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).

Gartner

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.

VMware

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

VMware

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

VMware

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.

HPE

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:

HPE

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.

HPE

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

HPE

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.

¹https://www.flexera.com/blog/cloud/cloud-computing-trends-2022-state-of-the-cloud-report/
²https://www.bcg.com/publications/2020/increasing-odds-of-success-in-digital-transformation

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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

Only a minority of companies who are either current SAP customers, or plan to become SAP ERP users, have completed their migration to the company’s S/4HANA system, even though support for its ECC on-premises suite will end in 2030, according to a report from digital transformation services provider LeanIX.

Just 12% of current and intended SAP ERP users responding to a LeanIX survey have completed the transition to S/4HANA, SAP’s cloud-based ERP suite that runs on the HANA in-memory database. The survey polled 100 enterprise architects, IT managers and other IT practitioners across US and Europe.

Another 12% of those surveyed said they intend to migrate, but have postponed the start of their S/4HANA transformation, and 74% of enterprises that were polled are just at the  evaluation and planning phase of their ERP transformation journey, LeanIX reports.

SAP introduced S/4HANA in 2015, expecting its existing base of 35,000 customers (as estimated by Gartner) to convert to the new ERP system.

However, SAP’s earnings disclosure show that S/4HANA has been attracting more new users rather than existing SAP ERP customers. In the last quarter of 2021, about half of all S/4HANA were new users, and for the last two quarters, 60% of S/4HANA users were new SAP customers.

Alignment among teams the biggest challenge

Almost 66% of respondents said that alignment, especially among IT teams, is the biggest challenge when it comes to S/4HANA mirgation.

“This may be due to the size of internal SAP teams: In 63% of the companies, these teams are often made up by more than 50 people,” the report reads.

Further, it states that only very few SAP teams work closely with enterprise architects, who can provide clarity about complex ERP landscapes and their dependencies within the whole software environment in an enterprise.

Only 33% of respondents termed the collaboration between the SAP and enterprise architecture teams in their enterprise as close, and 22% of respondents said that there is no collaboration between the teams at all.

Out of all of the enterprise architects surveyed, only 38% feel sufficiently involved with a transformation project, the report shows.

ERP, software dependencies pose challenges

And due to the lack of collaboration with enterprise architecture teams, almost 50% of respondents say that they see both the definition of the target architecture or roadmap and the identification of dependencies between ERP systems and the surrounding software landscape as challenging for SAP S/4HANA migration.

When asked about the level of transparency into these landscapes, only 20% of respondents said they always have a comprehensive overview or can achieve it in under one month, with 47% of respondents saying that they would need more than three months to provide an overview of all applications and systems, including all ERP solutions and dependencies, used by an enterprise.

Uncertainty over HANA transition period

Despite time for support for SAP ECC coming to an end, there is still uncertainty over the time needed for an enterprise to move to S/4HANA, according to the report.

While Gartner estimates or prescribes a three-to-five-year period as ideal for S/4HANA transition, almost 36% of respondents said that it could take more than three years, followed by 33% respondents estimating that it would take less than two years to upgrade.

However, when asked if the time currently planned for S/4HANA transition would be enough, 37% of respondents say that they would not be able to give an estimate, with 29% saying that they have not adhered to the time planned and overshot it.

Only 33% of respondents estimate that they will be able to complete the ERP transformation according to their planned schedule, the report shows.

Business IT Alignment, Digital Transformation, ERP Systems, IT Management

The ANWR Group, a Mainhausen-based community of financial services and retailers in the footwear, sporting goods, and leather goods industries, has, until 2018, used the ERP system of its bank subsidiary DZB Bank, and as a result, banking sector regulations for financial accounting and controlling also applied to the retail area of ​​the company.

Over time, these regulations became more restrictive, and the flexibility needed for the trading industry was no longer available. “We had already started separating the IT systems a few years earlier in order to better prepare both the bank and the trading companies for the respective requirements,” recalls ANWR Group CIO Sven Kulikowsky. The ERP software was the last shared system.

Together in the greenfield

ANWR adopts a cloud-first strategy for new IT projects, and in 2018, the IT department tackled the migration to SAP S/4HANA together with the business areas of financial accounting and controlling. There was already knowledge of the solutions from the Walldorf-based software company since the previous core system was an on-premises SAP R/3 that was heavily modified. So the new environment really had to be based on a greenfield approach in the public cloud set up by SAP.

“It was extremely important to get the departments on board from the start,” says Kulikowsky. Together they determined what the new solution had to be able to do from the start. In joint workshops, mixed teams from business departments and the IT evaluated the capabilities and degree of maturity of the cloud platform.

Agile with purpose

In order to organize the change, a steering committee was formed as the highest control body. Underneath, a project board formed as a control team from Kulikowsky and his counterparts in financial accounting and controlling, which coordinated with the project manager of the external partner Camelot ITLab for two hours a week. The team received input from cross-functional working groups made up of staff and external consultants, who discussed problems with specific processes. “We were able to quickly compare different opinions and make decisions,” says Kulikowsky. As a result, departments and IT have always pulled together.

He set a goal of migrating all systems to the new environment by the end of 2021, and the 2021 annual financial statements created with S/4HANA. Plus, the 2022 financial year was to start without the old environment, and to do this, Kulikowsky defined nine waves.

Cloud Management, SAP