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Cloud Migration Strategy

An overview of the most important cloud migration questions

You should start any cloud migration planning by drafting a clear definition of your company’s cloud migration goals, ranking your priorities. A cloud data migration has a laundry list of positive benefits. It can be an opportunity to clear out capital expenses in favor of operational expenses and to free up your tech team to work on other projects. It can give you better performance and tighter security. It allows you to phase out your legacy systems. Knowing which statistics are most important to your business will help you structure a migration plan that prioritizes those outcomes.

Before you make any tactical decisions, set your strategy with the following questions:

  1. Why are you migrating?
  2. What do you want to accomplish?
  3. What metrics will you use to measure success?

Before you get started, get buy-in on the answers to these three questions from each and every project stakeholder and address any concerns that they have. This is going to save you countless headaches and sleepless nights as you go forward.

How to build a cloud migration roadmap everyone can follow

A good cloud migration plan is simple. Keep it simple. When everyone’s working from the same methodology and the project has clear milestones, you won’t get mired in discussions over which path is correct. To make sure things keep moving according to the agreed-upon plan, follow these steps:

  1. Establish a clear leader. Assign a project owner, ideally an impartial party who has the authority to demand execution and who can keep everyone on the same page.
  2. Build a runbook. Outline the tools and methods, then get a copy into the hands of everyone involved in the migration, so they’re all working from the same page.
  3. Schedule check-ins. Whether they take the form of meetings, calls or emails, set up a systematic way to keep everyone informed and a space for people to voice potential issues as they arise.
Simple Example:

Here’s a very simple example that shows why it’s so important to plan ahead and work with all stakeholders to determine your company’s unique cloud needs.

A company wants to move its email to the cloud. It can easily do so — after all, you have Gmail, Office365 and others that are ready and waiting to support cloud email. The company’s IT team is proactive and makes the switch. Email is in the cloud. However, this transition happens without checking in with other departments. Email is running fine, until compliance realizes that sensitive information is exchanged as part of the normal course of business. Now the company finds itself in violation of a specific compliance requirement and must rush to switch over to a private cloud, where it will have total control over the security environment. Looping in the right business units early in the process would have identified the risk and avoided a lot of stress, work and expense by getting the solution right the first time.

It’s not just theoretical. You’d be surprised how often this exact situation occurs.