While mergers and the IT challenges that follow get the attention, there have been some interesting cases of the reverse in recent years. IBM sold off its managed infrastructure business to form Kyndryl; German utility E.ON spun out its gas power activities as Uniper; and most recently, General Motors set up a new subsidiary, BrightDrop, to make electric trucks.

Another example is i-Pro, a maker of cameras for surveillance, public safety, medical and industrial applications, which started life within Panasonic.

Its journey to independence began in May 2019, when Panasonic sold an 80% stake in what would become i-Pro to an investment fund. Panasonic pulled several activities together—its security systems business division, an R&D unit designing compact cameras for industrial and medical use, a US subsidiary operating mainly in the public safety sector, and manufacturing facilities in China—and spun them out as an independent entity, Panasonic i-Pro Sensing Solutions Co.

The new company, since renamed simply i-Pro, had the right to use Panasonic’s name for three years, reminding customers of its 60-year history while it built its own reputation. For that time, too, it could rely on Panasonic’s IT team and its ageing SAP ECC systems while it built its own ERP in the cloud. But the clock was ticking.

“For those three years, we still worked closely with Panasonic,” says Rohan Ponnekanti, manager for business systems at i-Pro Americas. “We were using their IT systems, especially the SAP systems, and paying for Panasonic IT to help us with our day-to-day processes.”

IBM Japan was brought in to build a new global ERP system for the new company using SAP S/4HANA, which has an entirely different data structure than the older SAP ECC. The migration went smoothly enough in Japan and in Europe, which at the time was a small part of i-Pro’s activities.

Things were more complicated in the US market, though, which also included the public safety business selling bodycams, dashcams, and digital evidence systems to law enforcement. 

Ponnekanti says he was initially brought in to work on the ERP migration globally: “They thought they’d save money having one guy handle everything,” he says. That meant dealing with a vast span of time zones from Japan through China and Europe to Texas, where he’s based. Those hours, and the scale of the challenge getting the US IT systems up and running, led him to refocus his role on the company’s American operations.

“Our company is headquartered in Japan, so all the major decisions were made there,” he says. IBM Japan handled migration of the data for Japan, China, and for the tiny European sales unit. “But when it came to the US, it was a large amount of data and complex business problems they had to deal with,” he says.

The initial plan was for Ponnekanti to liaise with the Panasonic US IT staff to negotiate the extraction of the relevant data from their legacy SAP system, so it could be uploaded to the new system using SAP’s S/4HANA Migration Cockpit.

“Usually when you’re trying to carve out the data, you go by a company code, which is the highest level you can easily carve out,” he says. “But here, everything is under the same company code so it’s more complicated. All our i-Pro data was completely blended in under Panasonic data, so there was no way to differentiate the i-Pro data and extract it. That’s when we realized we really needed a professional data migration company.”

Call the specialists

Ponnekanti turned to Miami-based SAP systems integrator LeverX, which has developed its own data migration tools to help with moves from SAP ECC to S/4HANA.

By now, in the latter part of 2021, Panasonic in the US and i-Pro Americas were separate entities, albeit with an owner in common. And although there was some cooperation between the two, there were limits.

What he wanted to do was have LeverX connect their migration tool to the Panasonic ERP system, analyze the data, and extract the relevant records for insertion into i-Pro’s new system.

He says Panasonic’s IT team wouldn’t let him, though, because although Panasonic agreed to give i-Pro access to the system, for various reasons, this didn’t extend to third parties such as LeverX.

After some discussion, Panasonic’s IT team came up with a proposal: It would extract the relevant data and dump it in Excel files for i-Pro to work with.

“Now the whole project timeline changes, because there’s a lot of manual work needed,” he says. Because of the delay obtaining the data, the migration project start date slipped from October 2021 to early January 2022.

Another big challenge was that i-Pro Americas had no IT staff at this point; Panasonic had held on to the rest of the team.

“I’m the only guy there and I have no team yet,” he says. “I’m still working between the IBM team, the LeverX team and the Panasonic IT team, so it’s quite complicated.”

The biggest challenge, he says, was to understand how to map the data from the old system to the new one. Ponnekanti only joined the company himself once the split was under way, and while he had business staff who had worked with the old SAP system, their knowledge of the application was from the outside in: They weren’t able to explain the technical details of the old data structures, and hadn’t even seen the new S/4HANA system yet.

That left the LeverX staff to figure much of it out for themselves based on their knowledge of the internals of SAP’s software, and their experience of similar migrations elsewhere. This led to some late nights as they cleansed the data, aligned the fields between the old and new SAP implementations, and then transformed the data, renumbering customers, products, and SKUs to meet the requirements of the new system. The overall success of the migration depended heavily on the part played by the team at LeverX, according to Ponnekanti.

By the end of February 2022, it was time to hand off an XML file of all the data to the in-house team in Japan for the first mock data migration.

“We had planned for three mock migrations, but due to the unexpected challenges we lost a lot of time, so we ended up only doing two,” he says. There were still gaps in the data, but most of those were fixed by the second rehearsal, in April, allowing the new system to go live on time in May 2022. There were still a few holes to fix after go-live, but it wasn’t a big issue when the business hit a roadblock, he says.

Learning on the job

With the system up and running, Ponnekanti set out to recruit a team of three to maintain and improve it, one each for the sales, supply chain and finance functions. He looked for staff with backgrounds in consulting, like him, who dealt with challenges for a variety of clients. By the time they joined i-Pro, there was no more access to the Panasonic IT team, so there was no formal knowledge transfer.

Instead, Ponnekanti says, he passed on what he learned during the migration process, and told his recruits to shadow the business staff, sit in their meetings on mute, assess areas of weakness, and try to come up with solutions.

He also started involving them in the global IT team meetings. “I wanted them to hear what was going on at the higher level, so they understand and get to know all the team members from Japan and Europe, and help each other out,” he says.

After about six months, they had built up the necessary knowledge, and today, he and the team are ready to start adding additional SAP modules as the business grows.

Where Panasonic had strict procedures and slow processes, taking eight or nine months to agree even minor changes to IT systems, Ponnekanti says, he’s aiming to build an IT organization that can act quicker. He wants it to take no more than three meetings to get a project going: One in the US to discuss the idea, one with an implementation partner to cost it out, and one with the global CIO in Japan to get final approval.

Don’t let a spin-out spin out of control

Ponnekanti has some advice for IT leaders considering taking on a similar role in other spin-out companies.

The most important thing, he says, is to get a detailed commitment from the parent company up front to provide the necessary access to IT systems and data—including for third parties contracted to do the work.

At the creation of i-Pro, he says, no one really dug into the details. You don’t have to get too technical, he adds, “but at least talk about the systems you’ll need access to, and be precise about what you need.”

Even when the level of cooperation between the old IT team and the new is laid out in a contract, it’s important to maintain that relationship because it’s not just about the data migration.

Finally, where company policy or security concerns run up against the bonds of friendship, and demands for data aren’t met, turn the tables. “Ask them what could they offer given the situation,” he says. Then you can start improvising from the solutions they propose.

CIO, Data Management, IT Leadership, Mergers and Acquisitions

Organizations are racing to modernize their legacy technology, architecture, infrastructure, and databases. Modernization often revolves around cloud migration. But not every approach provides the same ROI. Before committing to a migration strategy, organizations must identify the best approach for their business requirements.  

Each approach comes with its own benefits, time commitments, and cost. This whitepaper and on-demand webcast will help organizations calculate the ROI from adopting a given approach by answering the following questions: 

Where am I spending big dollars today to run my applications in a legacy mainframe? What are the benefits of each of the cloud modernization approaches? How much does each approach cost, in terms of both money and time? 

Create a business case for modernizing your legacy applications to the Microsoft Cloud with this whitepaper and webcast from TCS. 

Cloud Computing, Retail Industry

Pick n Pay’s bold plan to modernize infrastructure and drive efficiency is beginning to pay dividends as its migration to AWS was successfully completed last year, signaling the digital ambitions of this retail giant.

This move to the cloud lays the foundation for further expansion into other cloud-based applications to deliver deeper insights and better digital services, as well as drive cost savings for the company and the consumer.

The company’s recent trading update confirmed it would accelerate growth opportunities, such as its online offerings, and develop serverless computing with AWS so the retailer is able to rapidly scale when needed, like over Christmas or Black Friday.

The data warehousing team was the first to take its platform to the cloud and is already leveraging AWS’ suite of services and cloud-first applications, like Snowflake, for self-service analytics. And over the past 10 months, sales growth across all online platforms (scheduled, on-demand, and click-n-collect) came in at a robust 69.6% year-to-date, with on-demand year-to-date growth in excess of 100%.

Mark Tudor, Chief Information & Technology Officer, Pick n Pay

Pick n Pay

Although the new foundation promises great things in omnichannel retail for the future, the decision was in discussion for years, according to Pick n Pay CIO Mark Tudor. “Around 2019, we understood we needed to make a significant investment in our infrastructure,” he says. “We had to decide whether to invest in another five-year depreciation cycle with our partner in our existing data, or move to a hyperscaler. At the time, we decided it was better to go with a hyperscaler because we wanted the cost-effective agility this approach would provide in the coming years. We didn’t want to invest in a data center that would commit us to another five-year depreciation cycle. That was really the catalyst.”

Pick n Pay, a multiformat and multichannel retailer with 90,000 employees and an annual turnover of R97.9 billion ($5.3 billion), operates across mostly Southern Africa with stores in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Nigeria, Eswatini and Lesotho. It also owns a 49% share of the Zimbabwean supermarket chain, TM Supermarkets. So with such size and reach, the choice of a hyperscaler like AWS made sense. In the beginning, they were firmly focused on Infrastructure-as-a-Service.

“Our view on hyperscalers is that they provide near infinite capacity on demand, which is what we were looking for,” Tudor says.

Managing the migration

The actual process took 10 months and Tudor says they mostly looked at an IaaS-led migration as opposed to a platform rebuild. “Moving from an on-premise infrastructure service provider to a hyperscaler-based one was more of a partner change for our staff as opposed to anything fundamental,” he says. “Now that we’re in the cloud, there are a lot of complementary services and platforms around our infrastructure to better leverage opportunities.”

Critical to the success of the migration was AWS premier consulting partner Lemongrass, which enabled Pick n Pay to migrate its mission-critical SAP (including SAP S/4HANA) and non-SAP workloads to AWS, and provide the ability to manage these workloads with the highest levels of automation and agility.

Eamonn O’Neill, Lemongrass Consulting CTO, explained the rationale: “We typically see potential cost savings of between 45% and 75% resulting from this strategy. These are savings that can then fund initiatives, such as new offerings and tools that deliver superior retail experiences, and drive additional value for the business, such as business intelligence and automation.”

Superior cost management

One of the largest benefits of the migration has been around cost, as Pick n Pay has reduced its infrastructure spend by approximately 40% while driving up its competitiveness.

The trading report also states that the group is on-track to deliver its targeted efficiency savings for FY23 across store operations, support offices, and supply chain, and is also fully focused on delivering its target R3 billion in savings over three years.

“We needed a strategy we felt was right for us going into the future and was also cost-effective,” says Tudor. “That’s worked well for us. The complexity of managing environments in the cloud from a financial perspective is something we already had experience with from taking our data warehouse into the cloud a few years ahead of the main migration.”

In terms of environments on the ground, however, migration to AWS offers another benefit considering how South Africa grapples with the knock-on effects of an unstable power supply. While Pick n Pay spends R60 million a month on diesel for its generators to keep its stores operating through rolling blackouts, its IT infrastructure hasn’t added to this since there aren’t any data centers to manage. “With any data center, there’s the challenge of cooling and managing your utility power effectively,” says Tudor. “We haven’t had to worry about this given it now sits in the cloud. That’s been a massive added win for us.”

Lessons learned

When it comes to smaller retailers on the continent looking to implement something similar, Tudor offered some advice. ‘For smaller retailers, you’d probably do better buying a cloud solution directly as opposed to carrying infrastructure into the cloud,” he says. “Our theory is to look to SaaS first, PaaS second, and IaaS third. The economics of a service you procure from the cloud is more cost-effective with the SaaS service. For example, use Workday in the HR space rather than build your own infrastructure in your own virtualized data center in a hyperscaler. That’s how I’d approach it.” So far, Pick n Pay’s forward-thinking initiatives are having the desired effect of driving efficiencies and creating cost savings for customers. But the power crisis and other retailers innovating and posing greater competition means they can’t afford to be complacent. So leveraging the power of AWS to create new services and offerings will be crucial.

CIO, Cloud Management, IT Leadership

Organizations are racing to modernize their legacy technology, architecture, infrastructure, and databases. Modernization often revolves around cloud migration. But not every approach provides the same ROI. Before committing to a migration strategy, organizations must identify the best approach for their business requirements.

Each approach comes with its own benefits, time commitments, and cost. This whitepaper and on-demand webcast will help organizations calculate the ROI from adopting a given approach by answering the following questions:

Where am I spending big dollars today to run my applications in a legacy mainframe?What are the benefits of each of the cloud modernization approaches?How much does each approach cost, in terms of both money and time?

Create a business case for modernizing your legacy applications to the Microsoft Cloud with this whitepaper and webcast from TCS.

Cloud Computing

For as long as organizations have been interested in moving resources to the cloud, they’ve been concerned about security. That interest is only getting stronger as cloud usage grows – making it a perfect topic for the latest #CIOTechTalk Twitter chat.

The chat brought together a host of security consultants and practitioners who weren’t shy about weighing in with their thoughts on a series of questions around the main topic: how to remain secure during cloud migrations.

It’s a timely topic given the rapid cloud migration currently underway. More than two-thirds of the 850 IT leaders who participated in a recent Foundry survey said they were accelerating their cloud migration. Yet, of the top 10 challenges they face, four relate to security:

Data privacy and security challenges, cited by 35% of respondentsLack of cloud security skills/expertise: 34%Governance/compliance: 29%Securing and protecting cloud resources: 25%

To get the ball rolling, host Isaac Sacolick (@nyike) asked what main security challenges teams encounter when migrating to the public cloud. Among the responses (edited slightly for clarity; this was Twitter, after all):

– Lack of visibility/control over [network] activity

– Complex compliance requirements compounded by lack of internal compliance expertise

– Insider threats and malicious activity

– and the list goes on and on @willkelly

Easy to come up w/50 #cloud #infosec challenges. Significant is ensuring cloud code repositories are secured, especially for #GitHub. Many recent breaches, including #LastPass #Okta #Intel & #Samsung, where attackers got source code access.  @benrothke

Sacolick noted in the early days of cloud, he’d see cloud-certified architects’ drawings with no mention of security and wondered if things were better today.

Yes but it’s a tale of two cities. The “aware” are mature and focus on #DevOps and integrated ways to deploy secure capabilities (like programmatically deploying firewall rules in #cloud). [Between them and] those who are not is a HUGE gap – not a lot in the middle.  @DigitalSecArch

Imagine designing an office building without architectural plans. It’s called a disaster. @benrothke

When asked how security teams should protect data applications and who’s responsible for security, respondents were quick to answer with some variation of:

It is a shared responsibility between the cloud service provider and the customer. @ArsalanAKhan

But respondents disagreed on how clear those responsibilities are to customers:

Too often, without full understanding, shared responsibility = false sense of security. @BrendenBosch

Except it is not fine print. The #cloud service providers make it very clear. They post it on their web site. They share it in their portal. They send it to the customer. @benrothke

Wayne Anderson, a security and risk management leader at Microsoft, offered his “personal guide to cloud security shared responsibility”: 

If it’s in your interface (compute, network, FW, DB, identity etc.), you own it.

That’s EVERYTHING except the hyper-scale management plane. 

Your #cloud CSP won’t save you.  @DigitalSecArch

Next up was the question of how on-premises assets can securely link to cloud assets, which likewise generated some healthy back-and-forth.

Integrate on-premise data center to #cloud, consider using VPN, direct connect, or dedicated network. Implement identity and access management, and continuously monitor and update security posture. @CraigMilroy

VPN, Direct Connect, Secure Gateways, IAM, Encryption, Network Segmentation, etc. These measures help ensure that data is securely transmitted between the on-premise and cloud environments, and that access to sensitive data and applications is tightly controlled. @ArsalanAKhan

This is part of it, but just as much is assuming the connections are public internet, and then designing the application to deal with that reality – hostile network. #encryption, managed #latency, #identity inspection, and certificate validation, etc.  @DigitalSecArch

Assume that there are no boundaries and everything is on the open #internet. Secure from there. @CPetersen_CS

Next the #CIOTechTalk chat focused on which governance and compliance issues organizations need to take into account before migrating to public cloud, another of the top security issues cited in the Foundry survey.

Prior to #cloud migrations, orgs to consider governance & compliance issues such as #dataprivacy, regulations, industry standards, & internal policies. Assess end to end risk/#security, PIA, clearly define data ownership via #datagovernance. @CraigMilroy

Your team has same obligations in the #cloud as you have anywhere else in your business. For the love of all things – please stop trying to give your cloud provider’s SOC2 report to auditors. It doesn’t address your application practices or 3rd party or incidents. @DigitalSecArch

But on the other hand, @Ostendio notes the ability to manipulate SOC 2 scope has led to significant abuse … [making it] difficult to compare audits. Allows orgs to avoid auditing areas that are their weakest link. @benrothke

@benrothke makes a very good point. As a Deming fan, you can’t audit in security. It’s either there at design/build time, or it’s not. All the audits in the world can’t stop breaches that are out of scope or happen at the wrong time in the yearly cycle. @CPetersen_CS

The final chat question was on how working with a partner can enhance visibility and strengthen security posture. In general, Twitter panelists supported the idea, with some caveats.

Most people don’t do their own plumbing or electrical work. They use a trusted partner. So too with the #cloud. Find that trusted partner. But you must know what you need them to do if you want them to do it right. And vet them very, very well. @benrothke

Trying to be an expert at everything = knowledge of next to nothing. Find partners you trust. @nyike

Finally, Peterson had another interesting take on partnering, followed by the last word from Sacolick, the chat moderator:

It’s definitely a way to speed up an org’s “time to competence” in specific areas, but it must come with knowledge transfer commitments and either an acknowledgement that the arrangement is permanent or a time line for the customer to assume responsibility. @CPetersen_CS

Good partners execute. Great partners advise their clients. The best partners educate their client’s staff so that they make smarter decisions. @nyike

You can check out the full February 2, 2023, discussion at #CIOTechTalk. And learn more about effective cloud migration strategies, visit the NTT Communications website.

Cloud Management, Cloud Security, Security

Enterprise adoption of SAP S/4HANA continues to climb despite the obstacles in its way, according to new research by user groups in the US and Europe. Adopters are being drawn by advanced capabilities in the new software, and driven by concerns about maintenance of older systems.

In the UK and Ireland, 89% of SAP customers are either using or planning to use S/4HANA, up from 74% in 2021, according to a survey conducted for the UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG).

“With everything else that’s been going on this year, I think that’s quite a big move,” said UKISUG chairman Paul Cooper, pointing to the distractions CIOs faced with the pandemic and ongoing supply chain problems.

The biggest driver for the move to S/4HANA, cited by 70% of survey respondents, is SAP’s plan to end maintenance support for its ECC 6 and Business Suite 7 software in December 2027.

But according to Cooper, other drivers include a desire for new functionality (49%), accompanying a wider business transformation (47%), improving productivity (41%) or simplifying business processes (38%).

Those UKISUG members with no plans to adopt S/4HANA aren’t necessarily playing chicken with SAP over maintenance support, he added: they could be planning a switch to another ERP, or have no plans for anything more than a year out given current economic difficulties.

In the US, the proportion of SAP customers using or planning to use S/4HANA remained stable at 78%, although the proportion now live on the platform rose to 31% from 28% in 2021, according to a survey conducted for the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG).

Awareness and adoption of the Rise with SAP all-in-one package of licensing, hosting and application management is also on the up. ASUG’s survey found that 38% of respondents were familiar with Rise, compared to 23% in 2021, and only 20% had never heard of it, down from 39%. UKISUG found that 28% of those who had heard of Rise used it or planned to do so, seeing it as a way to accelerate their move to S/4HANA and the cloud.

The switch to S/4HANA is showing up in SAP’s sales figures too — S/4HANA revenue for the third quarter of 2022 was up 98% year on year to €548 million — but there are still obstacles to wider adoption, the user groups found.

Skills shortage still a concern

Training provided by implementation partner was rated as poor or very poor by 32% of organizations surveyed by UKISUG (down from 34% in 2021), while 36% rated technical resources provided by SAP as insufficient (down from 38%). Little wonder, then, that organizations yet to move to S/4HANA are more concerned than ever that a lack of available skills will slow their migration, with 92% citing it as a problem, compared to 71% a year earlier.

UKISUG plans to do something about the skills shortage next year, launching its own S/4 Academy to help organizations manage their migrations. This will complement the deep-dive technical training that SAP offers, not compete with it, Cooper said: “We’re pitching this as the sort of practical and pragmatic things that you need to know and understand, as opposed to how to configure something in SAP.”

ASUG members also cite skills shortages as the biggest barrier to innovation, especially in a multi-cloud environment, with one-fifth seeking to optimize their cloud innovations by upskilling existing staff with help from free learning platforms and business partners.

Customization challenges

Existing software customizations still pose a challenge for 72% of organizations moving to S/4HANA, UKISUG found, down from 92% in 2021, although this change of attitude may be because more respondents are resigning themselves to doing away with customizations altogether. That’s the case for 24% of organizations, up from 12% a year earlier.

Integrations also proved challenging for 64% of those who already made the move to S/4HANA, with just 28% of them relying on SAP’s own Business Technology Platform for help with integration. Little wonder that numerous market research organizations forecast that the integration-platform-as-a-service market will grow at over 30% annually over the next few years.

Grounds for optimism

Recent forecasts from the likes of IDC and Gartner put growth in IT spending at around 5.1% in 2023 despite broader belt-tightening and despondency about the economic environment.

After comparing notes with numerous CIOs at UKISUG’s recent annual conference, Cooper was similarly optimistic about the prospects for IT departments in the year ahead.

“Your gut feeling, based on the front pages of the newspapers, would be that people would be slashing [IT budgets], but there still seems to be very robust investment and plans to grow and develop their IT systems,” with the uptake of S/4HANA being just one sign of that, he said.


When businesses migrate to public cloud, they expect to enjoy greater agility, resiliency, scalability, security, and cost-efficiency. But while some organizations undergo a relatively smooth journey, others can find themselves embarked on a bumpy trek fraught with time-wasting detours and lurking money pits – and with that glowing cloud promise still beyond their reach.

Where do they go awry? Too often, impetuosity and a diminished focus on key business drivers can result in a loss of direction, reports Chris DePerro, SVP, Global Professional Services at NTT.

“When assembling the case for a move to public cloud, organizations tend to overload stakeholder expectations and lose sight of the main imperatives behind the initiative – namely, supporting business agility and cost-efficiency,” DePerro says. “When a cloud strategy team has those chief objectives nailed down, they can plan supporting considerations – such as security, resiliency and scalability – around them more effectively.”

The Multicloud Business Impact Brief by 451 Research summarizes the findings of its own Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud, Hosting & Managed Services, Budgets & Outlook 2022 survey and identifies costs as a key driver and desired outcome of cloud transformation as well as a key limiting factor in the use of some of these resources. Indeed, 39% surveyed cited concerns about controlling costs.

But cost-efficiencies from public-cloud adoption can be undermined if organizations overspend to get there. Public-cloud services can be a tremendous resource if proper care is taken to plan and optimize the environment rather than just pushing the entire estate to the cloud as is. If optimization isn’t done, clients are often left with a larger bill and fall short of their cloud aspirations.

In many instances, the problems can be traced to inexperience in – and insufficient understanding of – cloud-migration best practices, and a lack of proper planning. Too often, organizations set off with project plans that do not take account of the full gamut of challenges.

Why do organizations fast-forward cloud migration, even if it might result in headaches afterwards?

“Common missteps are not taking time to understand and remediate as many issues as possible within the existing IT estate before migration occurs,” says DePerro. “It’s crucial that the best migration approaches are selected based on solid discovery for each workload.  This determines the approach best suited to an organization’s specific applications.”

DePerro adds: “Without a thorough pre-migration assessment of its IT estate, an organization might shift its existing inefficiencies into the cloud, where they become even more of a budgetary and performance burden by bumping up cloud’s operational costs.”

The capacity to innovate and respond to changing market conditions in a rapid manner is even more vital. Cost-efficiency and expectations of agility should be integral to a properly orchestrated cloud-migration program. 

“Agility is not always well understood,” explains DePerro. “Increasingly, it’s about using the cloud to give organizations the facility and flexibility to achieve their business objectives faster, rather than necessarily having numerous added features from the onset. We are seeing more and more customers trying to modernize in an incremental nature so as not to get bogged down in overly complicated transformation. Often, expediency overrides functionality when it comes to getting apps to market fast so that value can be derived ASAP.”

This requirement plays into the increased adoption of multicloud models. The business benefits of multicloud are compelling: organizations want to develop/run their applications in the cloud environment that’s best suited to their needs: private, public, edge or hybrid.

This in turn enlarges the complexities of managing workloads across multiple platforms.

“Working with a managed cloud service provider is a proven way to mitigate those complexities,” DePerro says, “especially if its cloud reach extends across both multivarious cloud platforms and business industries, as NTT’s does. This enables us to share both technical knowledge and cross-sector insight.”

Increasing multicloud take-up demonstrates again how rapidly cloud opportunities are evolving, leaving migration roadmaps outdated.

“Ultimately, many organizations will have to go multicloud because it’s the only way they will achieve their business objectives,” DePerro believes. “For many, multicloud is the new reality. And as with any journey into uncharted territory, being accompanied by a knowledgeable guide such as NTT, that has helped organizations complete their cloud journeys, will help navigate the twists and turns ahead.”

Visit NTT’s website now to find out how to start your cloud journey with experts who understand the pitfalls and how to overcome them.

Multi Cloud

The digital transformation of the education sector is accelerating at pace. You don’t need to look far to find powerful examples of how data is helping to enrich both student and educator outcomes. Gardens, Libraries and Museums of The University of Oxford digitised its collections and reduced storage costs by 50-60% and avoided a management cost increase of 13% with the cloud.

Anjanesh Babu of the University of Oxford worked with CirrusHQ to deliver the service. He said: “Cirrus HQ have been an engaging, proactive and learning partner for us. Every one of their team – from the account manager, to solution architects to accounts have a clear sense of dedication, purpose and focus putting the customer first. They are willing to learn and adapt from customer inputs which puts them solidly ahead in the partnership space. CirrusHQ are considered an extension of our internal team with shared expertise as well as knowledge.”

At the core of this transformation lies the need to leverage data and associated apps and services in a way that is agile, cost effective, secure and scalable. Migrating data, apps and services to a market-leading cloud provider, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), delivers all of this and more. And working with a trusted AWS partner such as CirrusHQ can help education providers unlock the full potential of these benefits.

Bursting cloud-migration myths

Institutions are often concerned about losing control of their data, but cloud migration actually empowers data access and agility. Ultimately cloud migration, using a solution such as AWS, enables educators to focus more time, money and effort on delivering first-class outcomes rather than being distracted by the very real demands of running hardware and software.

Cloud services have evolved rapidly in recent years and many of the perceived barriers to migration no longer exist.

There are a couple of myths when it comes to the cloud. Firstly, that the cloud is too expensive. There is a cost of migration, but cloud providers such as AWS have reduced the total cost of ownership significantly. Cloud services generally now cost less than owning and managing a physical data centre.

The second myth is that the cloud isn’t secure. Market leaders, such as AWS, subject themselves to some of the strictest security controls and audits in the industry. The biggest risks instead now lie with apps and services which have been poorly designed by organisations themselves.

Six benefits of cloud migration in education

Cloud use cases can be found right across the education sector. For example, a step-change in innovation, performance and student provision can be achieved in administration and assessment processing, teaching practices, remote learning and continual professional development. Andre Zelenka, from Birkbeck, University of London said: “AWS Technology is vast and CirrusHQ have engaged with us to understand our requirements, propose a sensible way forward, and help us to execute that. All without recourse to AWS tech speak, smoothing the path for our projects.”

The wider benefits of cloud migration also include: 

Cost reduction – Education companies can, on average, save just under a third (31%) of data management costs.Digital transformation – Cloud isn’t just a great way to store data, it is transformational. For example, it enables public sector organisations to innovate and adopt an entrepreneurial ‘fail fast’ mentality, accelerating time to market.Agility, staff productivity and staff retention – AWS migration is shown to trigger a 66% boost in administrator productivity.Security and resilience – According to IDC, IT systems downtime costs the global economy up to $2.5 billion annually. With AWS, however, companies operate on one secure, robust platform, enabling superior governance.Avoiding vendor lock-in – Market-leading cloud services such as AWS do all the heavy lifting, making it easy for customers using end-of-life products to migrate their databases and servers to the cloud and modernise in a streamlined way. Organisations are urged, however, to take action before vendor lock-in becomes an urgent problem.Scalability at speed – Cloud services such as AWS enable education sector organisations to futureproof their IT ecosystems, scale at their own pace, with no limits, adding resources at the right time and expanding their cloud environment to meet changing needs and goals.

Finding the right partner

Organisations in the education sector looking to move to the cloud will need help throughout the migration process. The ideal partner will have AWS partner certifications, a high customer satisfaction score and case studies demonstrating that they follow best practice.

Proven industry experience in this fast-moving area is also essential. CirrusHQ, for example, has an AWS migration track record going back 15 years, and answers an average of 4,000 customer support requests every month.

It is also worth working with a migration partner with a good geographic spread, so you can be confident of support whenever and wherever you need it. CirrusHQ has capability to deliver in both the UK and EMEA.

To find out more about how CirrusHQ can help click here.

Education Industry

Did you know that evaluating, selecting, and purchasing B2B software can be a long cycle with an average of 3-6months being the minimal time spent on this process? Only 21% of the business believe that they spent less than 3 months looking for and procuring cloud solutions and products however, 80% of the businesses spent over 3 months to 6 months to a year to fit a software that goes step by step with their strategy (Gartner, 2022).


If this resonates with you and your organization, park your worries, and look for ‘Cloud Provider Services’ in vSphere console. Cloud Provider Services capability enables you to choose your ideal, closest Disaster Recovery and Migration partner based on your vSphere console IP location and the nearest Disaster Recovery partner data center. Find your perfect Cloud Provider in three simple steps.

Step 1:

Scan: Visit your vSphere console to scan through the list of local Disaster Recovery & Migration VMware Cloud Providers.


Step 2:
Select: Browse the desired services and offerings from one intuitive interface.


Step 3:
Secure: Complete your service request form to secure the services of your chosen cloud provider.


This feature lists VMware Disaster Recovery Validated partners that have exhibited a proven track record in offering scalable and multi-tenanted VMware Cloud Director Availability DR and Migration services to its customers. Enjoy faster paths to the cloud with Cloud Provider Services, save your precious time and spare your resources to focus on high-value tasks. Your chosen Cloud Provider will be in touch to begin the process while you enjoy the peace of mind from best-in-class disaster recovery and migration expertise and support.

With VMware Cloud Director Availability, VMware Cloud Provider partners can enjoy standardized solutions, it’s agile and has now become a highly sought-after DR & Migration solution that beats legacy DR solutions that have too much red tape. The solution ensures your business’ business continuity direct from your vSphere console by securely replicating your systems and data to private or public Cloud Provider infrastructure and managing the failover and failback process when a disaster happens. Discover the latest features of VMware Cloud Director Availability such as vSphere DR & Migration, One-Click Migration, 1 Minute RPO, Recovery Plan Execution report, and much more.

Watch this video to find out how the ‘Cloud Provider Services’ plugin works, how you can find your perfect partner directly from your vSphere console, and start protecting your VMware investment to a validated VMware Cloud DR and Migration partner.

Cloud Computing, Disaster Recovery, IT Leadership

There are certain truths to be had:

92% percent of organizations have a multi-cloud strategy¹82% of large enterprises have adopted hybrid cloud¹37% of enterprise spend more than $12 million on cloud computing annually¹70% of digital transformation initiatives miss their objectives, often with profound consequences²CIOs continue to seek “hybrid cloud nirvana”Migration is a constant

While perhaps not a truth, experts predict that beyond 2022 there will be less focus on multi or hybrid cloud initial adoption, and more focus on matching workload to the right environment. Why? To cater for continued flux, growth, scalability, security, and cost control. All of that before we even think about managing data.


Figure 1: Triggers to migrate and modernize can be found across the organization and can come from either side: Strategy, Operational, or a mix of needs, driven by the desire to innovate and optimize.

I’d like to widen the migration pool here. A migration in the IT context can be defined as a change in location of application systems or moving data from one environment to another.  Broadly, there are four categories of migrations, which are identified as use-cases in Figure 2:


Migrating workloads can involve several steps that require a thorough planning effort, spanning different functions across the organization such as application developers, IT operations, business operations, and cyber security. But wait: a workload migration project can also involve multiple sub-component level migration workstreams for each infrastructure or software component that constitutes the workload. 

The key questions to ask include the following:

How do I move applications and data without impacting customers and users?What is the best deployment model for my applications and data?What should I consider in “People, Process, and Technology” to ensure a successful migration?

Q1: How do I move applications and data without impacting customers and users?

As soon as customers and users come into the picture it is essential to identify the reason for migration with business goals. Reflecting back to my initial list of truths, a core reason for hybrid or multicloud migration is a lack of preparation at the business level regarding what it means to have cloud as an IT provisioning platform.

The business case should be built on the competitive advantages (or the organization’s mandates), operational efficiency, and both direct and indirect cost savings. It’s easy enough to say “cloud” or hybrid cloud, but, without a unifying strategy, migrating to or towards cloud can just add complexity and operational impediments.

Q2: What is the best deployment model for my applications and data?

Consistency across their platforms is hardly a priority for the major cloud services providers.  In the same way, the cost promise of cloud is a broad-brush concept that isn’t necessarily met uniformly or even at all. Identify suitable workloads for migration, which means the importance of each application is the starting point. Next: identify the ideal platform for the application and why? Critical applications are not only notoriously the most difficult to move, but they support business operations, revenue, and profit, meaning many executives wince at the thought of migration.

A consistent infrastructure helps reduce migration challenges, which in turn enables organizations to move workloads at a much faster rate, should it be needed. The balance between applications and the appropriate platform for each, matched with portability modernization, means constant and ongoing workload rebalancing. Consistent infrastructure is better suited to consistent applications with a “build once, run anywhere” application architecture, whereas migration capabilities deliver two-way movement, as needs and business circumstances determine, subject to vendor capabilities or penalties!

In terms of migration approach, the secret sauce involves automating as much as possible and using a data-based approach in the planning and selection process. This can drastically reduce migration timelines by integrating and streamlining many parts of the process. Your approach should also include tooling for estimating migration costs. A “Right Mix” approach consists of setting a timeline with targets for migration, using software ranging from infrastructure-discovery tools, which can locate and map business processes and actions into vendor workload placement software, to automated questionnaires. Such questionnaires are meant to collate business process data and provide a way to accurately plan a migration. They can be completely agnostic regarding cloud, co-lo, or platform provider, or weighted to follow a predefined business strategy. The idea is to find the best execution venue for workloads after collecting all the relevant data automatically and make decisions based on parameters set by the business.


Q3: What should I consider in “People, Process, and Technology” to ensure a successful migration?

The compatibility of source and destination platforms and the selection of migration tools can impact the speed and cost of migration efforts. Enterprises have typically moved the easy stuff first, like email or CRM, for which there are very mature SaaS platforms. The remaining challenge involves untangling and trying to modernize the rest of their infrastructure or workloads.

Making an effective case for a migration project depends heavily on citing the right justifications, and those justifications are anchored in people, process, and technology aspects. The considerations should include a broad base of priorities, such as:

Agility, scalability, engineering development, and innovation as well as the geographic footprint of the business or its customersCost optimization and the cost benefits of workload migration in business optimization terms, such as business system availability, shorter time-to-market or project times, IT and technical flexibility, and heightened securityMeeting compliance requirements in highly regulated industriesOptimizing data center space, including attitudes and strategies around sustainabilityTechnical debt, perhaps twinned with a lack of server provisioning agility, plus increased reliability and availability


Diagram: illustrates migration criteria and impact comparisons from different stakeholder groups, mapping criteria to a level of confidence

Utilizing analysis tooling that assesses functional and operational impact is a great way to go. The results can then be plotted onto an “ease vs impact” graph to determine workload migration in appropriate waves.

Where does that leave us?

With the right plan, customized to your circumstances and using a tried-and-tested, standardized process, along with a steady, experienced hand at the tiller, your workload migration is more likely to be a painless process, while modernizing your IT operating model, capabilities, and business propensities. Choosing the right partner is as important as any of the criteria already I’ve laid out. Question them. Question their experience working with critical workloads. And question their methodologies.

Learn more about how to successfully migrate your workload here.



About Ian Jagger

Jagger is a content creator and narrator focused on digital transformation, linking technology capabilities expertise with business goals. He holds an MBA in marketing and is a Chartered Marketer. Today, he focuses on digital transformation narrative globally for HPE’s Advisory and Transformation Practice. His experience spans strategic development and planning for Start-ups through to content creation, thought leadership, AR/PR, campaign program building, and implementation for Enterprise. Successful solution launches include HPE Digital Next Advisory, HPE Right Mix Advisor, and HPE Micro Datacenter.

Digital Transformation, IT Leadership