4 Critical Steps to Successfully Migrate to Cloud-Based SaaS

Several businesses in recent years have relied heavily on on-premise solutions despite their limitations.  As per G2, 80% of companies spend over $1.2 million annually on the cloud. In contrast, as per McKinsey, large corporations aim to have about 60% of their operations in the cloud by 2025.

But maintenance expenses, infrastructure demands, and constrained scalability turned out to be all-time challenges when dealing with on-premise solutions.

These limitations affect small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) more acutely as they need more adaptable and flexible solutions to accommodate their needs to scale and evolve.

The remedy?

Moving to a cloud-based Software as a Service or SaaS can be a more practical option that addresses several limitations of on-premise systems.

However, a smooth transfer to the cloud necessitates careful planning and execution.

Let’s look into the four essential steps business owners can follow to ensure a smooth migration to cloud-based SaaS solutions.

1. Recognizing the Need: Why SMBs Should Consider SaaS

Cloud-based SaaS solutions are popular to have many benefits that can transform how you operate and thrive in the modern business world. Consider these facts:

Firstly, as per BetterCloud, nearly 99% of firms and 78% of small businesses have already embraced SaaS tools to streamline their operations.

The reason behind this popularity is that SaaS helps you to implement data-driven management, automate routine tasks, and quickly adapt to ever-changing demands.

SaaS applications also help you scale your growing business efficiently. As your business expands, you can effortlessly add or remove software modules without the hassle of traditional installations and upgrades. This flexibility ensures you’re always equipped to meet customer demands.

Additionally, SaaS aids in customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction. These tools offer user-friendly interfaces, frequent updates, and customer support, enhancing your ability to cater to your clients effectively.

Assessing need is where you lay the foundation for a smooth transition. Here’s a practical guide to get you started.

Architecture Assessment:

Start by examining your current IT architecture. Take stock of your applications, servers, and network infrastructure. Identify any legacy systems that might pose compatibility challenges in the cloud.

Assess the performance bottlenecks and security vulnerabilities.

Ask yourself: What needs to stay on-premises, and what can move to the cloud? Make a detailed inventory, and don’t forget to engage your IT team for their insights.

Database Assessment and Redesign:

Your data is the lifeblood of your organization. Begin by cataloging your databases and data types. Analyze data dependencies and consider data governance. Assess the scalability and performance requirements for each database.

It’s often necessary to refactor or re-architect databases to align with cloud-native practices. Plan for data migration, ensuring minimal downtime and data integrity.

Tools like AWS Database Migration Service or Azure Database Migration Service can be invaluable here.

Cloud Deployment Models:

Choose the right cloud deployment model for your needs. Public, private, or hybrid? This decision hinges on factors like data sensitivity, compliance requirements, and budget constraints.

Opt for a cloud provider that aligns with your organization’s goals and has a robust infrastructure in your desired region.

2. Strategizing the Migration: What to Know Before You Jump

When migrating applications to the cloud, one of the most critical decisions you’ll face is how much to modify your app to maximize the benefits of the cloud environment. Depending on your cloud and workload expertise, there are six primary migration strategies to consider:

Rehost: In the rehosting migration strategy, you lift and shift your existing data and applications to the cloud server. This approach falls under Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and is a relatively straightforward way to get your apps into the cloud.
Refactor: Refactoring involves optimizing your applications specifically for the cloud environment. Here, you’ll choose Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions to fully leverage the cloud’s capabilities. It often involves adjusting your code and architecture to align with cloud best practices.
Revise: Going a step further than refactoring; the revised strategy demands more substantial alterations to the design and code of your migrated systems. This approach aims to improve the other processes and may require significant code changes to harness cloud benefits fully.
Rebuild: Rebuilding takes the revision process to the next level. Instead of modifying existing code, you create a new code base optimized for the cloud. Companies opt for this strategy when they recognize that their current solutions no longer meet their evolving business needs.
Replace: As an alternative to rebuilding, the replacement strategy involves partially redeveloping your native application. In this case, you’ll identify and replace specific components or modules of your application to better align with the cloud environment.
Retire: The retire strategy removes application components that cannot be effectively migrated to the cloud. This approach streamlines your migration by eliminating legacy elements that may no longer serve a purpose in the cloud-based setup.

3. Choosing Your Partner Wisely: How to Choose a SaaS Development Company

When migrating to cloud-based SaaS, it’s crucial to follow best practices for how to choose a SaaS development company. This initial step can set the tone for your entire project. Here’s a practical guide to help you make an informed decision and ensure you’re partnering with the right team:

Avoid Bait & Switch Pricing:

You should be cautious of cost overruns, a common pitfall in software development.

Some teams may entice you with unbelievably low bids, but this often leads to hidden fees. To safeguard your project, follow the best practice of gathering estimates from 3-4 different vendors.

Reputable firms will transparently explain how they arrived at their estimate. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Process Over Product:

One of the best practices for choosing a SaaS development company is focusing on its internal and customer-facing processes.

While the end product is crucial, the process a development company follows can make or break your project. Ensure their practices align with your needs and expectations.

Run a Background Check:

Just as you would with a potential employee, follow the best practice of running a background check on your prospective development partner.

Check references, review their portfolio, and inquire about their track record of successful projects.

4. Ensuring a Smooth Transition: Tips for a Successful Migration

When embarking on the journey to migrate your business operations to a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, like many others, your success hinges on the first critical step: Data Migration. It’s the foundation upon which your new digital world will be built, so let’s dive into practical steps to make it a smooth transition.

Assess Your Data: Begin by understanding what data you have, where it resides, and how critical it is to your operations. Identify redundant or obsolete data and decide what should move to the cloud.
Choose the Right Tools: Selecting the correct migration tools is key. Tools like AWS DataSync, Azure Data Factory, or Google Cloud Data Transfer Service can simplify the process. Evaluate these based on your specific needs and budget.
Plan meticulously:Decide between a big bang or incremental migration. Develop a timeline that minimizes downtime. Test the strategy in a controlled environment first.
Select the Appropriate Data Model:Depending on your data type, choose a suitable model. Relational databases, NoSQL databases, or data warehouses – the choice should align with your SaaS provider and your business’s long-term goals.

Remember, data migration is not a one-size-fits-all process. Tailor it to your unique circumstances, and keep communication lines open with your team

Final Thoughts

Integrating top cloud solutions for SMBs can significantly enhance operational efficiency and drive growth. Understanding cloud migration strategies’ differences is critical in harnessing a great solution.

It’s like picking the right tool for the job, ensuring efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Start with a clear roadmap, assessing and aligning your needs with the right strategy.

Remember, the cloud offers immense potential, and knowing how to navigate it is your ticket to scalability and success. So, take that leap with confidence, armed with the knowledge, to make the best choices for your business.