With many organizations using cloud storage and solutions to some degree, for most organizations there is no longer a question of whether or not you should move to the cloud. However, many businesses have been slow to fully adopt cloud storage and seem hesitant to completely commit to the cloud.
The benefits of the cloud are clear to IT professionals. A 2018 survey identified the most important benefits of cloud computing as:
- Eliminates requirement to own hardware, software or data center resources (56%)
- Operational cost savings (44%)
- IT capacity on demand (39%)
- IT efficiency (35%)
- Ability to grow and shrink (33%)
So why the hesitance?
Unfortunately, that same survey revealed 42% of IT organizations have experienced a migration failure. When cloud onboarding is not planned and implemented correctly, it can result in a loss of data, efficiency or time and money for your organization.
Adding cloud services to your business may seem like a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve broken down the process into a three-step onboarding plan. Here are the specific things your organization should consider to ensure a successful cloud onboard.
Step 1: Identify Infrastructure Issues
The number one reason for migration failure was the late discovery of issues in the process according to 43% of respondents. The majority of onboarding issues that companies run into late in the process are an indication of flaws in the planning process, lack of preparation or a need for more thorough testing.
In order to put together a successful cloud onboarding plan, you must first identify the reasons for moving this data or service to the cloud and any issues with the existing infrastructure that needs to be addressed during the cloud implementation.
Some of these issues may be related to the data or applications you are moving to the cloud. Security, disaster recovery, and workflow optimization are all common reasons for a cloud adoption. If these are priorities for you, make sure they are addressed.
Other issues may relate to your existing cloud infrastructure. When companies adopt public, private and hybrid clouds piecemeal, with additional cloud solutions added in over time, your infrastructure may not be optimized to easily add new elements while still being able to integrate existing applications and maintain security, compliance, and access.
Step 2: Audit Existing Applications and Resources
The fact this probably isn’t your first cloud onboarding means you already have solutions in the cloud that will need to be integrated and leveraged during your new cloud adoption. Unfortunately, this means you may already have cloud resources that aren’t being used or used efficiently.
Do you know every cloud storage and other solutions you have on the cloud right now? CIO Dive reports that the average organization is using a total of approximately 5 cloud tenants. Add the shadow IT your employees may have implemented on their own and you could have a more complex cloud infrastructure than you thought. The 2018 State of the Cloud survey also found that the amount of wasted cloud spend is currently at 35%!
It won’t all be bad news during your audit. You should identify the resources you have at your disposal, from underutilized cloud resources to IT staff currently managing cloud storage and the data center. Here are a few areas to focus on to gain a complete understanding of your cloud infrastructure and resources:
- What solutions have already been migrated or implemented? Take stock of every cloud solution and determine its current use. Cloud storage solutions may need to be right-sized based on current usage to help reduce costs or maintain access. Right-sizing ensures that you have the resources you need and you’re not paying for extra for the ones you don’t.
- Who is in charge of each application, dataset, and cloud asset? Determine the owner of every cloud solution you are currently using and the data and applications you plan to move to the cloud.
- What cloud metrics are you currently measuring? Knowing what insights you have access to is crucial to making data-backed decisions during your cloud implementation plan.
Step 3: Outline an Implementation Plan
Your business doesn’t need to move every data center and solution to the cloud all at once – and it shouldn’t. However, you do need a clear, long-term strategy for moving your business to the cloud. This allows you to choose cloud solutions and build your infrastructure now so it can support adding additional elements later as they are ready or needed.
In addition to a late discovery of the issues, another major cause of cloud onboarding failures is the lack of skills required to manage the migration process. Most experience in organizations is operational. Cloud migrations do not happen often; most organizations do not have deep experience and refined processes for cloud migration. Even IT organizations that have the necessary expertise may not be able to spare it for the dozens or even hundreds of hours a cloud migration project could take.
Instead, companies are turning to IT partners like NWN to leverage expertise to create a cloud onboarding plan and provide a dedicated team to manage the migration while the existing IT team continues with daily operations.
You may notice that these steps focus on everything to do before your cloud migration. That is intentional. The most successful cloud migrations are about 80-90% planning and only 10-20% execution. If you’ve run into problems during execution or found your migrations to be long and stressful, the cause can most likely be found in the planning stage. With a carefully developed, comprehensive plan – and a project management team that understands that plan – you reduce the difficulty of execution and achieve smoother, simpler, and more successful cloud migration.