Did you know that 94% of enterprises have already adopted a cloud migration strategy? And 30% of all IT budgets are being allocated to cloud migration strategies.1 You could say that cloud services “are taking the business world by storm” (pun intended).
The advantages of migrating to the cloud are hard to ignore. It offers enhanced security, reduced maintenance costs, and provides companies with greater agility and flexibility. However, research shows that one in three cloud migration strategies fail and only 25% of companies meet their migration deadlines. Adopting a cloud migration strategy can be complex and fraught with potential problems, but there are ways to avoid common mistakes and make a smooth transition from on-premise systems to cloud technology.
1. Begin with a plan. Many organizations adopt cloud technologies in a haphazard manner, addressing specific concerns when they arise, instead of creating an overall plan. As a result, functions and resources are often spread across various systems and platforms, which isn’t just inconvenient, but also drives up costs. Before adopting a cloud migration strategy, it’s critical to perform an overall assessment of your current systems and identify specific needs. Some important questions include:
Building a framework for your cloud migration strategy will help you plan and manage the process, as well as ensure accountability for each step. It’s also important to remember that cloud migration is not one-size-fits-all. A cloud migration strategy should be tailored to fit your organization’s unique needs.
To truly gain a competitive advantage, companies need to focus their efforts on cloud-first strategies. Nearly 30% of all technology providers’ software investments will migrate from a cloud-first approach to cloud-only strategy. “Cloud-First” isn’t the same as “Cloud-Only” — this means the cloud implementation should move beyond the IT department to be embraced by the entire organization. With this approach, you must explain the benefits of cloud infrastructure to the entire team and business leaders so they can derive business benefits from it.
2. Design a custom cloud solution. Once you’ve assessed your current infrastructure, identified pain points and needs, and outlined a strategy, you can begin to design a cloud migration strategy that’s right for your organization. This phase typically involves:
3. Implement your cloud migration strategy. After all the analysis and planning is done, you’re finally ready to roll-out your cloud migration strategies. The migration process is typically divided into three phases:
4. Go live. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! If your analysis and planning were done successfully, this step should be uneventful. However, it does require some prep. It’s good practice to perform a data freeze before you go live – stopping any changes to your legacy system. You should also plan for some downtime, although it should be minimal.
5. Ensure ongoing support and governance. Implementing a cloud migration strategy is not enough – you must work to actively govern it. Cloud migration strategies need to be continually monitored and adjusted. For instance, your operations team must understand the workloads and how they’re being updated. Your security team must monitor for risk and compliance issues, as well as being updated on what the cloud provider is responsible for and what aspects of security must be handled internally. At this point, you also need to be wary of cloud vendor “lock-in” – if you find a better vendor down the line or your existing vendor doesn’t work out, can you effectively migrate to another vendor or access your data?
Your success will ultimately be determined by whether you provide proper maintenance and monitoring. It’s good practice to review updates and security patches at least monthly and provide regular application and software updates.
As you implement your cloud migration strategy, there a few other important factors to consider:
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for Non-Revenue Apps – You should consider SaaS as a possible delivery method for applications that aren’t necessary for revenue generation. Services like emails, CRM, payrolls, etc., are essential for all businesses, but you can find SaaS options for these services. By outsourcing these services, your organization’s IT team can focus on applications that give your business a competitive edge.
Legacy Applications – Most organizations have a handful of legacy applications that take up way too many company resources and deliver poor results. These legacy applications also pose a serious security threat, which often results in difficulty finding personnel that can manage these apps. This is one of the primary reasons for moving to a cloud infrastructure. There are several applications that can effectively move legacy applications – even existing COBOL applications – to laaS or other cloud-based platforms, and if applicable, even automate the migration of applications from physical servers to the cloud.
Multi-Cloud Governance – Even with just a single provider, it’s difficult to govern cloud computing. But when moving to a multi-cloud approach, the difficulty multiplies. For effective cloud integration, organizations must manage the consumption of cloud services by cloud providers.