In times of soaring ROI for cloud investment, it is no longer a question of whether businesses will move to the cloud, but ‘why’ and ‘how’. In Part 1 of this blog series, we examined the drivers behind this reasoning and why businesses looking to remain competitive must embrace cloud technology. In Part 2, we will focus less on the reasoning behind cloud innovation and more on the process of moving to the cloud.
While every business’s cloud journey will be unique and tailored to reach their goals and objectives, there are certain best practices that are critical to planning your transition to the cloud. In our experience, the initial planning of the journey can often determine the success of the project. Plan well, with good attention to detail, and you can expect a smooth transition. Fail to effectively strategise how you will implement your cloud evolution and your various minor oversights can develop into major setbacks.
Below are our critical steps for planning your move to the cloud.
Create your business point
The key to any successful plan is to begin with the basics: a business case. C-level executives are well aware of both the cloud and the benefits. However, the current climate suggests that, since cloud provides the dual appeal of a potentially future-proof approach and competitive advantage, the strongest business case may well be predicated on “What’s the best action to take when our current IT reaches ‘end of life’ ”.
Assess and think ‘Responsible Transition’
You may not need to move all of your workloads, data, or systems to the cloud. Alternatively, legislation and regulation in your sector may not allow you to move everything, even if you want to. Understanding the likely workloads of your applications is a must if you wish to avoid interruptions during critical business periods. For example, if Christmas is a busy period, planning your transition to ensure minimal disruption during that period is advisable.
Security is another factor to consider. Nowadays it rarely, if ever, dissuades business leaders from embracing the cloud, but ensuring it is a priority while building the architecture is advised. Make sure you are partnering with an MSP that commits to data security and the protection of company and consumer information.
As the project plan for your cloud journey takes shape, capitalising on additional opportunities to cut costs and increase the elasticity of your infrastructure should be seized. Taking advantage of unreliable cloud storage, application segmentation, and reduced maintenance costs often deliver on the ROI.
Build the cloud
The above considerations form an excellent foundation for any cloud transition plan but, as with any large-scale project, there can be pitfalls. Working with a trusted MSP is the best way to avoid delays and issues. If you do decide to go it alone, we’ve assembled three of the most common stumbling blocks that we’ve seen ruin a CIO’s day:
- Process: When talking to businesses about their how they envision their cloud journey, many imagine a total migration to the cloud – a “lift-and-shift”. This suits some businesses far better than it does others. Lack of native cloud features aside, many legacy systems have key functionality that cannot be moved to the cloud. Few bottlenecks are as damaging as having to rewrite vast swathes of a business-critical application in the middle of a project. Exploring hybrid solutions with a trusted partner will prove beneficial.
- Integration: When dealing with SaaS and other web-based applications, you must be prepared for the added complexity they bring to any IT architecture. Whilst adding new levels of flexibility and lower costs to your business, these applications also result in fragmented silos of cloud-based data. To derive the most benefit, establish a clear plan on how best to integrate these applications.
- Automation: Pouring unnecessary man-hours into your project can greatly affect its ROI. Processes that can be automated remove human error from the equation, reduce costs and free up resources to be applied to other more pressing areas of the project.
Learn more, download our latest e-book: Cloud’s Never More Than Three Steps Away.