Cloud Migration Series (Step 1 of 5): Define Your Strategy

Cloud Migration Series (Step 1 of 5): Define Your Strategy

This is part 1 of a 5-part series on best practices for enterprise cloud migration. Released weekly from the end of April to the end of May 2021, each article will cover a new phase of a business’s transition to the cloud, what to be on the lookout for, and how to ensure the journey is a success.

If you’ve already locked in your strategy, have a look at what you should do next.

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Getting Started

Cloud migration is the process of migrating IT components (data, applications, systems) from on-premises to the cloud, or from one cloud platform to another. Modern enterprises have embraced cloud computing for its superior speed and agility, cost savings, and always up-to-date, automated software releases. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Statista, about 50% of all corporate data is now stored in the cloud.  

The evolution of technology, i.e., big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), has played a major role in enterprises making the shift to the cloud. At the same time, external factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced companies to operate and onboard new employees in remote environments, have facilitated the further acceleration of cloud adoption. Gartner predicts worldwide public cloud spending to grow by 18.4% this year.

For those just getting started, you may be further along than you think. There’s a good chance that you already use the cloud in day-to-day operations without even realizing it. We’d bet that your email provider, file storage, and CRM are cloud-hosted applications — to name a few. But the cloud offers a lot more than that. Think about the possibilities of auto-scaling to meet any customer demand across the globe, or leveraging containers and microservices to modularize your applications, keeping your products running with high availability. These are just some of the benefits you’ll be able to take advantage of once you’re well on your journey.

Like any business transformation, getting started with cloud migration is often the most difficult and daunting challenge. There’s a lot to consider, which is why defining your strategy is a critical, yet often overlooked or underdeveloped, first step. Let’s dive in.

Identify Cloud Migration Goals

Most people are familiar with the generic benefits of cloud computing, but envisioning (and executing upon) them for your own organization is an entirely different story. Every business’s IT infrastructure, processes, and regulations are unique. And cloud value is perceived differently depending on industry and operating model.   

Before any steps are taken toward migrating to the cloud, tech teams must first understand how such a move fits into the business’s overall strategy. Are there existing problems that could be fixed through cloud adoption? Would moving certain processes to the cloud save costs? How can the cloud further enable innovation?

Defining concrete goals based on KPIs that are relevant to business objectives will lay the foundation for all future initiatives. After all, if you can’t measure success, what’s the point of investing in the first place? Here are some topline ideas to mull over when thinking about your goals:

  • Reinforcing business continuity plans
  • Reducing costs and avoiding vendor lock-in
  • Improving execution on your product roadmap
  • Delivering better customer support or user experience
  • Increasing revenues as a result of improved customer retention

Gaining Organizational Buy-in

It was intentional when we said “business transformation” instead of “IT transformation” earlier. In many cases, leadership leaves these kinds of decisions to technology teams. But when it comes to a cloud migration effort, an all-hands-on-deck approach is required — and that starts at the top.

Let’s think for a moment about the benefits associated with moving to the cloud. From improving flexibility to saving costs and streamlining the customer experience, it’s logical to connect your business goals with your digital transformation activities. Leverage the expertise of enterprise architects to analyze applications, identify potential quick wins, and develop a best-case proposal for migrating on a larger scale. 

By performing an analysis of the application portfolio and communicating anticipated benefits to the business, technology leaders can structure a measured approach to cloud adoption that is more likely to get backing from executives. From there, you can communicate next steps and value to affected parts of the organization. Strategy = defined!

Part 2 of this blog series will discuss what you must do during the planning phase.

Ready, Set…Cloud!

If you’d like a preview of what our blog series will cover in a more in-depth fashion, this guide is a great start. We share some best practices and insights gained from our experience helping many organizations on their journey to cloud success. Use it as a helpful reminder to stay on track.

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