One thing you won’t hear when a vendor is pitching their cloud solutions to you is that the biggest success factor for your move to the cloud is a willingness to embrace constraints – being OK with the box you’re putting yourself in.
Constraints aren’t inherently bad – I use them all the time in photography. Knowing what my camera can and cannot do pushes me to approach shots differently, often resulting in a photo that is far better than what I would have achieved if I had attacked the problem head-on with all the camera equipment I wanted available to me.
When it comes to the cloud, constraints force you to re-examine what you’re doing. That helps on the technical front, but it is especially powerful when it comes to business processes. The last 60 years of on-premise open-sandbox tech has enabled people to build a lot of really dumb processes.
“So, I type in all the info from these paper tickets into this spreadsheet, then I print it out and fax it to Dorothy. Then she combines my report with the other sites’ reports, prints that out, scans it, then e-mails it to Richard so he can plug it into an Access database.”
If you’re moving off-prem, consider it an opportunity to reset and if you can manage it, forklift as little as possible when you make the transition.
Azure and AWS don’t support all the custom infrastructure hacks you’ve put in place over the last 30 years? Do yourself a favor and leave those hacks behind. Learn the platform and focus on what it can do.
The new SaaS vendor doesn’t support the process you built in your old, on-prem ERP? Instead of trying to hack something together to get the new system to support your process exactly as-is, call the vendor, describe the problem you’re trying to solve (start with the problem, not your years’ old solution) and work with them to design something new.
Turns out, software companies like Google and Salesforce employ a lot of really smart people, and the best ones understand that as beautiful as their code is, it has to be used in the real world.
These are things I want to shout whenever I’m at an industry event. It never fails that at least one neck-bearded engineer in the room pops up with “I’ll never move to the cloud, it doesn’t do this, this, or this.”
Occasionally, they have one or two valid points out of the handful they toss out.
When pushed though, their reasoning is usually “because we have it now’, which is the perfect rationale to help the business drive itself off a cliff.
Photo credit: Perspecsys