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The Cloud Journey: An Evolutionary Path, not a Revolutionary Leap

In this blog post, we will discuss why cloud transformation journeys hit roadblocks, how to better strategize, and the different ways of strategizing cloud transformation journeys.

Charu Upadhyay / October 05, 2023
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Conway’s Law states that “Organizations, who design systems, are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.”

The democratization of the cloud has opened its doors to all, solving once impossible barriers. Embracing the cloud is crucial for businesses pursuing cloud transformation and resilience, but many are facing challenges in realizing the expected value and benefits. If you believed, you would get rid of the physical datacentres, and would be rolling in a fortune. Unfortunately, reality is more complex.

Organizations have and are still investing millions of dollars in their cloud transformation journey yet seems lost or find themselves distant from their goals. Why does this gap exist?

In this blog post, we will discuss why cloud transformation journeys hit roadblocks, how to better strategize, the different ways of strategizing cloud transformation journeys and later in the second part of this post we will delve in into a captivating case study, the remarkable digital transformation journey of a big retail store, with the invaluable assistance of Tietoevry which not only revolutionized their operations but also elevated the overall customer experience to new heights.

Cloud Transformation - Rome wasn't built in a day

The true essence of cloud transformation lies not in merely shifting things from on-premises to the cloud, but in harnessing its benefits. If it were merely a lift-and-shift task, everyone would have already achieved cloud transformation. Also, it is not a matter of blindly emulating others, but rather understanding your context, your current landscape, your purpose, and challenges. This understanding serves as the foundation for crafting a roadmap that help you navigate this journey towards success. Just like life throws us unforeseen, unexpected, surprising moments, the realm of cloud technology holds similar surprises. Without vigilant observation, every twist and turn can catch you off guard.

Your strategy for cloud transformation can be categorized as either revolutionary or evolutionary. Let us understand more about these approaches.

The Evolutionary Approach (Incremental Change) involves taking baby steps. Each step is a deliverable and provides an opportunity to analyse. It involves decision-making with all the required stakeholders and capturing their experience stories and feedback to continually improve the approach and make smart decisions.

On the other hand, the Revolutionary Approach (Transformational Change) is fast paced and mostly focussed on the application-oriented transformation. As the focus here is on the starting and destination points, this big-bang change may result in potential planning gaps and challenges which may lead to unsatisfactory outcomes.

The question then arises: Which approach is better suited - Revolutionary or Evolutionary?

The choice depends on the use case and objectives of each requirement. Each approach has its pros and cons. For instance, when dealing with greenfield projects, a revolutionary approach might be apt. This is because instead of investing upfront on on-premises infrastructure, you can get resources on-demand and pay only for what they use. This also holds true for organizations who are already using cloud native technologies in their on-premises setups, for them substantial efforts would still be required but cloud transformation would not be an uphill task.

However, for large corporations or small corporations with extensive and complex systems, big bang approach might not be the best decision. The ‘everything, everywhere, all at once approach’ has often failed to gain sincere consideration. In such scenarios, an evolutionary approach could be better suited and more effective.

The beauty of the evolutionary approach lies in how this journey is crafted. Through these tiny and incremental steps, you assess each step against your desired ROI (Return on investment). The insights gained at each step act as guiding lights, helping you navigate your journey in the right direction and determine if you are moving towards or away from the goal. Although you might not immediately notice significant differences when comparing two simultaneous deliveries at any given point in time, over the course of a year, you will witness substantial progress from your starting point to the destination. This method focuses on making iterative improvements, which avoids alarming people and causing disruptions to internal systems, as they can be sensitive to abrupt and drastic changes.

Below are some questions that can be used as a checklist to identify whether you need a revolutionary or evolutionary roadmap.

  • Why do we believe digitalization of our applications/systems is necessary?
  • How does the success look like i.e., what ROI we are looking for?
  • What is the scope of this transformation? Is it to completely modernize or optimise specific services?
  • How much committed are we towards this journey? Do we have required inhouse expertise or need to develop?
  • Are we ready to embrace cultural shift for this organizational wide shift change?
  • What kind of infrastructure do we have? Is it legacy or already cloud native?
  • How complex our applications and services are? Are they critical with many dependencies?
  • How the stages of evolution for each component would look like?
  • What are our risk tolerance capabilities?
  • Do we have any budget and resource constraints?
  • Do we have any time constraints or competitive pressures?
  • How is the various stakeholders/user experience going to be affected?


imagen0hpjn.png Are you facing the push to embrace digitalization due to industry trends, or are impending deadlines compelling a transformation? Furthermore, if your software is nearing its End of Support (EOS) phase and system discontinuation is a possibility, pursuing an evolutionary strategy might hinder your progress, jeopardizing your deadline commitments.

imageea8z.png If you operate as a tightly regulated institution, bound by a complex web of legal obligations, moving forward without meticulous planning and security measures is not an option. The constraints of resources and budget further complicate matters, as a revolutionary approach could lead to unforeseen costs that surpass your financial limits.

imagem0qo.png Although you conducted a cloud transformation a few years ago and your architectural setup is meeting the functionality of the stakeholders and producing ROI also, but its inability to adapt to changing circumstances prompts a design revaluation. Here, choosing an evolutionary approach offers the opportunity to fine-tune your architecture to align with current and future requirements.

imagecdoj.png You want to swiftly assess a component's performance and metrics through a non-disruptive Proof of Concept (POC), opting fast paced revolutionary approach allows for testing services across various cloud providers.

image6uxw8.png Operating on legacy systems with vendor-specific hardware and intricate interdependencies poses risks when contemplating changes. An evolutionary approach becomes appropriate in strategically orchestrating the migration of smaller components to the cloud, mitigating potential disturbances, and preserving system integrity.


Based on the factors that apply to your business, you can decide what approach to opt. The key takeaway is to ask hard questions which can help you fill the gaps and navigate the cloud transformation journey more effectively, increasing your chances of success.

Challenges in cloud transformation

The cloud journey is still seen as a revolutionary shift rather than an evolutionary progression for many organizations today.

The fear of revolution stems from the fear of change and the unknown consequences it may bring. This fear is particularly prevalent in companies that have heavily invested in on-premises servers and rely on legacy applications, presenting unique challenges.

  • ROI (Return on investment) Concerns: Maximizing ROI from existing infrastructure while carefully considering financial implications and time-to-market considerations.
  • Strong Commitment Needed: Navigating complex networks and processes to gain support for digital initiatives and transformation while overcoming resistance from different stakeholders.
  • Complex and Evolving Regulations: Constantly evolving data protection laws create uncertainty and compliance risks, making it challenging for organizations to navigate the legal framework, especially with sensitive data flowing across different jurisdictions. This causing certain organizations to prefer retaining data within their existing infrastructure or postponing their migration until regulatory guidelines become more defined and clearer.
  • Uncertainties with Cloud Migration: Transitioning to cloud introduces cost and security challenges, such as data breaches, unauthorized access, compliance issues, cloud spending becoming unmanageable.
  • Hardware Dependency Hurdles: Many organizations rely on legacy systems with vendor-specific hardware, making cloud migration difficult. These systems have intricate dependencies and connections, introducing risks when making changes. Vendors might not fully support cloud technology or offer limited integration.
  • Multiple Vendor Dependencies: These industries heavily depend on multiple vendors, building trust through numerous contracts. Breaking these contracts would incur additional costs and risk damaging long-established relationships.
  • Digital Skills Assessment: Evaluating capacity and skills for managing large-scale transformations while maintaining ongoing operations.


Thank you for reading.

Charu Upadhyay
Cloud Consultant

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