Your transition to the cloud does not have to be an ordeal. This 5-step plan will help you turn potential obstacles into advantages.
1. Prepare your customers
How should you deal with your customers’ cold feet? Well, you should not force them to go to the cloud overnight. Make sure you first give your customers a clear explanation of your intended upgrade path.
A convenient intermediary step – not only for your company but also your customers – is cloud disaster recovery: the option to create a back-up of all your data in the cloud. While your customers continue to work with a local application, they will gradually become acquainted with the advantages offered by a cloud environment. At the same time, as an ISV, you will be able to lay the foundations of your future cloud application.
2. A mobile read-only app
If you have convinced enough customers to store their data in the cloud, you can take the next step. An app will allow your customers to consult their data on mobile devices or via web browsers.
Make sure to include enough security features so that your customers’ newly kindled enthusiasm will not be marred by data theft or loss. Water-tight authentication, like that offered by Azure Active Directory, isn’t a luxury – it is essential. And because APIs like this only need to run in the cloud, this will have little to no impact on how you configure your mobile app.
3. The transition
The next step involves relieving your clients of managing their local infrastructure. Although their applications will still run on their desktops, with tools like Citrix, the Azure Remote App, or a virtual desktop environment, you can prepare for the transition behind the scenes.
You will already be benefiting from the advantages of the cloud. An experienced programmer can develop a desktop application to automatically determine when the migration took place and switch to the cloud variant immediately after.
Of course, you have to be sure that your processes are compatible with the cloud infrastructure. A certified hosting partner who has mastered the necessary tools, processes, and upgrade systems will be invaluable. This is also the perfect time to adjust your price plans that cover both the application and the underlying infrastructure.
4. Expanding your mobile app
Your customers are storing their data in the cloud and are familiar with your remote solution. This will give you a solid basis on which to install new features on your read-only app. The more services you offer, the more users will make the transition. In the meantime, you can pull the plug on your desktop application.
Once you have completed these steps, you have a true SaaS application. But that’s not the end of it! You now need to further optimize the application while maximizing the benefits of the cloud: For example, you could also…
- ... allow multiple clients to use the same database to keep your costs down;
- ... centralize background processes on your old local software; or
- ... stop using your remote solution entirely and start operating exclusively on the web or using mobile applications.