3 Hard Truths About Cloud Migration (and How to Afford a Modern IT Stack)

CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and internal IT departments are facing a dilemma — how do they leverage advanced technologies that run in the cloud when their IT operations budget is already bloated? Can they ultimately save money by buckling down and accelerating cloud migration? 

Companies might save money, but that’s not the reason to accelerate cloud adoption. The goal is to run a lean, mean, modern IT machine that accelerates your business

The solution is to transition as much as possible to the cloud as soon as you can. Here’s why:

Truth #1: The world has moved beyond older technology

No one likes to hear that something they’ve invested in is outdated, but the truth is traditional IT can’t keep up with the pace of change. 

Modern cloud environments deliver functionalities that help companies make smarter decisions faster — and much of it can be automated. Machine learning, AI, big data analytics, intelligent automation, and other advanced tools run in the cloud and accelerate business.

While sticking with older technologies might seem easier (and cheaper) for now, the truth is the longer you postpone modernization, the longer you postpone its benefits and the more you fall behind. Postponing doesn’t save money, either. Building and operating a fully cloud-based infrastructure today costs about the same as it did to build a hybrid model a few years ago, and it isn’t likely to get less expensive. 

It might help to think about cloud migration like the migration from VHS tapes to DVDs to streaming. 

How does your company compare to others in the same situation?

Most companies still run traditional infrastructure — but how much? 

When Rackspace surveyed a cross-section of 1,420 IT professionals worldwide for its 2023 Cloud Modernization Research Report, it asked where companies ran their workloads. Respondents reported an average of:

  • 24% on-premises
  • 41% in private cloud
  • 35% in public cloud 

By 2026, respondents expect to have migrated more than half of their on-premises workload to the cloud, split almost evenly between private and public clouds.  

Notably, 90% of respondents said AI is a primary factor driving modernization, and 80% said that failing to modernize would prevent them from taking full advantage of AI. 

Yet, the cost of using older technology goes beyond the inability to leverage AI. Specifically, respondents said failing to modernize would lead to “increased costs (32%), poor security (27%), integration challenges (26%), a lack of innovation (26%), and the inability to adopt advanced technologies (25%).” 

None of those is good for business.

Truth #2: Duplicate infrastructures waste money and are inefficient 

Did your company add cloud services quickly during the pandemic? 

Most companies did this to stay in business, and they have since continued to run their legacy infrastructure simultaneously. The truth is it’s too expensive to run duplicate IT infrastructure long-term. 

Complexity bloats budgets

The cost of duplication includes paying upfront for traditional IT (or CapEx), monthly for cloud subscriptions (OpEx), and daily to manage and secure both environments. It also likely includes overpaying for licensing, compliance, and inefficiencies like underutilizing capacity. 

As with The High Cost of IT Vendor Sprawl, it’s difficult to track and allocate funds effectively and identify waste when you’re spreading your resources across so many entities

What’s more, companies are duplicating talent, too. You need experts with different skill sets to manage different environments. Cloud and infrastructure engineers are some of today’s most expensive and sought-after IT resources. 

How are companies solving the dilemma?

CIOs who can migrate to nearly all-cloud infrastructure are striving to get out of CapEx entirely. However, most companies are too complicated for that and have complex security issues to manage. Instead, most CIOs are accelerating cloud migration wherever they can by using benchmarking, conferring with peers, and working with cloud migration partners. 

How CIOs Are Succeeding by Accelerating Cloud Adoption looks at three Leapfrog clients and how we helped them end wasteful duplication by migrating traditional workloads to the cloud.  

Truth #3: You need to pay off technical debt even though it’s expensive

If there were a cloud-migration switch to flip, all this would be easy. The truth is you need to follow proven cloud migration processes that begin with assessing your current environment, which will reveal your technical debt. 

Technical debt includes the shortcuts or workarounds you’ve taken while deploying and managing your technology. To migrate, you have to fix what’s not standard — otherwise known as paying off your technical debt — before you can successfully transition your workloads to the cloud. 

Why technical debt costs more each month

Technical debt introduces risk, makes your systems less resilient and harder to manage, and requires increasingly creative workarounds when integrating new solutions. And if you want to innovate or migrate quickly, technical debt can hamstring your plans. In the end, technical debt is more expensive to ignore than to fix.

Keep in mind that having some technical debt is normal and technical debt exploded during the pandemic. If the amount of debt you’ve incurred is truly overwhelming, consider starting fresh and going all-cloud from scratch.

Leapfrog recommends including budgeting for paying off technical debt in your annual IT operations budget

What’s the best way to pay down the debt? 

  • Assess existing systems and documentation
  • Prioritize based on risk, costs, business impact, and cloud-migration relevance 
  • Develop a detailed roadmap and align it with your migration timeline 
  • Execute the plan adhering to best practices

At Leapfrog, we use the Agile project management approach. By systematically addressing technical debt through defined collections of tasks — and automating those tasks when possible — we reduce migration risks, and you can better leverage the cloud right out of the gate.

How to afford a modern IT stack

Given the hard truths about cloud migration, the best way to afford modern IT is to get rid of old IT.

And get rid of it before it causes more pain. The high cost of postponing can smack you in the face at any moment through a cyber event, massive interoperability issue, or unexpected external factor

Migrating away from traditional infrastructure is not a recommendation Leapfrog makes lightly — we are an MSP, MSSP, and cybersecurity specialists who have been building and managing on-premises technologies as part of hybrid environments for more than 25 years. We understand the resources involved in accelerating cloud migration, but we also witness the overriding truth every day:

Operating a sprawling, outdated IT ecosystem isn’t sustainable. 

Feel free to reach out to Leapfrog if you need help accelerating cloud migration. We’ve completed hundreds of migrations successfully — the IT ecosystems we manage are streamlined, high-performing, flexible, and secure by design.