According to the IDC, if you are an executive in the financial services industry in South Africa, your company is already using multiple cloud services and platforms.

How is it going? In dealing with countless cloud migrations, we have identified a roadmap that has given our clients the best results when it comes to their migration.

There are three ways of looking at how the cloud will affect your business — infrastructure, applications, and operations.

We’ve found the best place to start is by looking at the applications first.

It’s tempting to look at infrastructure first, but there are several benefits to starting with the applications.

  1. You need to talk to everybody. This is a good time to understand who is using which applications and for which reasons. The goal here is to start phasing out old applications, in what we call the “disposition strategy.” You want to migrate to the cloud only the applications that people actually use.
  2. The second reason to start at this point is that when you move the most-used applications to the cloud, you free up some infrastructure. You have more server space and more storage space.
  3. This affects the operations — now you can re-deploy the technology and the skills for more strategic projects.

Having said that starting with the applications layer is the best approach, I’d like to back up a little bit. 

The technology and tools of the cloud are what people talk most about. But that’s probably the least important part of the move to cloud. 

Much more important is the company’s operating model. This term encompasses the people, processes, tools and governance that the move to cloud needs to deliver on. 

Finding the right operating model is critical to increased agility, improved technology operating efficiencies and reduced infrastructure costs. In short, a company’s move to the cloud is only as good as the operating model it supports. 

Once the operating model is in place, financial services firms can start to manage the cloud strategically. 

I’d like to summarise using a checklist of what you should focus on, to realise the benefits of the move to cloud. 

  1. Check efficiencies and the ROI of cloud operations. ROI of cloud operations, especially with regard to support, billing, service desk and monitoring.
  2. Check the security implications. Although your data is housed off-site and the cloud provider has a responsibility to keep it safe, your data’s security remains your responsibility.
  3. Start getting the continuous improvement. Once the cloud is delivering cost savings in a secure way, it’s time to focus on managing the cloud through analytics and improving operational performance.
  4. Make sure the applications are managed well. Confirm that you’re getting the expected performance enhancement and that you have the right suite of applications to serve the business. Remember to include support, ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
  5. And finally, as mentioned above, all of this needs to support the business’s operating model — the people, processes, tools and governance that make the business what it is.

With the right partner, you stand to gain enormous benefits from moving to the cloud. Here is the original research that I used to base this article on. It’s much more in-depth and makes for fascinating reading.