Cloud is now the norm for almost every business, and if your company isn't on board yet, that's sure to change in the coming months and years. But moving to the cloud will be a lengthy and complex procedure, and it's easy to trip up if you haven't got an adequate plan in place.
So what do you need to ensure your cloud migration is a success? Here are four common mistakes that you could make without even realizing.
1. Treating it as an IT-only project
It can be easy to regard a cloud migration as an exercise that will only impact the IT department - after all, if things go smoothly, business units shouldn't even notice what platforms they’re using, only the end results. But this is a mistake, as it leads to firms - and especially high-level executives - underestimating the importance of such projects, and therefore not giving them the attention they deserve.
That's why it's vital to get buy-in from the board as early as possible. Not only will this ensure the cloud migration gets the resources it deserves, but having advocates for the project at the highest level can also help smooth out any roadblocks and resistance IT leaders may encounter from elsewhere.
Looking at the migration solely from an IT perspective also runs the risk of a project that doesn't adequately address the most pressing business needs the company faces. A new cloud system might improve the efficiency of certain processes, but will these be in the areas where they're needed most? Be sure to talk to businesses units to find out what their most urgent priorities are and where cloud can provide a competitive advantage.
2. Not taking it one step at a time
Given the wide range of potential benefits the cloud promises to bring to business, it's easy to treat a cloud migration with a sense of urgency, with the goal being to move critical operations fully to the platform as quickly as possible.
But this haste can create numerous issues. Firstly, there is the risk involved with migrating all your data and applications at once. If you're embarking on a partnership with a cloud provider for the first time, there are many questions to answer. Every provider will have their own way of designing a cloud environment, and no two will be alike. Therefore, even the best-prepared firms won't know how the new solutions will fit into your way of working until they try it - and if you haven't taken the time to prepare fully, you may waste a lot of time getting up to speed.
Therefore, it's important not to move mission-critical data until you're familiar with the platform and any teething troubles have been ironed out. Blindly migrating crucial data in one go will hamper your productivity, and multiplies the impact of any mistakes in the process. A slower, staged migration eliminates these risks. It might take months or even years for a large enterprise to become fully cloud-reliant, but patience will be rewarded.
3. Not accounting for security from the start
Security concerns have traditionally been a key barrier to cloud projects, but this is starting to change as confidence grows in the technology and leading organizations have proven how it’s possible to integrate cloud technology without compromising on security.
However, this doesn’t mean you should relax, or assume that any security issues will now be handled by your cloud provider. According to Gartner, as many as 95% of cloud security failings until 2022 will be the fault of the customer rather than the provider, indicating that users are still failing to set up their services properly or not putting clear policies in place for areas such as access control.
During the migration process, it's also vital to implement the strongest security measures, such as full encryption for any data being transferred to the cloud. Taking shortcuts here can leave your most valuable assets exposed to hackers and can leave your company distrustful of the cloud, regardless of who is actually responsible for any problems.
4. Failing to measure the effects
Sooner or later, the board is going to want to know exactly what they've got in exchange for the investment you were so keen for them to back, but if you don't have a comprehensive plan in place for measuring and reporting on the impact of your cloud migration, they won't be hugely impressed. Identify key costs and productivity KPIs at the start, and make sure they're tracked throughout the process.
Moving to the cloud can often be a costly endeavor, and even the best-planned migrations can encounter unanticipated extra costs. In fact, one survey suggests almost six out of ten initiatives (58%) end up costing more than expected. This makes it even more important that you're able to show a positive return on investment.
What's more, if you can't accurately measure your performance, you won't be able to tell where improvements can be made, or identify any opportunities for future growth. Without this information, it will be even harder to secure executive buy-in for your next big project.