7 Steps to Migrating (Successfully) to the Cloud

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Read more about author Kevin Davis.

Salespeople promise that migrations to the cloud will bring about greener pastures, with more money remaining in our pockets. It seems possible, so we make the switch and wait. Yet, months of waiting brings about more of the same. It doesn’t appear to have benefitted our budgets. This is not because migrating to the cloud doesn’t save money, but that there are a few more steps needed in the process.

After all, buying seeds doesn’t automatically plant crops; there is more involved in creating a garden. 

Migrating to the cloud is no different; we can’t just switch our local servers over to the cloud and walk away. That is the first step of many to ensure a successful and beneficial cloud-native transformation process and begin seeing those blossoms. But, once these steps are completed, the meadow will follow. Gartner claims migrating services to the cloud has saved enterprises an average of 15% on IT costs, bringing us more buds for less of our budget. Although this makes migrating to the cloud well worth it, the cost savings are not the only, or even the main, reason to make the switch to cloud-native

Before getting into the many benefits of cloud migration, let’s go through the steps needed to complete a successful transformation to cloud-native:

  1. Set the goals: Begin by planning out your goals. Where do you need your organization to be by tomorrow, next month, or next year? Where do you need it to be in 10 years? How do you ensure these goals align and best suit the company’s objectives and business needs before beginning migration? 
  2. Set a strategy and timeline: Create a strategy that sets you up to achieve your company’s goals and establish a realistic timeframe to get it done. Remember that the strategy needs to align with the overall mission of your business and needs to include a period dedicated to customer success for your clients. 
  3. Research the technology: After figuring out your goals, strategy, and timeline, it’s time to move on to choosing your technology. Don’t skimp on the research; being diligent upfront will ensure the best results for your business. Your technology, platform, and provider will ultimately be determined by the goals and strategies you set up in steps one and two. Don’t forget that this new technology will ideally be with your company for years to come, so choosing solutions that offer flexibility, nimbleness, and worth over time is necessary. 
  4. Pick the right people: Picking the right people to get this job is essential and understanding that you can’t do it on your own will save you time and effort as you begin migration. You already have an exceptional project, have set up comprehensive goals and a straightforward strategy, and added the best tool for your business to your cart. Now, it’s time to pick the best team to complete the job. Although it would be nice to have a company full of cloud-loving geniuses, committed and competent co-workers will do just fine. If getting the job done quickly is a high priority, adding managed cloud providers or cloud experts to your roster will speed up your cloud-native transformation process. 
  5. Optimize processes: In order to maximize ROI, the first thing your team should do is figure out which processes and applications they need to optimize and automate. You may be wondering why you shouldn’t just migrate every application; migration should only be used to increase efficiency, and not every process and application is more efficient when moved to the cloud. If you are not confident in which platforms are or are not benefiting from migration, that is a good time to reach out to the cloud experts and find out. 
  6. Time to migrate: You’ve set your goals, figured out your strategy, chosen the best technology, built the ideal team, and identified which processes and applications should be migrated. Now, you’re ready to take the plunge. Taking the time to complete steps one through five will ensure a seamless and quick transition and prevent your business from falling victim to unnecessary mistakes down the line. 
  7. Manage: You’re not done yet! The tech world is ever-changing, and you will need to keep trying new things, testing your existing platforms, and optimizing your systems to make sure you are continuing to meet your goals. Remember, making the transition to cloud-native is an ongoing change, not just a one-time fix. If your cloud-native experience is not meeting your expectations, don’t give up; bring in the cloud experts to get things back on track. 

And with that, you can stop and enjoy the flowers. Of course, as with any garden, tending is required to ensure it continues to grow each season, so make sure to stay on top of step seven. The only thing remaining is to spread the word on cloud transformation. It is important that the world (and especially all stakeholders in your organization) knows that cloud migration is only the first step in a much larger journey to modernizing and optimizing data, analytics, and security. As we now know, switching servers to the cloud without implementing goals, strategy, the right technology and team, optimal processes, timelines, and management plans, will leave you disappointed with your migration, so be sure to follow through to get the most out of your cloud journey.