Cloud is the new normal. Organizations do not treat cloud as a ‘good-to-have’ anymore. They realize that cloud is a ‘must-have’ technology choice that drives efficiencies, competitive advantage and business growth. On an average, an organization dedicates around 20 percent of its cloud budgets towards services such as consulting, cloud migration and managed service. For greenfield projects, this number is much higher. This is a significant share at a time when IT budgets are shrinking.
Still, the move to cloud can be a slippery slope for many organizations. Successful migration to cloud requires an organization to carefully consider various factors.
Here’s a cloud migration checklist, based on industry best practices, to help you ensure a smooth transition to cloud.
Deciding what to move: This is probably the most critical part of your cloud migration strategy. Organizations that are in the higher end of the cloud adoption spectrum are already migrating their mission-critical data and applications to cloud. For beginners though, trying to move everything to the cloud in one go can be a risky move.
While preparing for cloud migration, here’s what you can focus on:
- Start is by moving less-critical data and applications that have fewer dependencies. This means that your stakes are not high, and you are prepared for unforeseen challenges.
- However, choose an application that has SOME business impact, not zero impact. Your business stakeholders should see value in it.
- Some applications may need redesign before moving to cloud. Evaluate the pros and cons.
Picking the right cloud vendor: Once you have an idea about where to start, you need to understand who your partner should be. You will be spoilt for choices when it comes to public cloud service providers. If you decide to go with one of the market leaders—AWS, Azure or Google—you still have to weigh in multiple factors before the final call. A lot of it depends on why you want to move to the cloud in the first place.
- If cost saving is your primary goal, it’s comparatively easier. Most reputed cloud vendors have published clear cost saving charts for their architectures. Do your math and choose wisely.
- If you already have disparate and heterogeneous environment, give priority to vendors that focus on interoperability and support services.
- If business agility is the goal, choose a platform that allows you to quickly transition from legacy systems, deploy new applications quickly and is easy to manage. Some cloud vendors promise to reduce ‘idea to implementation’ time to few minutes, from few months.
Get buy-in from business stakeholders: Success of your cloud migration project depends a lot on convincing various stakeholders and winning their support. The first step is to build a compelling migration business case, which includes:
- Clear data-driven insights on the migration investment cost and future expected IT cost.
- The expected RoI from the investments and when the RoI will be visible.
- Communicating other advantages beyond cost saving in terms of tangible business value—which includes aspects like agility, operation efficiency, workforce productivity etc.
Consider the impact to culture, people and processes: Cloud is more than a technology initiative. Its impact on culture and people is quite significant. It’s important to ensure that ‘change’ is driven throughout the organization. It doesn’t need to be a daunting process if you:
- Prepare different teams for the change in roles and responsibilities that cloud will demand.
- Monitor and evaluate change –both on culture and people—just as you would measure technology changes. Engage the organization beyond the IT environment
- Do not hesitate to implement organizational change management frameworks and tools if required
Migration to cloud is a phased journey and is often gradual. Your initial experiments will further build the momentum and help you mitigate the key cloud migration risks . If you have successfully established the right foundation, you will likely have a frictionless experience.
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