Moving to the cloud is no longer an ‘if’ but a ‘when’. However, one challenge many businesses are facing is how to deal with their existing software licensing.

Many organisations have invested a significant sum into software licensing. In order to make the most of their spend, businesses may be opting to continue utilising them until such time as they are up for renewal, at which point they will rethink their licensing for their cloud migration. While this seems like a sound business plan, the reality is that it might be more cost effective to convert existing licenses for use in the cloud.

There is a misconception in the market that on-premise licensing cannot be used when migrating to the cloud. This is not always the case. Certain licensing models and technology offerings cater to both on-premise and cloud environments, making the migration easier and thus cost effective.

“Microsoft, for example, has introduced a cost benefit through licensing concessions, that could help organisations save a significant sum on their cloud migration. They are offering a discount for utilising existing licenses in Azure Stack, driving down monthly costs by utilizing licenses you have already invested in. This concession eases some of the pressure, especially around cost, and helps businesses on their journey toward migrating workloads into the cloud,” explains Matthew Poulter, SAM business manager at First Technology National.

Migrating on-premise licensing into the cloud has a number of benefits aside from the pricing concessions that may be on offer. By moving workloads into the cloud, organisations can take advantage of many of the well-publicised benefits thereof, including reduced overheads and capital expenditure, better security, enhanced flexibility and increased agility.

In addition, there are some functions of the latest software that are only available as cloud solutions. This is particularly relevant to the data analytics components of numerous software tools, which in turn are essential for leveraging next generation tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and others. For example, SQL Server Stretch Database is a purely cloud-based service designed to help you migrate cold data transparently and securely to the Microsoft Azure cloud.

“Software vendors like Microsoft recognise the investment their customers have made into their products, and they do not want customers to disengage simply because technology offers new ways of consuming their products. The objective is to help customers, not put them at a disadvantage. The aim of these concessions is to make the move into the cloud as easy as possible,” says Jennifer Meggersee, sales manager for Software at First Technology National.

Understanding the optimal route to a cloud migration can be a complex challenge, and it is vital to work with partners to ensure the process is smooth. In particular, licensing and consulting partners need to work together to ensure that the solutions and licensing that are purchased and deployed correlate and will function correctly.

Software Asset Management (SAM) helps businesses to extract maximum value from their existing licensing when moving to the cloud, by ensuring that the necessary preparation work is completed in advance. SAM will help organisations gain an overarching view of their environment, the risks involved and the potential solutions available. Your SAM partner will collect information on what is currently deployed, how it is licensed, how it is being supported and maintained. It will also help organisations to see which software may be available for concessions, what money is currently being spent on licensing, and when licenses may be up for renewal.

Working together with licensing and SAM providers can help organisations understand what can be moved to the cloud, what should be, and how this can be achieved in line with technical roadmaps, to ensure that they get to the most cost-effective route to the cloud. This makes it critical for licensing and SAM partners to have strong relationships with relevant software vendors, and to be able to communicate with consulting partners to deliver a seamless service.