In this post, Cloudreach’s Rob Duffy discusses why speeding up cloud migration initiatives is one of the best ways for businesses to respond to crisis events.

The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic. -Peter Drucker

In times of crisis, a common natural reaction is to wait out the storm, delaying action in favor of laying low. However, when extraordinary events upend entire industries, the ability to adapt and utilize available technology will be the major differentiator for many businesses in staying afloat and even, in some cases, thriving.

This kind of adaptation played out before our eyes at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in several industries: Media companies pivoted to digital platforms when theaters were forced to close; the fitness industry saw an extreme acceleration of the growth of online services with connected devices at the expense of brick and mortar gyms; grocery stores expanded online ordering in response to swelling demand.

In the context of Cloud, businesses that can migrate quickly, scale as needed, and launch new services to address new market demands will gain a considerable advantage.

Revising Strategies

When faced with a sudden crisis, most business leaders act in accordance with three main priorities:

  1. Ensuring that employees are safe
  2. Helping customers, the user population, and the community overcome setbacks
  3. Identifying business impact and form a plan to stabilize for the short-term so they can strategize for the medium and long-term

Carrying out this plan is no easy task– leading a business in crisis mode can be very different than during business as usual.

Highly disruptive events can drastically transform business models by causing their competitive advantages to become disadvantages almost overnight. For example, before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, physical grocery stores relied on footfall and allowed customers to touch their inventory, giving them a competitive advantage over online-grocery shopping businesses. However, social distancing measures greatly restricted customer movement, driving a sharp uptick in online grocery shopping. Almost overnight, the physical shopping business model was rendered redundant.

Crises of all kinds — natural disasters, infectious disease outbreaks, or any circumstances that upend the status quo — demand that leaders reconsider their business and determine how they can respond and adapt quickly to new styles of work and new competition. This may require realigning costs with revenue and, in some cases, completely pivoting their business model to stay relevant to the market.

These events construct a perfect case study on the benefits of adopting public Cloud, with its utility pricing, elastic capacity and unlimited scale.

From Strategic to Tactical

Until now, most cloud migrations have been part of wider, digital transformation strategies, undertaken, for example, when a business wants to tap into a new market or shift from B2B to B2C. In these initiatives, cloud migration focused predominantly on front-end, customer-centric applications, enabling scale and agility to add new features.

But crisis response forces organizations to take a tactical rather than strategic approach to cloud migration initiatives. As businesses race to overcome immediate problems and challenges, accessing the Cloud can provide much-needed benefits and flexibility, whether by migrating a single app or an entire estate.

For example, on one end of the spectrum, certain digital platforms (e.g., online learning) experienced skyrocketing user surges during the Covid-19 outbreak. Those that were cloud-based and could scale elastically thrived. Tactically moving certain apps to the Cloud before the beginning of a crisis can help businesses pivot or double down on services that previously required less capacity.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many industries (e.g., travel and hospitality) saw a sharp drop in customers. They scaled down their systems and operating costs accordingly, demonstrating how a tactical move to the Cloud can help businesses optimize and address crucial imbalances between cost and revenue.

Don’t Forget the Back End

Major crises also expose the vulnerabilities associated with physically managing the back-end systems of an IT estate:

  • Access to an office or centralized location may be difficult or impossible.
  • Snags in the hardware supply chain may disrupt maintenance and scale-up work
  • Most importantly, businesses risk jeopardizing the health and safety of data center workers

Think of the peace of mind gained by setting up back-end systems in the Cloud and entrusting data center maintenance to your chosen cloud provider.

Build Toward Flexibility

Unforeseen crisis events force IT leaders to make challenging decisions under chaotic circumstances that leave little time for discovery and require immediate action with an act-sense-respond approach. Building toward flexibility should be the overarching goal. The future may be uncertain, but there’s one thing businesses can count on: Survival depends on innovation. The Cloud is the perfect platform upon which to build that foundation.

If you are looking to accelerate your move to the cloud, our strategy & cloud migration services will help you strategize, assess, plan, and execute your migration.  

Still not convinced that it’s time to move to the cloud? Read our ebook: Is it time to break up with your data center?

How Accelerating Cloud Migration Can Drive Successful Crisis Response