The term “Cloud Migration” is becoming as popular and topical as “Digital Transformation”
Migrating to the cloud is the process of moving all digital business operations there. It includes the transfer of data, applications and IT processes from certain data centres to other (cloud-based) data centres. Cloud migration requires a lot of preparation, expertise and work. So, it is easy to understand that “Cloud Migration” is a fairly complex undertaking, which is potentially expected to lead to cost savings and greater flexibility. For these reasons, “Cloud Migration” should be approached in a pragmatic way that balances the advantages of the transition (e.g. more flexibility, lower costs) with its risks (e.g. delays, problems in the transition of applications). That is why it is essential for a large financial institution to be able to judge and evaluate its readiness for “Cloud Migration”. In other words, it should be able to follow a process of determining whether and how a large set of its applications can be moved to the Cloud and using what approach. Our experience shows that such a process does not suit all organisations or all of the many applications of financial institutions that are characterised by the following specificities :
• The majority of their critical applications or processes are based on so-called “legacy” technologies (such as COBOL), which are considered outdated and do not favour modern development trends (e.g. Agile Development. DevOps,etc.).
• On the other hand, their front-end applications (e.g. web and mobile banking) are based on more modern technologies that favour both a better and more flexible way of coding and the application of modern architectures for their implementation.
• Consequently, the IT landscape of a financial institution is quite complex and fragmented in terms of technologies and infrastructure. What’s more, it also supports business processes and operations that are subject to a very strict regulatory and provisional framework that can, for example, deter them from migrating applications and processes that handle sensitive personal data to the cloud.
For a Cloud transition project to be successful, financial sector organisations should take into account the following regarding software applications:
• Their type of architecture
• The complexity of applications in terms of the size of the lines of code, the number of servers and the infrastructure elements
• The maintainability, safety, compatibility and portability of applications
• Their availability requirements
Moreover, for applications and systems that can be migrated to the Cloud, the organisation should define the most appropriate infrastructure that fully meets its needs, such as hosting in a private Cloud (in whole or in part), or in a public Cloud, or choose multiple Cloud solutions as a contingency plan to avoid being dependent on a single supplier. Although in theory, organisations receive all information needed about the Cloud, in practice, migrating is a challenge in many cases. Therefore, the transition process requires a clear strategy, proper information, transparency and precision in its design.