Good migrations – easier said than done

A successful migration strategy is the key to overcoming the various issues associated with a business’s move to cloud

The cloud plays a pivotal role in a successful digital transformation, but as 2018 approaches, some organisations continue to grapple with the often complex implementation cloud migration brings. In a recent survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, some 42 per cent of Australian companies said cloud was “not at all important.”

This state of uncertainty across such a broad percentage of the Australian corporate landscape indicates there’s a long way to go in terms of education. Australian organisations must wake up to the benefits and cost savings that cloud technology can bring to businesses great and small.

And yet, spending on public cloud in Australia leapt 17 per cent to $5 billion this year. This suggests that while there remains a concerning gap in education about the best ways to migrate and prioritise migration, businesses are prepared to spend big on this crucial technology in their digital transformation journeys.

A successful cloud migration strategy is the key to overcoming the various issues associated with a business’s move to cloud – including downtime, security breaches, and application performance.

No two enterprises are alike, and this includes their applications. Cloud is by no means a perfect technology. If it isn’t configured expressly to the application needs of the business, IT teams can find themselves dealing with multiple performance issues during the migration period, which in the long term, can lead to deflated user experiences and poor uptake.

While the challenges that come with the cloud may be discouraging, the good news is that an effective cloud migration can overcome many of the issues that are inherent with the technology.

Here are 5 steps to successful cloud migration:

1. What’s your why?

As we’ve seen, the business world is going beyond simple issues like cost reduction. With that in mind, companies must get past that entry point and take a more introspective look at why the cloud matters for them.

Part of this is asking what your specific apps and business needs are, and how these fit in with a cloud environment. Do your due diligence: don’t let your business be one of the 18 per cent who said in the ABS survey that insufficient knowledge of cloud computing services was the most common factor that limited the use of paid cloud computing services.

2. Assess your environment and choose workloads

Once you have clear goals and purposes, you must look at your existing configuration through that new lens. A close analysis of your entire application environment and the underlying systems that support these applications is indeed a time investment, but one that will save the business in due course.

3. Migration time

Migrating to cloud takes time and cannot be rushed. Businesses must ensure they have the correct providers and pin down the core responsibilities of each provider in order to establish a culture of accountability.

Another factor often overlooked in the migration time is the change management required to bring the organisation on the journey of cloud. Appropriate training and setting the example of uptake from the top-down is crucial to getting the whole organisation comfortable with the technology and aligned with the massive changes cloud will inevitably bring. This change management must extend beyond key stakeholders such as the leadership team, developers, and managers, and to all employees – including sales, HR, marketing, and more.

Neglecting to have your end users on board from the beginning means an organisation will not see wide uptake of the technology, and therefore, the ROI they expect from the cost investment of cloud.

4. Measure migration success

Moving a few apps to the cloud may not lead to significant ROI, but a large-scale transition can lead to considerable value creation. Measure the success by setting clear goals that you can track. Establish a framework for evaluating abstract elements of the cloud plan – for example, if you want the cloud to improve employee satisfaction with technology, a survey can come in handy.

5. Don’t neglect the ‘after’ stage of migration

Remember, cloud migration doesn’t have an endpoint. Moving applications to the cloud only earmarks the very beginning of cloud deployment, and well thought-out post-deployment will become the determining factor for success. Some of the cloud’s greatest benefits come from its flexibility and scalability. As such, any successful migration hinges on establishing a culture of continual improvement in line with future business goals.  

Simon Horrocks is country manager, Australia & New Zealand, at AppDynamics.

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