ERP is a mission-critical application that connects all operations, from sales and customer management to inventory and finance. It provides decision-makers with the desired visibility and enhances collaboration across teams. Organizations can’t afford to become complacent with this business-critical application.
In this digital era, your ERP system must perform faster and handle more capacity. Modern ERP must address more complex processes with ease and must support new technologies such as Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital Assistants, and more. A cloud-based ERP can help organizations achieve the same, which makes it imperative for them to modernize their ERP by migrating it to the Cloud.
Cloud Migration Strategies- The 6 R’s
In spite of the obvious benefits, migrating ERP to the Cloud can be a daunting process. It needs to be done in the right manner to ensure that it achieves the business objectives and delivers the value that it promises. It’s important to take a holistic and practical approach to understand your applications and services.
Depending on the nature of the business, some organizations can settle on one migration plan that works across the board. For others, though, a hybrid Cloud migration approach may be needed to achieve the best results.
There are six effective approaches, commonly known as “The 6 R’s of Cloud Migration”:
1. Rehost (i.e. Lift and Shift)
If you want to focus on the technology and avoid altering too much of the code, architecture and/or functionality of your EBS applications, then “Lift and Shift” is a good option to consider. The essence of “Lift and Shift” is to quickly enjoy the CAPEX to OPEX and other benefits of Cloud IaaS. Think of this as getting out of the data center which leads to significant cost saving on valuable office space and the amounts of money spent to avoid overheating/ maintenance of the data centers.
One of the drawbacks of this strategy is that your applications are operating and processing data locally and only the finalized reports/data are stored in the Cloud, which means you are not taking full advantage of the Cloud.
2. Replatform (i.e. Lift, Tinker and Shift)
Replatforming, also known as “Lift, Tinker and Shift”, is the middle ground between the three approaches wherein the code is not altered excessively. However, replatforming involves slight changes to the code for the purpose of taking advantage of the new cloud infrastructure. This is a good strategy for organizations that want to build trust in the Cloud while achieving benefits such as increased system performance.
The catch with replatforming is that the project scope can change and become a complete refactor if not thought through properly. Managing scope and avoiding unnecessary changes is key to mitigating this risk.
Refactoring or rearchitecting involves rebuilding or redeploying the application using cloud-native features. Unlike “Lift and Shift”, a refactored application not only pulls data from cloud storage for analysis but also completes its analytics and computations within the Cloud. Companies that choose to refactor will reuse already existing code and frameworks, but run their applications on a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) instead of on IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) as done in case of rehosting.
This is typically driven by a strong business need to add features, scale, or performance that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in the application’s existing environment. It is a complex and resource-intensive process, but it is the most compatible with future versions and ensures good ROI in the long term.
Repurchasing (also called Replacing) means moving to a different product. Simply put, organizations can opt to discard their legacy applications altogether and switch to already-built SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications from third-party vendors. This strategy is cost-effective but commercial products offer less customization and may require a change in business processes.
Retire strategy means that an application is explicitly phased out. In case your ERP fails the Cloud feasibility assessment, you must take a call to simple retire it and probably implement a SaaS based ERP as mentioned in the above step.
This approach simply means do nothing for now and revisit later. If you are unable to take data off premises for compliance reasons or you are not ready to prioritize an app that was recently upgraded, then you must revisit cloud migration when you overcome the challenges or when the required compliance mandates have been received.
Which cloud migration strategy is the best?
There is no definitive answer to this question. Different use cases require different strategy. The 6 R’s provide a helpful explanation of how organizations should approach cloud migration.
The migration process should start with your organization’s readiness assessment where your cloud technology partner can help in understanding the technical, financial, and operational challenges related to the process. Once you assess your readiness using a detailed guide on ERP Modernization, you can decide which of the above mentioned ‘Rs’ is appropriate for your journey to the Cloud.