Capture the Benefits of Cloud Migration by Sticking to These Best Practices
Enterprise spending on digital business transformation continues to grow as companies look to take advantage of the benefits of cloud migration. Some of those benefits — like reduced infrastructure and maintenance costs — are seen almost immediately following a migration, whereas others are more cumulative. The efficiency and performance gains that come with streamlined operations, more rapid innovation, and generally improved security increase with cloud maturity, which is why leaders can no longer afford to delay the transition.
In 2020, 68% of CIOs indicated that cloud migration or expansion would be their top IT spending priority, according to Deloitte research. Data from Gartner revealed that more than 70% of companies had migrated at least some operations to the cloud by mid-2021.
Not every company has the same goals when migrating infrastructure to the cloud, and the decision might be influenced by a wide range of factors. Some companies might need to support a remote workforce in the wake of the pandemic, and others might seek greater resilience and flexibility amid uncertainty and disruption in their industries. Many hope to improve their ability to adapt to changing consumer expectations, and almost all are concerned about keeping their data safe in the face of more frequent and sophisticated cyberattacks.
Regardless of their initial goals, companies that do move to the cloud will inevitably experience the following benefits:
- Cost reduction: A cloud-based infrastructure allows reduced or eliminated expenses associated with on-site computing and data storage. This includes the costs of leasing and maintaining storage space and equipment as well as utilities costs.
- Scalability: Cloud solutions allow organizations to pay for resources based on consumption and to easily adjust storage and performance capacity as demands fluctuate, thus improving efficiency.
- Risk management: Threats to business continuity — in the form of hardware failure, software obsolescence, natural or man-made disaster, or other circumstances — are significantly reduced when data is stored and managed in the cloud.
- Ease of modernization: Organizations can keep pace in a constantly evolving business landscape by allowing for faster system improvements at a fraction of the time and cost of on-site infrastructure upgrades.
The benefits of the cloud are often transformative for organizations that can achieve them, but those transformations don’t happen automatically. Depending on their current operational posture, the challenges of cloud migration can be numerous and difficult to navigate for some companies.
Application upgrades might be required in the migration effort, as some might not be ready for the cloud. More importantly, key personnel and processes will have to adapt, as the move from on-site infrastructure can create significant changes to workflows and require new skills and expertise.
If companies don’t give teams enough time to adjust, they’ll face significant limitations to adoption. Likewise, leaders must make time to evaluate requirements across cloud service providers and carefully review service agreements or risk locking themselves into suboptimal solutions.
To minimize these challenges, companies should adhere to the following best practices:
- Anchor your migration strategy in real business goals.
Companies that experience the most benefits of cloud migration view the cloud as a cornerstone of their business strategy rather than merely an accelerator. But before you use the technology to transform your enterprise, identify use cases that could potentially provide the most return on your investment while moving you closer to core strategic objectives (e.g., cost reduction, improved scalability, increased innovation, and so forth).
- Outline a governance model for cloud operations.
Sound data management processes and clearly delineated roles and responsibilities will be beneficial during your initial migration and beyond. Try to codify these and include them in a governance model along with policies for controlling costs, reducing waste, accelerating implementations, and meeting other organizational goals.
Over time, a well-defined model will help drive adoption across your company and ensure that cloud regulatory compliance and security are key considerations when planning for each new initiative.
- Ensure you have the right skills and expertise.
Making the most of the cloud requires not only technology, but also personnel with the knowledge, resources, and authority to drive initiatives. As more companies expand their cloud operations, the market for talent will get more competitive. Training programs that enhance the cloud capabilities of your existing workforce and partnerships with third-party specialists can help balance hiring costs and simplify change management.
- Standardize and automate.
A cloud migration project will present your company with opportunities to standardize new processes and tools, including those related to monitoring and security. Take advantage of these to improve your long-term operational support profile and streamline customer support.
Additionally, consider automating repetitive processes related to provisioning, scaling, monitoring, remediation, and other initiatives to maximize efficiency as your cloud usage accelerates.
- Minimize disruption.
Business disruption during and after cloud migration projects can eat into your overall return on investment and even pose existential threats. When planning your migration, consider the latency of cloud operations on internal and external users, and work with individual business units to determine the appropriate pace of adoption. Disruption can also occur after migration, most notably in the form of regulatory pressures. Given the ongoing evolution of data and privacy legislation, executives should regularly meet with their compliance and legal teams to ensure that the controls in place align with all relevant mandates.
For more information about how adopting cloud infrastructure could impact your organization, contact Chainyard to consult on how we can work together.