Many businesses view cloud migration as essential to their ongoing survival. Economies of scale, lower costs and greater flexibility await those that migrate successfully.
But moving applications, processes and data to the cloud doesn't happen overnight. Careful planning, cross-company collaboration and a successful strategy are needed to realize the long-term benefits.
Here are the key concepts of a successful cloud migration.
Start By Getting Buy-In
While the IT department and CIO will typically be the drivers behind a cloud migration, it pays to have broad support from the rest of the organization. Executives should appreciate the wide benefits and potential growth migration can bring to the company, but don’t forget about input from other employees.
Here are a few tips to secure support:
- Create a migration team using members from multiple departments.
- Be as transparent as possible.
- Define metrics and establish goals by which everyone can measure success.
- Demonstrate the power and usability of potential new cloud apps.
Communicating the benefits of migration to as many people as possible is also vital. Make sure to note the cost savings, increased security, greater flexibility and environmental benefits that can result from digital transformations.
Build a Roadmap That Aligns With Your Business Strategy
It doesn’t matter what type of business you are. Having a migration roadmap is essential.
Start by defining your business goals. Common goals include cost savings, reducing time-to-market and empowering your company to innovate.
Next, make sure there is a business case behind every application you plan to migrate. If it doesn’t add value to the business or help you meet your goals, it probably doesn’t need to be migrated.
You’ll then need to prioritize the applications you wish to migrate. There are several approaches you can take here:
- Migrate by size. The smallest applications are usually the easiest to migrate and can give you quick wins.
- Migrate by complexity. The more integrated applications are with other systems, the harder they will be to migrate.
- Migrate by importance. It’s sometimes best to migrate business-critical applications first.
Manage the Impact of Migration
The operational challenges that occur as a result of cloud migration can be just as complex as the technical ones.
Change management creates a formal process for aligning IT with business objectives during a migration. Managing changes with a clear framework can help ensure your tech migrates without causing widespread disruption.
You’ll need to create a change management plan that defines:
- An iterative process for migration.
- How your organization will verify results.
- How teams will collaborate.
You’ll also need to create a release management strategy to ensure a smooth transition. Make sure the right licenses are in place, software is updated and correct processes are in place.
Finally, you’ll need to manage the data being transferred during migration. You’ll need to define roles and access privileges, ensure you’re in compliance with relevant data regulations, and make sure the right backup policies are in place.
Choose the Best Strategy for Each Application
Migrating an application can take many forms. Success hinges on selecting the best method for each application. Usually, this will be one of the five following strategies:
- Rehost, also known as a lift-and-shift, is where an entire application is moved to the cloud without changing anything.
- Replatform, where the application is optimized for the cloud prior to rehosting.
- Repurchase, where an application is upgraded to a cloud-based third-party provider.
- Refactor, where engineers reimagine the way an application operates prior to migration.
- Retire or retain. Some applications can be retained on-premise; others can be retired completely once migrated.
Moving to the cloud doesn't have to be overly complicated. It’s a journey that unfolds over time. The key is to take the first step.
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