Navigating the Cloud Migration Minefield

  1. navigating-cloud-migration-minefield

Migrating a workload to a new cloud platform leaves even the most seasoned IT team holding their collective breath. Bill Santos, President of HOSTING Advanced Solutions, and Catherine Roy, Senior Manager and PMO at HOSTING, have spearheaded thousands of cloud migrations. They shared insights and tips during our latest webinar, Navigating the Cloud Migration Minefield. Missed it? No worries – you can view it on-demand. In the meantime, we’ve listed some highlights below.

83% of data migration projects either fail outright, or suffer significant cost overruns or delays

No, we didn’t make that up. That stat came from information technology research and advisory firm Gartner. Aggressive timeframes, budget pressures, limited resources, lack of cloud expertise and poor planning are just some of the challenges organizations face when embarking on a cloud migration initiative. A combination of some or all of these factors can contribute to a botched cloud migration effort.

Behind every cloud migration is a business reason

Whether it’s streamlining IT operations, shifting to an OpEx model from a CapEx model, or securing protected health information (PHI) in a compliant cloud, there are business-critical reasons behind every cloud initiative. According to Bloor Research, “data migration projects are undertaken because they will support business objectives. There are costs to the business if it goes wrong or if the project is delayed.”

Bloor lists the following business impacts of migration project failures in order of frequency.

  • Delayed revenue recognition – just ask Bill Santos to tell you the story of a major candy manufacturer that missed out of the Halloween season due to a delay in their cloud migration (no, he didn’t work for them)!
  • Customer dissatisfaction and attrition
  • Reputation damage
  • Delayed product introductions
  • Reduced margins

Nervous? Don’t be. Following are three of the biggest risks associated with cloud migration and how to address them.

3 Cloud Migration Risks

The “Big Bang”

The team at HOSTING loves it when our customers get excited about the agility, flexibility and cost efficiencies that cloud-based solutions offer. But we’ve also seen some organizations take on too much by trying to migrate all of their business-critical data and applications at once. A good rule-of-thumb is to break out any cloud migration involving more than five servers into a series of smaller migration projects. That way, you can your focus your time, attention and resources on a manageable project scope. You can also see what works in the initial migration project and address any kinks.

“Cowboys”

Every company has its “cowboys” – those colleagues who want to bypass the planning and testing needed to ensure a successful cloud migration. Cowboys often push for an accelerated timeline with the rationale that “we can always fix things as we go.” Do not be swayed by this line of thinking. By underestimating the value of sound planning and testing, you put your reputation, your company and your business assets at risk.

“Too Much Change”

Believe it or not, there are some people in your organization who aren’t as excited about the cloud as you are. Perhaps they’re uncomfortable about change, or the amount of work it takes to implement a smooth, secure cloud migration. Or they are worried about the potential risk to their data, especially if they must adhere to HIPAA and PCI  regulations. We get it. Having done thousands of cloud migrations, our cloud experts know that open, ongoing communication is essential to achieving success. So begin the conversations with your colleagues early so you can share information, answer questions and avoid unnecessary tension with them.

4 Keys to a Successful Cloud Migration

Stakeholder involvement

Do not go rogue on your colleagues and implement a cloud migration without their involvement. Take the time to review the project with them and answer any questions. Make sure you ask them if there are any upcoming events that the cloud team needs to work around such a planned maintenance or a special event (i.e. – a pre-holiday sale if you run an e-commerce site.) Soliciting their feedback will help you avoid unnecessary obstacles while fostering goodwill with your colleagues.

Upfront planning

We can’t emphasize this enough – have a plan in place, especially if your cloud migration involves more than five servers. Factor a test migration into your plan so that your team understands the systems and SLAs that are in place. Turning a large migration into a series of smaller ones also helps with planning and risk mitigation.

Testing

According to our colleague, Catherine Roy, “You really can’t test enough.” Considering the number of successful migrations she’s done, we’re inclined to believe her. Fun fact: Catherine once oversaw 14 days and 14 nights of consecutive testing. We kid you not!

Not every organization requires 14 straight days and nights of testing. But you get our point. Test and test often!

“Go” or “No go” Decision

This is essential to the cloud migration process. The HOSTING cloud team runs through every cloud migration plan with our clients’ stakeholders. We answer any and all of their questions before securing a “go” or “no go” decision from them. Ultimately it’s the stakeholders’ decision whether or not we launch a cloud migration, so we don’t go into this meeting with a fixed outcome in mind. We’re always happy to review plans, implement additional testing, etc., so that our clients can give a “go” decision with confidence.

Have questions about cloud migrations? Feel free to contact Bill Santos at bill@hosting.com to discuss your specific needs. And download our white paper, 20 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Cloud Service Provider for more information.

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