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How To Plan A Pain-Free Cloud Migration

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Innovation How To Plan A Pain-Free Cloud Migration John Milburn Forbes Councils Member Forbes Technology Council COUNCIL POST Expertise from Forbes Councils members, operated under license. Opinions expressed are those of the author. | Membership (fee-based) May 18, 2022, 06:15am EDT | Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin John Milburn is CEO of Identity Governance and Administration company Clear Skye . getty 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,” and “almost half (48%) said they planned to migrate 50% or more of their applications to the cloud in the coming year.” This growth has been accelerated by the need for businesses to enable a newly distributed and remote workforce. While the global pandemic may have forced the speed of widespread cloud adoption, 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 of 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 mistakes 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. 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. MORE FOR YOU Google Issues Warning For 2 Billion Chrome Users Forget The MacBook Pro, Apple Has Bigger Plans Google Discounts Pixel 6, Nest & Pixel Buds In Limited-Time Sale Event 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. However, it’s also crucial for the executive and finance teams to be involved. If any of these groups are left behind, it is very likely there will be unnecessary friction during project execution. Perhaps the most important “who” is your employees. They’re the people who will be living and breathing these new processes and tools daily, and if the people who are driving revenue are disrupted, there’s effectively no chance of success. Ensuring the user experience (UX) is a priority can not only prevent people from finding insecure workarounds but can also alleviate 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, replatforming? • 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? According to a Cloud Security Alliance report (via CIO Dive): “90% of CIOs have experienced failed or disrupted data migration projects — mostly due to the complexity of moving from on-premises environments to the cloud. Only 25% of those surveyed in the same study met their deadlines for migrations.” Insufficient 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 There’s no shortage of cloud solutions on the market, but not every solution is the right one for your business. Fortunately, there are some baseline functionalities that leaders should look for to ensure they’re maximizing their cloud investment. The first and most important is identifying a platform that aligns all functional business areas, reducing friction and improving visibility across the organization. While one of the great benefits of the cloud is streamlining operations, leaders should also look for solutions that their employees want to use. As mentioned, a UX that’s familiar and intuitive, automating processes wherever possible, and the ability to scale to meet your business where it’s going — not where it is now — is key. 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. 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. However, without this, you’re likely in for anything but a pain-free cloud migration. Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify? Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn . Check out my website . John Milburn Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions

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