Taking time to develop a directional business case ahead of largescale cloud migration can make a significant difference to the speed of progress and the quality of the outcome.
Mass migration to the cloud inevitably involves a lot of decision makers. Some will have a clear idea of the value that cloud computing can bring. A few might even appreciate what needs to be done to unlock that value.
However, the chances are that most don’t truly understand the potential benefits such as operational resilience, improved productivity and better business agility. They probably expect to see a reduction in IT infrastructure costs (this is the primary driver of most enterprise cloud migrations, after all). But they’re unlikely to realise the amount of time, effort and technical skills required for those savings to be realised.
Winning the hearts and minds of these business leaders, managers and department heads – then managing their expectations – is essential. On the one hand, you need to convey the business benefits of cloud computing. But you also need to ensure they have a realistic understanding of how they will be brought to fruition.
The earlier this happens, the smoother and more effective the migration process will be. This is where a directional business case for cloud migration comes in.
What is a directional business case?
In the broadest sense, a directional strategy is a game plan. It’s a high level overview of actions and resources needed to achieve certain goals and objectives. In a cloud migration context, a directional business case performs a similar role. AWS describes it as follows:
The directional business case uses an estimate for the number of servers and rough order of magnitude (ROM) assumptions around server utilisation. The purpose is to gain early buy-in, allowing budgets to be assigned and resources applied.
So, while a directional business case doesn’t present a detailed plan or budget, it gives a broad indication of what will be needed. What it lacks in specification, it makes up for in big picture understanding.
This is important, because a primary obstacle to effective largescale migration is inadequate assessment of on-premise hosting costs versus those of operating in the cloud. Once it’s been demonstrated that total cost of ownership (TCO) stacks up in favour of moving to the cloud, the conversation can progress. Instead of focusing on costs, stakeholders can start looking at how and when the full value of cloud computing will be realised. Our Chief Product Officer and co-founder Steve Thair blogged about this a couple of months ago here: The top 5 blockers of a cloud migration (check out point 3).
Why bother with a directional business case?
There are multiple benefits attached to the creation of a decent directional business case.
For a start, the entire leadership team (not just IT leaders) become better acquainted with the migration process. They understand why it’s needed and what it entails thanks to a clear and compelling data-driven rationale. When the chips are down and decisions must be made about what to migrate when and how much to invest, they can make more informed choices.
Furthermore, costs associated with the migration are less likely to spiral beyond the budget if the scope is properly defined at the outset. Everyone recognises that the TCO equation hinges upon the modernisation of workloads tipped for migration, either before or soon after they reach the cloud. We talk about improving cloud cost control in more detail here.
How do I develop a directional business case?
If you’re migrating to AWS, DevOpsGroup can conduct an AWS Cloud Migration Assessment on your behalf free of charge. One of the outputs of this assessment is a directional business case for your own organisation’s planned migration. You’ll also receive a migration readiness report and costed recommendations for activity to ‘test the water’ ahead of largescale migration, such as pilot migrations and the creation of cloud landing zones.
It all adds up to a more streamlined, collaborative approach, setting you up for efficient and effective cloud adoption.
You can read more from AWS about building a business case for migration here.