A full or partial cloud environment can help your agency boost efficiency, save capital, and promote innovation, all while ensuring mission-critical business goals are met.
Still, there’s no denying that cloud migration can be confusing and overwhelming, especially with so many services providers available. To clarify this process from end-to-end, here’s what you need to know about a successful cloud migration—and how to get started.
Keys to a successful cloud migration
The first step in a successful cloud migration is getting clear on your goals and objectives. It’s important to understand all aspects of your migration, including:
- Which pain points you want to solve.
- How it will support your current business goals.
- How it will drive business value in the future.
This information will help you assess the services available—and how you can use them to achieve your goals.
Additionally, all departments need to be on the same page about cloud migrations in order for them to work successfully. Each department needs to understand how it can support the rest of the organization during the transition and beyond.
One way organizations can ready themselves is to have a plan for the most important aspects of the migration. For example, IT may need to create a security plan, while the organizational change management team establishes new rules for accessing and sharing assets. This will help inspire a more committed workforce, which ensures that new platforms are adopted seamlessly.
How to get started
To get started with cloud migration, take a full view of the entire situation. Consider:
- What assets need to be moved to the cloud and why.
- What it will cost in the short term and long term.
- The greatest business benefits of the change.
- How long the migration will take.
- Which changes will deliver the most value.
- Which aspects of the transition can be automated.
Ultimately, a full-view picture of the migration (and specific business goals) will ensure a smooth transition that maximizes value.
Migration pitfalls to understand and avoid
Cloud migration is a significant undertaking that offers a bounty of potential. Still, it’s important to approach the decision intentionally and strategically—all while communicating changes clearly and often.
Intentional, value-based change
Cloud migration proposals can cause significant sticker shock, leading many companies to prioritize cost-efficiency over functionality. Yet it’s a huge mistake to rush through a cloud migration in the service of short-term savings. A quick “lift and shift” approach of manually transporting data and documents from a legacy system to the cloud can severely inhibit your ability to use the cloud to its fullest capacity—and will most certainly cause additional issues down the line.
Instead, agencies should work to gain a holistic understanding of the price. When you understand all of the features that are being offered—and how they’ll help you achieve core business goals—the value will be much clearer. It will also help you transition step-by-step, with intention, to ensure that each stage of the migration is completed properly.
Change management and employee onboarding
A common pitfall is not explaining to employees and stakeholders what software is needed and why. Employees who don’t understand the transition or how it can help are often apprehensive. In turn, they may not use the software properly or completely—making it harder to realize its full potential benefits.
New platform adoption requires full buy-in from everyone who’ll use it. Agencies must build a business case and communicate its value to everyone at the organization.
While you may be eager to ignite change, there are likely elements of your migration that can be automated. It’s also essential to stay open and flexible to the potential of what your new environment can look like. These two steps will save you significant time in the long run, and you’ll create room for more cost savings and innovation.
Determining the right solution
There are three main services available for agencies transitioning to the cloud: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (Paas), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS
When weighing your options, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the tradeoffs between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Both Iaas and PaaS require more customization than SaaS, yet IaaS is considered the first step up from a traditional data center. IaaS tools manage service, storage, and networks, but you’ll oversee the application used, as well as your data and run time. This may be better for agencies that want a more hands-on approach to asset and data management.
In contrast, PaaS tools provide less direct control but are more flexible and user-friendly. They manage everything that an IaaS service manages, including run time, meaning they’ll help oversee and repair outages. This middle-of-the-road option is best for agencies that want personalization and flexibility, but prefer the peace of mind that comes from having someone oversee outages.
Lastly, SaaS tools are the easiest to implement because the software vendor manages everything: application, data, run time, servers, storage, and network. SaaS tools are existing services that can be subscribed to easily.