How to Successfully Migrate to the Cloud

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We’ve covered a lot, from the importance of good planning to the inevitability of compromises. Of course, everyone really wants an answer to the question “how can I make my cloud migration successful?”.

There is no easy answer to this. The details will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on your organization’s goals and existing setup. And there is always more than one way to do things. However, there are steps you can take to ensure your cloud transition and longer-term transformation gets off to a great start.

Ten Factors for a Successful Cloud Migration (and Continuous Transformation)

1. Collaborate from the start. It’s important that everyone involved in a cloud migration at any level commits going forward. Make sure everyone has the highest understanding of what’s going on and a chance to contribute. You have to be strategic about who you bring in at different stages so you don’t waste people’s time. However, holding an initial workshop with all attendees helps to see the vision. We usually ask people to identify two of the three migration priorities – speed, scope and budget. This improves visibility and allows trade-offs to be pre-discussed.

2. Get senior stakeholders involved. Of course, the CIO is an important ally, but security and CFOs must also be closely involved. Talk to the CSO and CFO to find out what they have to say about security and costs. Once you understand this, potential roadblocks to your cloud migration plan can be addressed. Listen to their concerns and show how you can alleviate them. If you do, they will be more likely to defend the move.

3. Involve application owners and infrastructure teams. It has to happen in the right way, at the right time. Before looking at the details, create a clear picture of the larger goals and constraints of the organization. Application owners and infrastructure teams should be included in the initial workshop. However, more direct involvement can occur after involving higher-level stakeholders. Their deep knowledge of applications helps shape decisions about what, when and how to migrate.

4. Use frameworks from a cloud provider. Provider cloud service frameworks have a lot to offer when it comes to managing cloud migration and transformation. Use them to better understand your organization’s cloud readiness so you can improve your position, avoid potential pitfalls, and realize cloud benefits faster. We are also big supporters of the AWS Migration Acceleration Program. The “Evaluate” and “Mobilise” phases play a key role in your success.

5. Recognize your limits. Use the processes and discussions described above to identify your limitations and then focus on how to overcome them. This is a great opportunity to bring clarity and determination to your migration planning. For example, if your biggest constraint is time, withdrawing and transferring money is the way to go. Modernization can happen later. If your team lacks cloud skills and confidence, external support is necessary along with training. This can lead to a phased approach where external support is reduced as internal capabilities become established.

6. Qualified people. Your team has a lot of important information about your organization’s applications and infrastructure. But many of their existing tools and approaches are redundant in the new environment. Support them, show them you believe in them, and provide opportunities for training and coaching to build their confidence and knowledge.

7. Create a strong foundation. No matter which path you choose to migrate to the cloud, you must prepare resources for your application in the new environment. This is where cloud landing zones add value by providing pre-configured settings for critical factors such as security, management and logging. Consider which components are required and which are optional. Don’t assume you have to mirror what was needed in the data centre environment.

8. Create a cloud service centre. If you use the cloud extensively, CCoE brings consistency to cloud migration and continuous change. It is essentially a management function that sets cloud policies and goals to improve performance and manage risk. The people who make up the CCoE should represent different aspects of the organization and do not need to be cloud experts. Together they drive strategy and ensure that issues such as security and governance are properly addressed.

9. Get cloud certificates right. It is good practice to adapt your certification strategy to the needs of your organization. For example, anyone participating directly in the cloud must complete a basic certification. But once you’ve got the basics down, classroom or theoretical activities are no match for practical experience. Certification systems work best when used in real-world scenarios to validate and enrich the cloud education developed.

10. Be well-planned. Finally, no matter where you are in your cloud transformation journey, remember to follow the principles of good planning. This is the most effective way to identify immediate problems and prioritize continuous improvement.