Cloud migration services demand new talents, approaches and more

Partners evolve as they move customers' business apps to the cloud, learning the skills and approach and about further business opportunities.

IT shops that want to use the cloud as the compute platform for some or all of their applications must first migrate those applications to the cloud. That task is easier said than done, and many companies are turning to channel partners for help. However, as customers are increasingly turning to the channel for help moving certain business functions off-premises, the migration demands a skill set -- and mindset -- that traditional partners may not have.

Over the years, customers have developed a relationship with their solution providers as strategic sources for their traditional hardware and software needs, observed Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies. "It is almost an impulse on their part when they hear about cloud to turn to [their solution providers],'' he said. "Unfortunately, in many cases, the traditional channel partners have not been keeping pace with this movement to cloud. Either their heads are down doing what they've always done and not paying attention to it … or they're threatened by it, because they've made their money helping companies select and deploy" hardware and software and keeping it up and running.

Some traditional partners falsely believe that once applications are in the cloud, not much work is needed to maintain them, Kaplan said. Yet once applications are migrated, there is still opportunity for channel companies to provide management/monitoring support as well as troubleshoot any issues that might arise with cloud-based systems.

For those channel companies that are happy to manage their customers' cloud-based systems, migrating apps to the cloud may require modifying the code of the existing software and, in some cases, implementing data integration connectors that will link to a software as a service solution and align the data during the cloud migration process, said Kaplan.

"You want to start small and incrementally grow'' the number of applications being migrated, he said. "That's the most appealing part of these cloud services: You don't have to make a big bet upfront."

A typical cloud migration

Software and service company Cloud Technology Partners (CTP) has done cloud migration services work for the past four years. The company is now seeing an increase in activity, as more clients are moving beyond the strategy phase and into the execution phase, said John Treadway, senior vice president.

This was first published in July 2014

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