26 September 2017
Our last blog – Riding the digital revolution to success with cloud computing – looked at how outdated IT infrastructure can hold your business back, and how cloud computing releases you from restrictions.
The next step in migrating to the cloud is to understand the critical role that planning plays in ensuring success.
If you’ve decided that cloud computing could be right for you, the significant advantages you could be enjoying include:
First up – unless you’re a pure start-up – you clearly won’t be starting with a blank sheet of paper. The likelihood is that you’ve already got a mix of applications and data running on internal systems. Some of these will be easy to migrate to the cloud, others will be more challenging.
So it’s likely that you’ll end up with a hybrid infrastructure – a combination of in-house systems and public cloud platforms – or at least to start with.
And whether you’ve decided to embrace a comprehensive migration strategy, or feel more confident tackling an individual project to begin with, you’ll need to be clear about what you should be migrating, how you can successfully manage the transition, when to do it and why it’s all worthwhile.
Working out what you should migrate to the cloud begins with fully understanding what you already have. You need to audit your existing IT infrastructure, assessing everything from your servers and current usage, to your applications, maintenance contracts and backup facilities.
Next, you need to make a realistic assessment of what your IT requirements actually are. It’s important to identify any areas where your business performance is being held back by your current set-up – such as difficulties in deploying new applications, brakes on productivity and restrictions on developing richer customer experiences.
Then there’s tomorrow. Look to the future and think about how your business needs might change. Are you considering entering new markets or launching a new service? Do you operate in a market where customer demands fluctuate, making swift scaling a valuable tool in staying competitive? Are any acquisitions or new offices on the horizon?
Being clear about what you should migrate means not just identifying the appropriate applications and data, but also detailing what computing, network and storage resources you need to support them.
To understand how your transition would be best handled, ask yourself what tools you need, what in-house resources will be involved in managing the migration and whether you need external support. Consider how your key systems and processes will be managed during the cutover. Will you need a period of parallel running until the cloud systems are fully operational, for example?
When it comes to the when of your transition, a phased migration works best for most businesses. It helps to build confidence to take a step-by-step approach, and prevents your IT team from getting overloaded. To minimise business impact, you might want to migrate at a weekend or overnight, and you should certainly avoid any critical points in your business year.
Finally, the why is all about getting everyone onboard. Your people need to know why you’re transitioning and what the benefits will be. In particular, if any of your users will be affected, they need to be prepared and positive about the changes.
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26 September 2017 | Stephen Ashley-Brian
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.