Which Apps Should You Move to the Cloud? 5 Guidelines

Which Apps Should You Move to the Cloud? 5 Guidelines

To most people — especially in August — ‘Ocean Services’ probably conjures visions of boogie boards, sun umbrellas and bringing the drinks without getting sand in the glass.

To Matson Navigation CIO Peter Weis, it means logistics, and the need to gather, analyze and coordinate information so his customers can monitor the location, condition and progress of finished goods in one container on one freighter in the South Pacific, more easily than they’d be able to check on a new phone battery being delivered by FedEx.

It’s not the kind of information or access the ocean services business has been accustomed to offering.

“Shipping is a very traditional industry,” Weis says. “There a lot of traditional old-school people, and so many moving pieces, solving global problems using IT is much harder than it might be in another industry.”

Weis, who took over as CIO of the $1.5 billion Matson Navigation in 2003, says the company is 75 percent of the way through an IT overhaul that focuses on retiring the mainframes, DOS and AS/400 systems the company has depended on for years in favor of a Java-based application-integration platform and a plan to get as many of Matson’s business applications as possible from external SaaS providers.

Moving to a heavy reliance on SaaS applications is a key part of the strategy to reduce the company’s risk and capital spending on new systems. Matson is unusual not because of its increasing use of software owned and maintained by someone else — but because it is selecting those services according to a coherent, business-focused strategy and connecting them using an open platform built for the purpose.

“What we’re seeing is companies jumping into SaaS or cloud projects without an overarching strategy,” according to Kamesh Pemmaraju, director of cloud research at consultancy Sand Hill Group. “There are a lot of departmental initiatives and they do get some quick returns on that, but it’s very local in nature and there’s no coordination on how to obtain global benefits to get real value out of the cloud.”

Defining goals is an obvious step, but not one every company realizes it needs to take, according to Michael West, vice president and distinguished analyst for Saugatuck Technology.

Below are a few more necessary steps to take before deciding to move from a traditional app to a Web-based one.

1. Decide Why You Want SaaS

Weis was hired in 2003 to revamp Matson’s IT infrastructure, so part of his mandate was to design an infrastructure and draw up a strategy to coordinate the company’s use of SaaS and internal applications.

Business agility, not cost savings, is the leading reason U.S. companies are interested in cloud computing, according to a survey of 500 senior-level IT and business-unit managers Sand Hill released in March. Forty nine percent of respondents listed business agility as their most important goal; 46 percent listed cost efficiency. The No. 3 response — freeing IT resources to focus on innovation — got less than half that support, with 22 percent.

SaaS is spreading quickly among business units and departments, not usually with the help or strategic guidance of IT to make sure the functionality isn’t duplicated or conflicting with the company’s other tools.

“People tend to think of SaaS as a technology choice, which it’s not,” Pemmaraju says. “It’s a business choice, to allow you to access technology to respond to business demands in real time. If you just look at it as technology, you have to answer how you’re contributing to your business goals.”

2. Think Architecture

Before Weis started signing on SaaS providers and ramping down internal applications, he and his staff spent a year taking inventory of all the company’s existing systems and building a reference platform that provided middleware and application servers to connect new and existing applications.

“Our endpoint was that all our apps would run on the target IT platform based on distributed architecture, J2E based middleware and apps servers,” Weis says. “That year was spent laying that foundation but also restructuring the legacy organization, hiring the skills we needed, building a QA group, test group, architecture group — a lot of things the legacy organization didn’t have.”

That kind of thoughtful architectural planning will help any organization in the long run, though it is becoming less necessary as SaaS providers begin to provide more ways to integrate SaaS and legacy applications, sometimes with another SaaS choice, West says.

More than half the transactions on SalesForce.com come through APIs, meaning the software is programmatically connected to other systems, usually through manual integration work on the part of the customer.

SaaS providers like SalesForce are building much better integration into their apps, however. And third parties such as Boomi and recent IBM acquisition CastIron, can also help with two-way synchronization of data between on-premise and SaaS applications, West says.

Third-party integrators such as Appirio, ModelMetrics, and BlueWolf also offer integrated sets of SaaS applications, sometimes selected by menu from a Web interface, sometimes built in custom engagements.

“You end up with a constellation of functionality, with multiple SaaS providers linked, available on a subscription basis, ” West says.

Article Credit to Kevin Fogarty at ComputerWorld

Continue Reading at ComputerWorld

Follow Us!


Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!

6 Responses to Which Apps Should You Move to the Cloud? 5 Guidelines


At CloudTweaks, we're plugged into the cloud, the internet of things and all that the web has to offer. From wearable technology, to mobile computing, cloud computing and big data, CloudTweaks is your source for updates and news on the most innovative technology.


Top Viral Impact

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Survey: What Are The Trends?

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Survey: What Are The Trends?

Jaspersoft Big Data Survey Shows Rise in Commitment to Projects and Decline in Confusion Nearly 1,600 Jaspersoft Community Members Participate in Second Jaspersoft Big Data Survey San Francisco, February 4, 2014 – Jaspersoft, the Intelligence Inside applications and business processes, today shared results from its Big Data Survey. Nearly 1,600 Jaspersoft community members responded to…

Cloud Infographic: Most Used Cloud Apps

Cloud Infographic: Most Used Cloud Apps

Cloud app and analytics company, Netskope released its quarterly Cloud Report. The new report reveals that enterprise employees are using an average of 397 different cloud apps (most of which are unsanctioned), when IT estimated they have 40-50 — that’s a tenfold underestimation. Below is an infographic provided courtesy of the group at Netskope which goes into further detail.…

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth The Internet of Things is the latest term to describe the interconnectivity of all our devices and home appliances. The goal of the internet of things is to create universal applications that are connected to all of the lights, TVs, door locks, air conditioning, and…

Big Data Analytics Adoption

Big Data Analytics Adoption

Big Data Analytics Adoption Big Data is an emerging phenomenon. Nowadays, many organizations have adopted information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) in business to handle huge amounts of data and gain better insights into their business. Many scholars believe that Business Intelligence (BI), solutions with Analytics capabilities, offer benefits to companies to achieve competitive…

Featured Sponsors

Moving From Email Into The Cloud

Moving From Email Into The Cloud

Mobile Collaboration In The Cloud Imagine that you, as a manager, are told by the powers that be that you have to find “efficiencies” within your department that will result in one million dollars of savings annually. You struggle with this. You send an email to everyone on your senior team. “Where can we save…


Can You Run Your Business Entirely From A Mobile Device?

Can You Run Your Business Entirely From A Mobile Device?

Can You Run Your Business Entirely From A Mobile Device? You know the feeling. It’s 8:00 a.m. Your bus is stuck in traffic, so you pull out your phone and start answering work emails. While you may rely on your mobile device’s apps for everything from an alarm clock to a fitness tracker to a…

Placement Opportunities - Find Out!

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

You can help continue to support our community by social sharing, sponsoring, partnering or contributing to this great educational resource.


CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021

Join Our Newsletter