green aptly describes the nature of Cloud migration for South African enterprises. For years, we have discussed the Cloud in abstract terms, tested it out in isolated projects and imagined the possibilities it enables.
Today, as organisations race to transform and lead the way in a new digital economy, Cloud migration is happening in a full-blown, enterprise-wide manner across many large and midsize local organisations.
But for those CIOs and IT leaders that are still struggling to convince their business stakeholders to make the leap into the Cloud, there is a logical way to begin the journey, and attain a ‘quick win’ to propel one forward on their Cloud migration journey.
That quick win can be found in the end-user desktop computing environment.
Carrots and sticks
Consider that all the major global technology vendors are pushing businesses to move to Cloud-hosted software. They’re pricing their Cloud offerings in highly attractive ways (such as consolidating and bundling enterprise license agreements to cover whole suites of software) and starting to raise the prices of the traditional on-premise alternatives.
Cloud ‘laggards’ are not only suffering from a cost perspective. Over the coming few years, these vendors will terminate updates and support for on-premises infrastructure. If you still haven’t started designing your Cloud migration pathway yet, time is certainly running out.
Eventually, on-premises services will be left unsupported, posing massive operational and security risks to the business that fail to migrate to the Cloud.
With Microsoft being the dominant vendor in the end-user computing space, it’s likely that your businesses uses a number of Microsoft services – such as Microsoft Exchange, Windows, Outlook, Internet Explorer, SharePoint, Skype for Business among other popular tools.
The Windows 10 platform – delivered as a service to enterprise users – represents the ideal ‘first step’ on one’s journey to Cloud migration. From there, as confidence levels build, one can move more complex and bespoke systems (like ERP, CRM and other major engines) into Cloud environments.
By shifting to Windows 10 as a Service, businesses gain the advantages of the latest feature enhancements and security updates, delivered seamlessly to all employees. There is far less need for in-house or outsourced desktop support teams to manage desktop updates and rollouts.
Windows 10 provides the business with a far more dynamic platform, enhancing productivity and collaboration between employees, and enabling the organisation to more easily integrate their value-chains into partner companies that are also running on the Windows 10.
Today’s digital business ecosystems are fluid, they’re real-time, and organisations need to interact with each other and transmit large volumes of data securely.
By adopting the latest platforms, organisations gain access to a host of new digital opportunities – including the roll-out of new digital services, the formation of new digital partnerships, and vastly enhanced customer experiences.
Getting Intune with the times
One of the most compelling advantages of Microsoft’s Cloud-based solutions for desktops is the fact that they can pull the remote management tools into Microsoft Intune – the vendor’s desktop and mobile device management tool.
This drastically reduces the need for local organisations to have distributed infrastructure to manage their users’ desktop updates, maintenance and support needs.
While there may be an interim need to manage both on-premises infrastructure in conjunction with the new Cloud platform, this should only be a temporary situation, as the phased rollout takes effect. In time, as Microsoft continues to release new updates in ever-faster iterations, those organisations deploying updates in the traditional manner will simply not be able to keep up.
Ultimately, CIOs want their organisation to be future-proofed, to provide their business with the latest and greatest software services.
To help them convince CFOs of the cost-benefits, there are a number of reasons showing that migrating desktop services to the Cloud will have a positive financial effect – in lower licensing costs, decreasing local support needs, and of course accessing new revenue opportunities.
By Abrie Joubert, DSM Expert: End User Services at T-Systems South Africa.