You’d be hard pressed to find an area of technology growing faster than the cloud. According to research from O’Reilly, usage has grown steadily, with 90% of respondents indicating that their organizations use cloud computing. For the 10% that didn’t, almost half (48%) said they planned to migrate 50% or more of their applications to the cloud in the coming year.
This growth has only been accelerated by the needs of businesses enabling a newly distributed and remote workforce. While the speed of widespread cloud adoption may have been forced by the global pandemic, it’s ultimately a positive shift. Transitioning to the cloud comes with many advantages: improved operations, increased productivity, and thereby, better business value, to name a few.
However, even with all its potential the only certainty with cloud migration is that at some point, things will go wrong. Unfortunately, important factors like risk preparedness, security, and how all functional business areas will be impacted by a new tech implementation are often overlooked. Frankly, these are mistake that most organizations can’t afford to make.
If you’re wondering when the best time for cloud migration is, the answer being thrust upon you is now. But with the pressure to move fast, how can leaders do this in a way that’s effective and pain-free? Fortunately, we can answer that by looking at the who, what, why, and how of a successful cloud implementation.
Who Should be Involved in the Planning?
Leadership from all business functions is necessary to create the right cloud strategy for your organization. IT, security, and compliance are the obvious stakeholders in a cloud migration or any tech implementation. But it’s crucial for the executive and finance teams to be involved, too. If any of these groups are left behind, it is very likely there will be unnecessary friction during project execution.
But perhaps the most important “who” is your employees, who will be living and breathing these new processes and tools daily. If the people who are driving revenue are disrupted, there’s effectively no chance of success. Ensuring the user experience (UX) is a priority not only prevents people from finding insecure workarounds, but also alleviates the IT burden associated with frequent Help Desk requests.
What are the Key Points to Consider?
To achieve a successful cloud migration, business leaders should ask themselves the following five questions:
- What are the expected benefits?
- What is the scope of the project?
- Is everyone committed to the cost, time, and human capital required to execute?
- Where will different cloud migration strategies be most effective — rehosting, refactoring, re-platforming?
- How do we avoid cloud lock-in while still delivering on the expected benefits?
Evaluating the above questions and ensuring stakeholders from across the organization are on board is necessary for a smooth cloud migration. When people have different ideas of what success looks like—whether timing, outcomes, or the resources required to get there—problems arise. This is why the next step is so important.
Why are We Doing This?
A report from Cloud Security Alliance suggests that 90% of CIOs have experienced failed or disrupted cloud migration projects. Only 25% of those surveyed in the same study met their deadlines for migrations. Lack of planning for both business and operational impact plays a big role in why so many cloud initiatives go south. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to mitigate this.
Finding your “why” starts with defining your goals and expected results. Once there is agreement on the broader benefits, you can start drilling down to desired outcomes in functional business areas. For example, where will you be moving active enterprise workloads to the cloud versus leveraging it for other activities, like disaster recovery or DevOps? This should all be laid out before you start implementing cloud solutions.
How to Execute
A project that succeeds in terms of capital expenditures or scalability goals but slows the business down in the process is not really a success at all. As such, many businesses turn to cloud-native platforms to enable automation and business alignment. This reduces the risk of mistakes and increases the speed in which tasks are completed. It’s why we’re starting to see solutions like ServiceNow and Workday become platforms of choice for the digital workplace.
While many solutions are still focused on infrastructure, cloud-native solutions can help break down organizational silos that have been building up for years. For example, hiring and onboarding a new employee requires coordinated efforts between HR, IT, finance, and operations. Each of these business functions require different actions but uniting everything under one cloud-native platform can expedite the process.
While the technology hurdles associated with cloud migrations can be challenging, most problems occur in the planning phase. The good news is that many of these issues can be resolved with a thorough game plan and clear expectations. But without this, you’re in for anything but a pain-free cloud migration.
This article first appeared on Forbes.