A migration to cloud tends to be one of the most stressful implementations a corporation will undertake since it involves so many stakeholders. With the increasing interrelation of critical IT systems important to the business, a cloud migration tends to be a large project that is only done once and therefore isn’t something that a corporation can build up experience with doing over time. The issues that arise during a migration can be ones that were fully foreseen in advance and also ones that perhaps weren’t completely understood until they became noticeable as the migration progresses. Following are five tips to help ensure a smooth migration:
1. Understand Your Situation
The most successful cloud migrations are ones where the current IT and systems environment is well understood before the project begins. A detailed project management plan in advance of the project is required which include a full test plan. Conducting a test migration in advance of the real one will help to undercover previously undiscovered issues that the migration team can plan for. Also critical in the migration is full and ongoing communication with all stakeholders especially during the migration when critical systems experience downtime that staff use on a daily basis in the course of doing business.
2. Staff Up
Also ensure that the migration team is properly staffed with the appropriate skills and experience relative to the scope of the project and applications involved. This involves key user stakeholders for each of the systems and applications affected but also technical experts in support, development, security, database technology and so on.
3. Specify Scope
A successful migration to cloud involves properly defining the scope of the project up front. It is critical to understand an accurate cost and timeline of the project in advance. This includes understanding the exact customer requirements and goals of the project to begin with. Avoid cleaning up existing systems and migrating simultaneously as this should be split into two projects.
A successful migration to cloud also involves developing an accurate schedule of events so that all stakeholders understand the size and breadth of the project. This involves developing a full contingency plan should things go awry during implementation to ensure a fallback exists in case of unforeseen circumstances. Not all IT migrations go as well as planned especially when legacy systems are involved. From 2001 and 2005, the FBI’s planned Virtual Case File project which should have taken 3 years to complete, failed after 4 years while running over budget by $170 million and never seeing completion.
5. Think Ahead
Ensure that issues like security, governance and performance are woven into the project planning from the start and aren’t an afterthought. Finally, ensure that the corporation has the resources in place to manage the cloud once it’s live. While security remains a key concern for the enterprise in a cloud environment, a lack of resources and expertise – ensuring that staff possess the knowledge and skills to build and maintain a cloud environment – is now the number one fear of corporations when considering a migration to cloud.
For more information, watch our recent webinar titled “Cloud Migration: Tales from the Trenches”