Eliminating the risk and uncertainty from cloud migration

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Eliminating the risk and uncertainty from cloud migration

The pace at which the communications are being migrated to the cloud is delaying the digital transformation. Even though we have reached a stage where cloud-based solutions are both accepted and desired most businesses still operate with on-premise PBX systems, 80-90% of businesses according to reports from Gartner and MZA.

These kind of numbers contradict another study by Evolve IP which reported 70% of IT managers describing themselves as ‘Cloud Believers’ for communications solutions. Being a ‘believer’ is understandable when you look at how cloud-based communications allow organisations to consolidate and simplify their infrastructure, reduce costs and integrate with applications that enhance productivity.

So what’s the hold up? Well yet more survey’s suggest that the migration process is full of risk and uncertainty and that the majority of cloud migration projects ‘ran late and over budget’ *

For business telephony that’s a powerful demotivator because much more is at stake than just time lost in delays. If migration issues results in service outage or loss of quality the business impact can be catastrophic in terms of lost revenue, reduced productivity and customer satisfaction levels. This accounts for the difference in cloud ‘belief’ and actual uptake and explains why most PBXs are pasted their life expectancy and almost 10 years old on average.

Over my next few articles I will take a look in more detail at the challenges of cloud communications migrations and suggest some recommendations to simplify the process for service providers like AVC One and businesses stuck in the headlights as the cloud transformation approaches.

The Pathway to the Cloud

It’s clear that one of the biggest issues here is risk so I will explore that further. In particular, whose responsibility is it to reduce or remove risk and simplify the migration? A particular challenge is that this responsibility is shared between the communication service provider (CSP) and the business at the moment.

From the CSP perspective many are currently presenting two distinct offers; one focused to on-premise solutions (SIP trunking and network services) and a second cloud solution (Cloud and UC&C). This makes sense because it aligns to a market where buyers are still split. In fact, IDC show a split pretty much down the middle in 2017.

However, in my opinion this chart is not a true picture because it hasn’t account for risk and the fear of disruption. If you could cut the perceived risk of the cloud migration route how much would the preference for the on-premise solution diminish? Perhaps somewhere toward the 70% of cloud believers.

The second IDC chart below better represents the feelings of buyers in my opinion. It quantifies the value of new and beneficial services delivered by cloud solutions against the potential for disruption and risk associated with this.

What we can see here is that 70% of buyers (red/pink) are risk averse and value lack of disruption over any benefits the new features will bring. Only 30% (blue) demonstrate a tolerance for disruption to get the benefits and only 5% admit they are losing to achieve the maximum benefit from cloud migration. So it is clear, CSPs need to convince business of their ability to minimise risk during cloud migrations in order to unlock the ‘in principle’ demand for it.

To present “de-risking” options more formally to businesses, CSPs should consider adding a new family of services to their portfolio. These new service offers should bring pre-set migration paths to the cloud with a series of options to reduce migration risk. These pre-set paths and de-risking options may not fit every business requirement, but they will at least give the business a starting point to meet the CSP somewhere “in the middle.”

This approach leverages the strength of the service provider to productise how they do business. Implicit in productisation is the ability for service providers to 1) simplify and 2) scale several key options for how their business customers move PBX communications to the cloud. This does not mean supporting the widest array of cloud-migration options. Quite the opposite. We suggest CSPs consider a limited number of cloud-migration options and build operational practices around these models.

Once in place, CSPs may need to consider different sales and marketing strategies to make the case for migration services. They may create a dedicated sales team and overlay experts experienced in consultative sales to win the trust of businesses, gather key requirements, and determine if the specific migration services are a good fit for the risks and uncertainty the business face.

From the businesses perspective, buyers have several key considerations. First, they need to beware of ‘rip-and-replace’ offers presented by some CSPs as the only option for cloud migration. Second, businesses need more willingness to partner with CSPs. For businesses that see CSPs as commodity service providers, this approach could be challenging. Migration services and de-risking are anything but commodities.

In future articles I will investigate other areas where CSPs can productise migration services such as risk minimisation, hybrid solutions, WAN options, Phones and UX.

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