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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: What You Need to Know About Cloud, On-Premises, and Hybrid Systems

May 17, 2017 No Comments

Featured interview with Shyam Oza, Senior Product Marketing Manager, AvePoint

In this Q&A, industry expert Shyam Oza dives into the intricacies involved in making the decision to move to the cloud and what companies can expect when migrating.

  • Q. Internally, who is driving the move to the cloud?

A. This really depends on the cloud service itself. With solutions like Salesforce, NetSuite, and Marketo, many times those with direct ties to the inquiring business line are the primary drivers. This is in part due to the fact that cloud service providers do a great job of advertising the ‘experience’ and don’t focus on configuration or maintenance.

On the other hand, IT is still the key decision maker when migrating e-mail and more sophisticated and complex solutions like Office 365. This obviously presents IT with the challenge of understanding the organization’s business needs and ensuring they get ahead of any technology adoption triggered by another department. Today, it’s IT’s job to present the most appealing set of solutions rather than having department leaders going directly to the provider.

  • Q. What are the benefits of migrating to the cloud?

A. The top benefits of moving to the cloud include:

- Cost reduction through cuts in infrastructure investment (such as servers, network, and redundancy)
- License consolidation or streamlining: Much more predictable spend for budgeting and sometimes the cloud subscriptions are more affordable
- New features and rapid releases: Many organizations prefer to have access to new features immediately rather than having to wait years for a service pack
- Reduction in costs for “keeping the lights on”: IT workers can focus on delivering and training on new solutions rather than basic maintenance (such as patching and hardware upgrades)
- Improved security: Most cloud providers have been in the business of running a data center for years. In terms of security, there is a different level of sophistication when it comes to an Azure, AWS, or Google datacenter

  • Q. Why are companies/IT specialists hesitant to move data to the cloud?

A. The most prominent reason is the belief that the cloud is less secure than on premises. In many circumstances, this isn’t the case, as cloud providers’ primary line of business is running a secure, scalable data center.

The second reason is lack of control. Many organizations have heavily customized services configured –such as SharePoint on premises and SAP – and are hesitant to move to cloud-based environments where the ability to deploy custom code is severely limited. This is again a misconception, as many legacy applications have been replaced by out-of-the-box functionality or can be updated by re-architecting them to work with new cloud-based application models.

The last reason for hesitation is mitigating risk. Any migration project, whether it’s moving a workload to the cloud or upgrading from SharePoint 2010 to 2016, has a possibility of failure. As the business world becomes more risk-averse, speed-to-market rates and overall agility decline. Companies should lean in and embrace changing technology. Migrating key business functions to the cloud is the first step in this process.

  • Q. How is Shadow IT affecting cloud migration?

A. Shadow IT should be the primary driver for companies to adopt new technology. End users will always find the path of least resistance when it comes to the tools and applications that work for them. Oftentimes, that means working around IT. IT professionals should use their concerns about shadow IT as a reason for offering the best possible cloud services and experiences to their end users so that they don’t turn anywhere but to the IT-approved tools.

  • Q. Is it necessary to move to the cloud, or is on-premises still an option?

A. While moving to the cloud is not an immediate necessity, it could be in a few years. In the short-term, organizations have other valid options – like taking a hybrid approach. As with a move to the cloud, a hybrid approach to data management must be well planned, hopefully with a third party or trained IT professional leading the charge.

  • Q. What are a few data points or studies that IT professionals can use to help convince their company to move to the cloud?

A. Convincing company decision makers to move to the cloud requires the right information, including expected ROI, data safety, and necessity. AvePoint recently conducted a study in partnership with Microsoft on the state of the hybrid SharePoint ecosystem which found that companies totally on-premises are currently the majority, with 46 percent of users in a solely on-premises SharePoint environment. With that said, this is expected to change in coming years – and for good reason.

Forrester Research recently did a survey on the ROI of Office 365, which showed the manpower required to support Microsoft solutions was reduced by more than half when organizations switched to Office 365, and a subset of users – analysts, managers, and salespeople – saw a reduction in time required to hunt for information.

Along with those two studies, the increased percentage of Shadow IT issues is motivation enough to move to the cloud. A recent Microsoft study found:

- Only 8% of companies know the scope of shadow IT at their organizations
- 87% of senior managers admit to regularly uploading work files to a personal email or cloud account

Hosted, hybrid, and on-premises solutions are each effective ways to manage data, but companies are slowly moving away from on premises and toward cloud systems. The best way to encourage your company to transition to the cloud is to find the right person (probably the CTO or CIO), present your company’s numbers, illustrate projected ROI, and discuss increased security to get your company on its way to a cloud migration.

Shyam Oza Headshot e1495041284544 IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: What You Need to Know About Cloud, On Premises, and Hybrid Systems

Shyam Oza, Senior Product Marketing Manager, AvePoint

Shyam Oza is a Senior Product Manager at AvePoint, working directly with global organizations – many of which are in the Fortune 500 –  on crafting new deployment strategies utilizing hybrid and cloud environments with Microsoft technologies.​


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