SaaS migration

A Brief Guide To SaaS Migration: Benefits, Challenges, & Models

This blog discusses SaaS migration as an educative guide to help readers understand why it is essential for businesses to innovate their technology infrastructure through Cloud-based solutions. The write-up also uncovers potential SaaS migration challenges to overcome and outlines different benefits it brings to a business.

SaaS migration is not a new technical concept anymore. In fact, most businesses around the globe have already prioritized it over their on-premises infrastructure so that they can experience an innovative transition of their onsite IT infrastructure, hardware, and software applications without having to go through any problems concerning performance, security, and scalability as needed.

Note that on-premises infrastructure is not the same as IT assets which are typically hosted by a public cloud domain or a distant data center. Besides, if you wonder why businesses should go for SaaS migration when they can easily take care of their on-premises IT assets in terms of monitoring their performance, security, and maintenance, the write-up discusses the same in the following manner.

Why Is SaaS Migration Essential For Businesses?

Today companies are speeding up their IT modernization projects to ensure reduction of risk and IT operational costs. Software as a service (SaaS), in this regard, is gaining momentum among cloud computing segments for organizations. It is an innovative business strategy for organizations to avoid upfront costs and complexity in the context of maintaining and owning their business applications.

Recommended Reading: Top 10 Mobile Apps Development Trends to Dominate the App Industry

SaaS Migration – Key Considerations

Efficient Resource Allocation

Businesses need a SaaS migration model to cut short on capital expenses that they bear on on-premises infrastructure and software licenses. They can embrace a subscription-based SaaS model to experience efficient resource allocation and cope with changing customer expectations. It also helps enterprises enhance business agility through rapid deployment and scalability coupled with regular updates.

Easy Accessibility For Seamless Employee Cooperation

Migrating to a SaaS platform means a business can help its employees with easy access to SaaS applications from anywhere using an internet connection. Eventually, it results in making the employee more productive in their jobs and collaborating seamlessly.

To Address Evolving Business Landscapes

The reason why it is essential to migrate to a SaaS platform is to leverage modern technologies that the platform offers, in terms of artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc. Leveraging these technologies means enabling your business with enhanced operations. As a result, an enterprise can address the evolving business landscape of today effectively.

Features of SaaS

  • There is always a vendor involved who manages SaaS products
  • A cloud service provider hosts SaaS applications provided to business clients on a pay-as-you-go basis.
  • Subscribers of SaaS can easily access applications and data from anywhere in the world via browser or mobile app
  • It is also able to respond to market fluctuations faster, enabling access to modern features and technology
  • It also reduces resources for installing, managing, and upgrading software
  • It allows for better financial planning for users, helping them reduce costs and scale based on their business needs

SaaS Migration: Benefits

Paves The Path For Greater IT Innovation

When a business adopts SaaS-based cloud solutions, the benefit it experiences is relieving its IT staff from the hassle of administering on-premises software and equipment. It later saves time that the staff can use to focus on process enhancements. Moreover, organizations can also cut costs by investing heavily in expensive data centers, hardware, and network equipment.

SaaS Migration Saves Costs

By adopting a SaaS business model, a business can experience lower initial upfront costs from its SaaS vendor who provides services, like developing, hosting, maintaining, and supporting software.

Lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)

SaaS migration comes off as a beneficial business step for organizations by helping them bear lower capital costs of expensive hardware procurement, software licensing, installation, maintenance, and scalability. Understand that when you choose the SaaS cloud solution, you get a subscription-based pricing model according to your business needs. Therefore, by choosing this model, you don’t have to bear the cost of SaaS services from hosting to support. As a result, you experience tremendous cuts in cost in TCO, helping you with long-term cost savings.

Offers High Scalability

One of the best benefits of the SaaS migration business model is that it helps you scale your software operations as and when needed, which quite understandably helps you exercise discretion in adding or reducing SaaS services based on your business needs. As a result, the approach pans out great savings from over-provisioning, thereby helping you avoid the costs associated with additional servers and software licenses.

Faster Deployment

A company that chooses a SaaS migration business model is believed to experience the benefit of faster deployment of the platform as it comes with preloaded best practices that an industry requires. As a user, your team just has to use a browser and access the application.

This sort of benefit outdistances the one you see in conventional on-premises deployments in which you have to set up data center hardware and customize the software in accordance with your business needs. As a result, the system remains anonymous to the users for months. In SaaS, the system can be seen in function for days or weeks, meaning faster adoption.

Secure For Sensitive Data

Choosing SaaS migration means availing the Cloud-hosted solutions that can address the privacy demands of users and protect their confidential business data. The automation cloud hosting services bring can also help users stay up to date on security threats, the latest trends, and existing vulnerability patches.

Benefits Of SaaS Migration At A Glance

  • One can scale the usage of the platform up and down depending on needs
  • The SaaS model is reliable for its responsible provisioning of maintenance, operations, and business continuity
  • It helps organizations avoid the hassles associated with the installation of the applications. They can operate the same in their own environment.
  • Enables your IT team to focus on core business needs, such as process enhancements and tech-driven innovations

SaaS Migration Models

  • Siloed Migration Model – An organization using this model is allowed to use a dedicated server or infrastructure for its product or service. It is an ideal recommendation for companies averse to sharing their infrastructure with other SaaS users and want full control of their sensitive data.
  • Layered Migration Model – It means incremental migration of the systems to the SaaS platform. That said, a business can choose this model if it wants to start off small and gradually shift to a multitenant model.
  • Data Migration Model – Companies choose this model to move all their data from on-premises infrastructure to a Cloud-native one at once. It constitutes both single-tenant and multitenant SaaS migration models.
  • Parallel Migration Model – In this model, an identical process is run in two systems and then the results are compared. It is followed to ensure proper avoidance of any regulatory compliance.

SaaS Migration Challenges And How To Handle Them

Restricted Control Over The Software

One of the drawbacks or challenges of SaaS migration is that users don’t have full control over the software, considering it is the vendor who hosts and manages the SaaS applications. As a result, users have limited control over the inherent infrastructure, upgrades, feature releases, etc.

One of the strategies to handle the challenge is to make sure that you have properly evaluated the customization needs of your intended SaaS solution.

Concerns Over Data Security

Migrating to a SaaS platform means you have to entrust your sensitive business data to the vendor. As a result, there is always a lingering fear regarding data security, privacy, and compliance. Handling it involves proper evacuation of the vendor’s security measures that it deploys to ensure the data security of its customers. Check its data encryption practices and compliance certifications.

Vendor Dependence

As self-explanatory as it may seem, one of the main concerns regarding SaaS migration is that businesses have to depend on the quality of services being provided by the vendor. Therefore, any performance hiccup, service failure, or downtime would affect your business operations.

One of the ways to address it is to thoroughly check the track record of your vendor, its support mechanism, and other key things. Also, bring to the table the discussion regarding penalties for non-compliance.

Vendor Lock-In

This challenge of SaaS migration is quite a dilemma for businesses. That’s because once you have chosen a vendor, it is very difficult to replace it with another one. Worse, you can’t even revert to on-premises infrastructure in the future. Assessing your vendor’s exit strategies, and contractual terms is one of the strategies to address the challenge.

SaaS Migration – How To Move Your Apps To a SaaS Platform

Migrating your traditional apps to a SaaS platform like AWS affords a lot of benefits that we have already discussed. Here are a few key steps to migrating your apps to a SaaS platform as a strategic plan to innovate your business.

Step No 01 – Thoroughly Evaluate the SaaS Architecture and Infrastructure

  • Evaluate various components – To plan your migration strategies effectively, you need to evaluate your SaaS application and its architecture. For this, first of all, assess the app’s elements, modules, and dependencies and make a list of other types of frameworks, platforms, and databases applied in the program. It will help you integrate your app into the chosen SaaS platform, like the AWS environment.
  • Foresee potential hindrances – Secondly, thoroughly examine any hindrances with a strong likelihood of their occurrence during the migration process. These obstacles could be compatibility issues with the SaaS services or problems related to integrating the solution with the platform. Also, don’t forget to list obstacles, such as complexities in the migration, network and connectivity problems, latency issues, etc.
  • Assess the infrastructure properly – It means taking a careful look at the existing server infrastructure. It may involve examining the total number of servers, their specifications, and their operational nature. Spot underutilized or overburdened servers if any, and examine the networking setup to discern any bottlenecks or challenges in SaaS security.

Step No 02 – Plan and Design SaaS Migration Roadmap

Under this step, you need to ensure that your goal regarding SaaS migration is well-specified. Some of these goals could involve the following –

  • Ensuring that there is no obstacle regarding performance in terms of response times, better system reliability, and low latency, among other things
  • Examining scalability in terms of whether the system can handle user demand surge, traffic spikes, etc.
  • Ensuring cost reduction in terms of ruling out unnecessary or underutilized infrastructure

Go for the right approach – This means choosing the right migration approach in terms of re-architecting, re-platforming, or lift-and-shift. The first approach involves cloud-native concepts to redesign the application. The second approach means optimizing the program for cloud-native services, and the third one defines the migration of an application without changing anything.

Step No 03 – Configure your SaaS Platform

Open your SaaS platform’s account (i.e. AWS), set up key security measures, and permissions, determine Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles and rules, etc. Choose the services (i.e. Amazon EC2) pertaining to your SaaS application and then provision them in your AWS environment. Also, configure security groups and networking settings for your app’s better security and communication.

Step No 04 – Move your Data to AWS Securely

This step comes after configuring your AWS platform. Carefully move your sensitive data to the platform to avoid any security breaches. Data migration should happen priority-wise. The quantum of data to be migrated must be described. Also involved in this process is the compatibility of target data formats and the source. Maintain the accuracy of data and conduct key validations to ensure that migrated data lays the groundwork for the correct function of your critical business functions.

Step No 05 – Launch and Set up your SaaS Application

Under this step, install the key program dependencies for your app, ensure deployment of application code and configuration files, make sure that the app functions correctly, and carry out necessary tests to fix compatibility issues during deployment.

Step No 06 – Conduct Thorough Testing

Test your application and infrastructure to fix their issues if any and monitor performance under different loads.

Step No 07 – Implement Traffic-Switching to AWS

In this step, carry out switching traffic to a new AWS environment by configuring DNS settings, monitoring performance, using progressive traffic switching, and other key measures.

Step No 08 – Conduct Post SaaS Migration Fine-tuning

Once the SaaS migration process is over, carefully examine whether the application runs well without security hiccups. Fix any oddities in the app logs and metrics, and mind other key measures, such as leveraging tools like AWS Trusted Advisor, implementing backup and recovery as well as the best practices for resource labeling.

Winding Up

So, SaaS migration appears one of the most success-oriented business strategies for enterprises who want to stay ahead of the curve in today’s competitive business landscapes. With benefits, such as greater IT innovation, process enhancements, higher scalability, rapid deployment, and security of sensitive business data, moving to a SaaS platform is most definitely worth the attention of enterprises.

However, it must be borne in mind that such steps should be taken after you have carefully analyzed your needs in terms of how migrating to a SaaS platform would pan out for your business. Just because everyone is mulling over SaaS migration doesn’t mean it would suit your needs as well. A careful analysis of all the factors would eventually result in a better understanding of the needs regarding the exigency of SaaS migration for a business.

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