When it comes to the world of cloud computing and data, Luke Taylor, Programme Manager at Entec Si, shares with us the dos and don’ts of cloud migration
More and more businesses are migrating their systems to the cloud than ever before, in order to free up staff time and increase efficiencies. However, before undertaking such a project, it’s important to understand any implications for the organisation’s people, processes, systems and infrastructure. So how can businesses steer clear of common pitfalls and ensure their cloud migration project is a success?
Adoption of cloud computing has taken off in recent years and this trend is set to continue in 2020, with the proportion of global business processes in the cloud expected to rise to 83%. Given the range of business benefits that stand to be realised from cloud-based systems, this projection comes as no surprise.
Helping to enhance efficiencies and speed up routine business processes, cloud migration projects can help to free-up staff time for investment invaluable business improvement activities. By enabling remote working, cloud-based systems can also help organisations to improve workforce wellbeing, while faster customer response times can help in strengthening the business’ market position. Another key business benefit includes the ability to scale cloud-based processes up or down as requirements change, helping companies to react to evolving market conditions.
Myths and misunderstandings
Despite the many advantages of switching systems to the cloud, some common myths may still be preventing businesses from realising their full value. For example, there is often a misunderstanding that cloud-based systems are more expensive than having local, on-premises systems. In reality, the ongoing costs involved in cloud computing are often lower, allowing businesses to pay only for what they use.
Another factor driving cost-efficiency is the ability to migrate small areas of business systems at a time, depending on demand. While early adopters of the cloud may have had initial concerns about data security, it’s also important to bear in mind that modern cloud platforms are now highly secure and often come with tech support, reducing the business’ reliance on in-house IT support.
Before embarking on a migration project, a crucial first step is to ensure the activity is driven by the organisation’s wider business strategy. To optimise results from projects, leaders should also invest time in ensuring that the workforce is in the know about the project’s objectives and are fully engaged in making it a success.
One common pitfall during migration initiatives is the temptation to migrate a large number of business areas, without testing applications first. For example, rather than attempting to move large amounts of sensitive data early on, it may be wise to begin by migrating a smaller area, such as the business’ email system. By ensuring that the cloud system is performing properly, the company can then move onto more business-critical areas. Another mistake is attempting to ‘shoehorn’ on-site applications for use on the cloud, which may ultimately prevent them from performing at full capacity. Instead, it may make sense to carefully consider how an application functions, and how the cloud may be able to support this.
Develop a plan
Developing a detailed plan can help businesses to drive maximum value from cloud migration initiatives and avoid running into problems after project delivery. As well as addressing which applications or systems to migrate, and which to focus on first, the plan should consider how day-to-day business disruption can be kept to a minimum. An important part of this is deciding whether the business has the necessary IT expertise to support project delivery in-house. If not, it may be necessary to seek external support, with experience of helping businesses to ensure that the migration project is a success.
To avoid any domino effects on the wider areas of the business, it’s also worth assessing any impacts on the organisation’s people, processes, systems and infrastructure. In particular, leaders should remember that cloud-based IT is likely to require new ways of working, so staff should be upskilled at an early phase to mitigate any impact on their individual roles.
By planning ahead and considering how cloud computing fits into their long-term strategy, businesses can unlock significant value from migration projects. However, given the rapid pace of technological change, simply delivering projects and moving on is unlikely to prove effective. By engaging expert support and adopting an approach of continuous improvement when investing in cloud migration projects, organisations can realise results from digital transformation for many years to come.