Digital Transformation: Accelerate While Preserving the Existing!

While Internet and cloud computing deliver a growth driver promise and new uses, their adoption by French companies is still too slow. This is a paradox, when it appears that 60% of IT decision makers in the world consider that these new disruptive technologies will bring value to their business1. And if the issues of data security, and the lack of a simple alternative to transform existing software into SaaS, could explain this delay, solutions now exist to accelerate the shift to the Cloud.

The Reality of Digital Transformation in France

Benefits of digital transformation, thanks to Internet, are well established. Mobility results in a better efficiency, while dematerialization in the cloud leads to a better computing budget control.

Today, the actual question is: when and how to make evolve all the software which are essential to the enterprise in order to adapt them to new uses?

Of course, the sooner, the better, but it appears that French companies do not engage themselves in the same manner and at the same speed as their competitors.

Several studies thus reveal that French digital actors (with more than 300 editors) are still not ready to benefit from the economic potential of the Internet. According to the Council of Economic Analysis2, “the digital economy has fallen behind in France”. And McKinsey3 points out that “by 2020, France could increase the share of digital in GDP €100bn per year, provided that companies significantly accelerate their digital transformation”, by integrating the “potential impact of disruptive digital technologies (cloud computing, 3D printing, internet of Things, Big Data …)”.

According to Henri Pidault, expert in cloud computing migration and SaaS solutions at Deloitte, data location remains an issue which slows the transition to SaaS. But the danger for French companies and software editors, according to this expert, is to miss a real opportunity for economic development.

The Cloud: Driver of Growth and Agility

Indeed, digital transformation is a leverage for business growth.

For instance, the german editor SAP saw 14.5% of its turnover in 2014 being generated by its Cloud offerings4, twice the previous year.

French publishers are increasingly aware of the reality of this growth driver. 43% of them say today that the transition to the Cloud is their first priority5.

For the enterprises, it is also the opportunity of modernizing their internal applications, while protecting them. To use them in a web browser is an example. Simplifying maintenance and user license management is also one of the benefits of the applications transformation in a SaaS model.

Accelerate With Your Legacy Applications

Hopefully, new solutions exist to make up for the existing delay.

On the infrastructures side (IaaS), OVH, Ikoula, Numergy or Cloudwatt, among others, have offers which are located in France. Multiple Outsourcers and IT consulting firms can also assist companies and editors in an infrastructure set-up adapted to their needs.

For the more complex case of porting existing applications to the cloud, three strategies are possible:

  • Acquiring a competing solution, often provided by a startup, tantamount to buy a technology that offers cloud features similar to existing application functionalities. When such a solution exists, it is the opportunity for a rapid modernization.
  • The complete rewrite of a native cloud solution is the chance to start on new foundations. But it requires to hire new skills and to correctly estimate the rewrite time6 and related risks.
  • The fastest solution is to transform the application output into a HTML5 flux. This way is interesting, thanks to new market solutions which are affordable and provide SaaS features, such as use statistics and multi-user collaboration.

These three strategies are summarized in the following table.

The Hybrid Transformation as a Solution

The hybrid approach that could be recommended, to be in no time present in the SaaS domain, while preparing a native cloud version, is to choose two strategies in parallel: start with a fast transformation solution (application streaming with cloud plugins) and plan in the same time, in an incremental mode, the rewrite of a native cloud solution.

This hybrid approach is a straightforward way to be compatible with the new uses and new business models, while moving quietly towards a new solution that can be planned over several years.