In the SourceFuse “Talking Out Cloud” leadership chat series, we were joined by special guest, Ankit Kumar Gupta from Amazon Web Services (AWS), discussing large-scale cloud migration drivers, overcoming roadblocks or challenges, and taking advantage of the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP).

#1 What are the biggest drivers that initiate a customer’s cloud journey and migrate to AWS Cloud?

There are many different drivers that initiate a customer’s journey. The first thing in everyone’s mind is cost reduction. We see customers save from 25% to 50% or more savings when they move to AWS, depending on the existing infrastructure or applications. But there are many other compelling reasons or triggers why a customer might have to migrate to AWS Cloud. For example, looking at data center migration, consolidation of data centers, or because their existing hardware or software is coming to the end of its life.

In the last two years of the pandemic, there’s a change happening with the customer discussions. Boards of Directors are much more involved – and not just looking at cost reduction; they want the business to be much more agile and move a lot faster. They want the ability to quickly experiment in different market segments, or invent and create new customer experiences. They’ve also been wanting to modernize their operating model and business culture when migrating to AWS.

Customers have started to realize that focusing only on cost reduction will not achieve the purpose or business goals of the organization. The big change is that customers have started talking more about the business benefits of transformation rather than cost savings. With this change in mindset, customers are now exploring modernization, going beyond a conversation purely on workloads migration to AWS. And AWS can improve that journey with many plug and play cloud native services plus the resilient architecture that a customer is looking for.

#2 SourceFuse takes a modernization-led migration approach, but what is the AWS perspective on large-scale cloud migration?

Migrations are our top strategic priority, next only to security and operational performance of the AWS platform, as quoted by Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO, at our annual flagship conference, re:Invent. Although the statement was made a couple of years ago, when he was CEO of AWS, it still remains true today.

2020-21 were eventful years for everyone, and that’s when we placed migrations front and center of the business, either in terms of the impact we created or the big-name customers we onboarded. We also saw an impact on increased revenue not only in our organization but also for our AWS Partners. The sheer momentum of migration that we created in the market saw customers reaching out to us, wanting to know what we’d achieved with other companies regarding migration to the AWS platform.

And we don’t just focus on enterprises. In the last two years we’ve increasingly been talking to mid-market and SMB customers about migration aspects and digital-native business. We have created multiple mechanisms to help us develop deep customer relationships on a long-term basis to truly understand their thoughts and goals. Mechanisms such as customer innovation workshops or residential weeks have 1) really created interest in customers’ minds, 2) helped AWS better understand the customer, and 3) ensured we address their requirements once more in-depth discussions get underway.

#3 What is your advice to anyone considering cloud migration via the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP)?

Based on the thousands of migrations that we’ve done across the globe we’ve developed a unique migration program called the Migration Acceleration Program, or MAP. To some this program may seem like an investment program, but there are multiple other attributes that this comprehensive and proven cloud migration program brings, including best practices and expertise from both AWS and qualified migration partners such as SourceFuse.

There are multiple tools that we use to take customers from wherever they are currently to being on the AWS platform – the idea is to ensure they secure maximum benefits of AWS Cloud as they migrate. We follow a unique, prescribed methodology based on our six to seven years large-scale cloud migration experience, and we continuously refine the program based on customer and partner feedback. The idea is to make sure that the customer successfully migrates at speed with the position and scale to bring real transformation.

#4 What steps or phases are involved in AWS MAP?

We created a three-step framework for MAP, where we go from an assessment to the mobilize phase, before moving to the migrate and modernize phase. Customers really like this approach because they really understand where to start their migration journey, each phase giving them more confidence in their move to AWS.

  1. Assessment
    In this phase, we provide free assessment tools, like a Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA) or Optimization & Licensing Assessment (OLA), to understand the benefits of migrating. We identify the areas of capability that can be improved with the help of our partners, and determine any existing gaps they might have and mitigate for those e.g. technical gaps.
  2. Mobilize
    Here, we build some capabilities to migrate and operate in the cloud, focusing on the operational readiness of the organization to prepare them for the move to AWS. Along with a migration-focused AWS Consulting Partner, we look at their cloud skill gaps then create a strong migration plan detailing a compelling business case for AWS cloud migration. We use multiple accelerators to collect the inventory, understand the application data, assess the portfolio, develop specific governance models, and then create the initial migration plan. Secondly, we carry out a proof of concept (PoC) that involves creating a production environment to validate the landing zone. With the support of dedicated training, enablement, and certification teams, this really helps build the customer confidence, ongoing skills and competencies required for the third phase.
  3. Migrate and Modernize
    In this phase, we execute the large-scale cloud migration and the cloud operations. Having completed the mobilize phase, migration can proceed rapidly and efficiently during this last phase. And during this phase, we have seen 10 – 20% of customer applications take advantage of modernization.

#5 Could you tell us more about AWS’s ongoing focus on migration?

In the last two years we have seen a huge transformation in customer conversations because of the pandemic. As a result, we have made a couple of shifts in the way we talk to the customers and in the AWS mindset. Firstly, we are making a distinct shift away from the lift–and–shift approach and talking more about how customers can modernize their applications. Having this conversation early in their journey is vital in helping them appreciate modernization benefits – and customers are really valuing that.

Secondly, because we talk about the organizational changes when moving to AWS cloud, we see more and more CXOs getting involved in these critical decision–making conversations. Gone are the days when we were only seeing the IT or Finance teams when discussing cloud migration; now we have healthy discussions with, and contributions from, CEOs and CMOs as well. We’ve seen the value and importance of bringing to customers our global best practices and we can continue to up our game in expanding our knowledge of industry trends.

In summary, the message we provide to the customers and the way we are talking to our customers helps us to understand the pain points they’re looking to solve and demonstrate how AWS can mitigate those challenges.

Ready to start your large-scale cloud migration journey and discover the benefits of modernization? Start your free migration readiness today.